Doghouse is a cool new bar that will soon be home to a record store. Find it down on Kirkgate.
The latest addition to Kirkgate is a new bar next door to Wapentake – Doghouse is now open. It’s the brainchild of Jacob Kelly and Stuart Dixon, the owners of 212 Cafe and Bar on Brewery Wharf. They’ve created a relaxed venue where modern meets classic, bringing together craft beer, local art and laid back music over three floors.
“We both wanted to open another venue to complement The 212 Cafe and Bar,” Owner Jacob Kelly told us. “Stu is a master when it comes to food and beer and I’m a master of drinking beer and music. We wanted to open a different type of bar where people would feel like it’s been here for years. The decor, with ‘bad pub carpets’ etcetera, hopefully gives it that feel – we like to call it ‘squatter chic’.”
They’ve certainly managed to nail the look. Step into Doghouse and you’ll be met with a stripped back, industrial-style bar at the front, decked out with beer pumps, lego and a gumball machine. At the back, you’ll find an old Chesterfield sofa, vintage mix and match furniture and dusty, old carpets, leading to an outside drinking area that’s shared with Wapentake. The decor is more toned down as you reach the relaxed first-floor hideaway, but it’s still a charming space.
It’s the little touches that really leave an impression at Doghouse though. The walls showcase the work of Yorkshire artists to display their work, which will change up on a regular basis. Upstairs, they’ve installed a retro Super Nintendo console to play on and even the toilets have Victorian Thomas Crapper loos, something you don’t find in every venue these days.
It’s not just the decor that grabs your attention, the food and drink are central to Doghouse’s offering too. The bar is well-stocked with craft beer, real ales, cider and spirits. There’s also a menu of classic cocktails, which they’re still refining, and Jacob is particularly proud of what he calls, “the best bloody Mary’s around!”
They’ve created their own beer for the new venue too. Paula’s Pale Ale has been brewed specially by Halifax’s Stod Fold Brewing Company and is a connection to the venue’s past. It takes inspiration from its old guise as Paula’s Hairdressers, and they’ve even got one of the old shop signs hanging on the wall opposite the bar.
For the food, Stuart has been careful not to step on the toes of Wapentake next door. “Stu has put an amazing menu together, think more like small eats rather than belly busting dishes, but perfect for midday snacking or a good drinking partner,” Jacob told us. You can enjoy a petite menu of small seafood plates, like banderillas, cockles and octopus salad, as well as bar snacks like pies.
They serve coffee all day long, so you can nip in for a for a brew and a snack. The beans are sourced from York’s Dancing Goat Coffee, and it’s sure to go down well with the selection of cakes and pastries on top of the bar.
This is only the beginning for Doghouse though. Opening the bar has been the first stage, with finishing touches to follow. The first floor will eventually have a balcony that will sit above the beer garden below and they have plans to host a monthly pop-up shop for local independent traders.
Then there’s the third floor, which is due to open in September as Paula’s Record Store, the focal point of Doghouse’s offering. The shop will provide Leeds with a specialist dance record shop, something it hasn’t had for a long time – Jacob is a well-known DJ, so you can count on him to know his stuff. They’re also going to use their contact book to bring in guest sellers to the shop every two months, as well as DJs on a more regular basis to spin some tunes through the entire venue.
“Paula’s will be opening on Friday 8th September 2017 with an install set from Rob Mello. We will be stocking mainly house, disco, electronica and world music. We have bought collections off people and will be stocking new titles too. We are also working with KMAH radio to have touring DJs from around the world to do in-store sets and interviews,” Jacob told us.
Doghouse is an exciting addition to Kirkgate with so much to offer. You can enjoy a beer, tuck into some seafood, take in some art and buy some records. What more could you want? Check it out next time you’re in the area and let us know what you think.
Doghouse Bar and Record Store, 90 Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DJ.