This is the new LGBTQ+ friendly community hub where you can get tasty eats and quality coffee…
Flamingos Coffee House is more than just another city centre cafe. It’s the city’s first late-night, LGBTQ+ friendly cafe. Owner James Greenhalgh has created a fun, vibrant place to grab a brew and a bite to eat until 9pm every day, bar Sunday when it’s open until 7pm. It’s been purposefully designed to be accessible and welcoming to all people, whatever your race, sexuality or disability.
This is the realisation of a life-long dream for James and one that has been born out of adversity. When his long-term relationship ended, his life turned upside down and found himself struggling with addiction and mental health issues. “It was the darkest time of my life,” James told us. “But I do better when challenged and so I thought what better thing to do that to follow my dream and open my own cafe, which would be a huge challenge which excited me, and I hoped would help me get better. I always thought Leeds was lacking a dry, late-night LGBT+ space and the idea of Flamingos was born!”
The result is a spacious eatery with plenty of space to sit down and catch up with friends. The decor is eclectic – exposed ceilings and industrial light fittings rub shoulders with bright flamingo wallpapers, muted pink walls and bright artworks to create a space that’s modern yet inviting.
It’s the perfect place to take a break in the city centre and they’ve got plenty to keep you going. Expect a host of homely dishes, made with local produce, the bulk of which is sourced over the road at Leeds Kirkgate Market. Their daytime menu is served until 6pm, and includes dishes like their Smashed Avocado with Feta and Chilli and the delectable Homemade Chorizo & Paprika Butterbeans on Sourdough. They have an ever-changing array of cakes too, and if you pop in after 6pm, you can get one of their mezze platters or choose from their small tapas plates.
“Try the Roasted Harissa Butternut Squash Salad with Avocado and Mozzarella,” James suggested. “It’s one of my all-time home favourites, and I know all my friends love it, so just another of my home recipes that is just amazing. And my Triple Chocolate Brownie – it’s nice and gooey and so chocolatey. They never lasted long when I took a batch in for my old work colleagues.”
Their coffee is made using our very own North Star. If you don’t fancy a latte, you can go for one of their range of organic teas, play it safe with a cup of classic Yorkshire Gold, or try their hot chocolate. And don’t worry if you have special dietary requirements, you can get lactose-free and vegan milk alternatives if you ask at the counter. But if you’re feeling adventurous, there’s one speciality that you absolutely have to try – The Flamingo! It’s a pink hot chocolate with marshmallows, strawberries and cream all covered in glitter.
It’s a fabulous drink for a fabulous venue that goes beyond your usual cafe. Jamie has created a place with a real community feel and it’s at the heart of everything they do. “We are happy to host LGBT+ community groups who need a space in Leeds city centre, and with no room booking fees or anything like that. We also have a community corner noticeboard, and a community cause/charity of the month, which gets some of the proceeds from our Rainbow Cake sales and other events. There are many groups from across the community which I hope we can support over the coming months and years. We love our community and want to do whatever we can to support it!”
Flamingos Coffee House, Central Arcade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DX. It’s open 8am to 9pm Monday to Saturday and 9am to 7pm on Sundays.