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The Best New Openings in Leeds in 2016

· Ali Turner · Food and Drink

As 2016 comes to a close, we look back at all the fabulous new openings we've seen this year.

Iberica Leeds

It’s fair to say that the city’s growth shows no signs of stopping, as we’ve seen a slew of new openings in 2016. Here are our favourites…

There’s always somewhere new to try in Leeds. In fact, there have been so many openings over the last year, that you might well have missed a few. But fear not, because we’ve rounded up our favourites, with everything from bars and restaurants to shops, galleries and escape games for you to try.

The Union Coffee House

The Union Coffee House

An unusual addition to the city, The Union Coffee House is a cafe with a difference. You can get a quality brew here, be it North Star coffee or North Brewing Co. beer, but that’s not the only thing you can pick up – everything you see is for sale, from the chairs you sit on to the art on the walls, so it’s also a shop of curiosities. They’re passionate about working with local Leeds organisations, including charities like Seagulls Re-Use and St Luke’s Cares, so it really is a union.

The Union Coffee House, 51 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3BB.

200 Degrees

200 Degrees

Another new coffee shop, 200 Degrees is an import from Nottingham, where they have another couple of shops alongside the coffee roaster that started it all. The venue itself is warm and welcoming, with a quirky decor that takes inspiration from the past and present – we love the neon fireplace – but at the end of the day, it’s the coffee that makes 200 Degrees special. Their house blend, Brazilian Love Affair, will be accompanied by seasonal brews – and they’re turning the upstairs room into an events space where you can learn to how to brew coffee properly.

200 Degrees, 31 Bond Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5BQ.

Jamaica Blue

Jamaica Blue

From Australia to Leeds, Jamaica Blue has come a long way. Their new cafe in Trinity Leeds is an upmarket coffee shop where you can escape the hustle and bustle of shopping for a bit of R&R. The coffee, as you might have guessed, comes from the Blue Mountains, one of the best coffee producing regions in the world, and they’ve matched it with a menu of tasty morsels that will take you from breakfast through to dinner, with plenty of options for the kids.

Jamaica Blue, Trinity Leeds, 27 Albion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5ER.

130 Vicar Lane

130 Vicar Lane, East Street Arts

The latest art destination to open in Leeds, 130 Vicar Lane has been taken over by East Street Arts. It’s very much a multi-purpose venue – not only does it offer work and exhibition spaces to local artists, but it will also be used to introduce the next generation to the possibilities of art through a series of workshops and events. They’ve introduced an artist-in-residency programme, and Alison Smith (who you might know from the magical lanterns in Park Square) has taken the first spot – head over next time you’re in the area and see what she’s been up to.

130 Vicar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7NL.

Ham & Friends

Ham & Friends

Credit: Tom Joy

This one is verging on cheating. Ham & Friends is the new concept venue from Friends of Ham… but it’s not technically open yet. We were lucky enough to have a preview of what they’re going to do though, because they opened up the venue mid-renovations for a Christmas pop-up. Once it’s finished, in spring 2017, it will have an awe-inspiring selection of wine alongside a shop full of tasty treats, a cheese fridge from George & Joseph and wine tastings from Yorkshire Wine School.

Ham & Friends, Grand Arcade, Merrion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PG.

The Good Luck Club

The latest eatery from the people behind Sociable Folk, The Good Luck Club is a vast restaurant at Wellington Place where you can delve into a seriously flexible menu of salads, burgers and meats from the grill. Here, it’s about putting you in control of your dinner, so you can pick your salad base before adding dressing to make it your own – hell, you can even add the likes of piri piri chicken or Indonesian steak, all freshly cooked on the grill.

The Good Luck Club, 6 Wellington Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4AP.

Single Shot Cafe and Record Shop

Single Shot Leeds

Credit: Ali Turner

Coffee shops are the order of the day, it seems, although this one is a little different to the others. Single Shot kills two birds with one stone – at the front it’s a record store where you can pick up second hand vinyl, lovingly sourced and cleaned, but if you head to the back, you’ll find a small coffee shop. Grab a cup of coffee or even a slice of cake while you ponder your purchases – and look out for live music, coming soon to their downstairs space.

Single Shot, 30 Central Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DE.

Olive & Rye

Olive & Rye

The new sister venue to Hepworth’s Deli, Olive & Rye has opened up in Queen’s Arcade, giving us more of what we love about the original. The decor is cool but rustic and the food is homemade, with scrumptious dishes like their special chorizo beans and the goat’s cheese, tomato and chorizo crostinis. You can take it away too, with a deli filled to bursting with delicious treats – and if you’re really lucky, you might even get to enjoy one of their new supper clubs. Definitely a must-visit.

Olive & Rye, 18-20 Queens Arcade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6LF.

Nautical & Nice

Nautical & Nice

The coast is a long way away, but Nautical & Nice are bringing it that little bit closer with their selection of seaside themed gifts. Their new Corn Exchange store is filled with intriguing finds, from model boats to compasses, globes and hand-carved boxes. They also have everything you need to give your home a nautical twist, think cushions, photo frames, fused glass and art – all of which will make perfect presents for house-proud loved ones.

Nautical & Nice, Leeds Corn Exchange, Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7BR.

Mans Market

Mans Market Chinese Restaurant Leeds

That’s right, Leeds has a new Chinese restaurant and it’s going against the grain – although you might not think so when you walk in. The stairway down to the basement eatery is decked out in waving cats, but once you step inside, you’ll be greeted by a cool, modern restaurant that’s all style. The menu is different too – you’ll find plenty of classics on there, but with a twist. Think sweet and sour chicken on a hanging skewer and beef with black bean, served in the shell of a pepper.

Mans Market, West Point (next to Primo), Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4JY.

Precious Proms & Pearls

Precious proms & Pearls

Credit: Simon Dewhurst

This one will come in handy if you’ve got a posh party or ball coming up, because Precious Proms & Pearls sell an elaborate collection of gowns and evening-wear, perfect for those big dos. You’ll find some of the UK’s most sought-after brands here, with the likes of Prom Frocks, Sherri Hill, Little Black Dress and Morilee Paparazzi by Madaline Gardiner – and it all comes with the kind of personal service that make shopping feel special.

Precious Proms & Pearls, Leeds Corn Exchange, Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7BR.

CAU

Cau, Victoria Gate

The latest Argentinian steakhouse to open in Leeds, you’ll find CAU in the new Victoria Gate development. The food is the focus here, with a medley of steaks for you to choose, whether you fancy tapa de cuadril, lomito or tira de ancho. The meat itself is grass-fed, free range Aberdeen Angus cattle that comes directly from the Pampas Plains – but don’t be deceived, it’s not just steak, they also do burgers and a cracking Sunday roast, with small plates for those of you who want something a little bit different.

CAU, Victoria Gate, 26 Eastgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7JL.

Amalthea Cafe, Bistro & Deli

Amalthea Cafe, Bistro & Deli

You’ll have to head out of the city centre for this one, but Amalthea Cafe, Bistro & Deli is worth the effort. The Adel eatery does Greek food with a twist, bringing in quality ingredients from award-winning suppliers in Greece to sell in the deli and mix up into a tasty menu of food. You can tuck into sandwiches filled with aubergine relish with avocado and halloumi at lunch, before you move onto stuffed peppers, chicken souvlaki and beef stifado in the evening.

Amalthea Cafe, Bistro & Deli, 1 The Crescent, Adel, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS16 6AA.

Le Pain Quotidien

Le Pain Quotidien

Another gift from Victoria Gate, Le Pain Quotidien is a Belgian restaurant and boulangerie. Inside, it’s a fabulously rustic venue, with a deli downstairs where you pick up tasty treats to take home, and a restaurant upstairs. The bakery element means you can indulge in pastries and breads served with organic butter, jam and spreads, while those of you looking for something a little more substantial can delve into the likes of lentil and avocado salad or baked eggs with chorizo.

Le Pain Quotidien, Unit 16, Victoria Gate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7JL.

Pump n Grind

Pump n Grind

A small, independent coffee shop in a converted garage. Pump n Grind have their own micro-roaster, and that’s where it all started, but now they’ve opened it up to the public, welcoming folk in to taste their wares, while enjoying a few tasty morsels. The food comes from Headingley start-up Love Rouge and Meanwood favourite The Barn, so you’re in ever-so independent hands no matter what you order. It comes with added feel good too, because 20% of their profits go to St George’s Crypt and all their coffee excess is given to The Real Junk Food Project.

Pump n Grind, 52 Brudenell Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 1BD.

Thewlis Cocktail Lounge

thewlis-park-row-october-2016-no-credit-10

Thewlis is to cocktails what sister bar The Decanter is to wine. It’s recently opened up on Park Row, with a beautifully sophisticated decor, punctuated by extravagant chandeliers, leather booths and a statement bar, which includes private vaults where you can stash your own personal bottle of booze. Of course, you might prefer to work your way through their menu of original (and often unusual) cocktails, made with their collection of premium spirits.

Thewlis Cocktail Lounge, 18 Park Row, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5JA.

The Great Escape Game Leeds

The Great Escape Game, Leeds

Leeds has a new locked-in game, in the form of The Great Escape Game. It’s actually a Sheffield export, but they’ve made themselves at home in Leeds, with three unique games, each of which will see you working as a team, against the clock, to solve puzzles and escape the room. Their themed rooms are elaborate, and great fun, whether you’re doing King Arthur’s Secret, The Devil’s Playground or the Underworld – the latter will see you escaping hell itself.

The Great Escape Game, Atlas House, 31 King Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2HL.

Fifty Eggs

Fifty Eggs

You never know what you’ll find at Fifty Eggs. It’s part independent boutique, part vintage store, with an eclectic array of goodies that you’ll surely want to take home. We’re talking screen-printed t-shirts, natural soy scented candles with pop-culture references and retro film posters, as well as whatever second hand pieces they can get their hands on. With such variety, it’ll be a little bit different every time you visit.

Fifty Eggs, 175 Stonegate Road, Meanwood, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 4PU.

Senbon Sakura

Senbon Sakura

Taking over the space where Cafe Centro once stood, Senbon Sakura is a cafe-cum-Japanese-restaurant. In the morning, you can get a cup of coffee with a bacon sarnie, but come lunchtime, they start serving proper Japanese food – think chicken teriyaki with noodles or chicken katsu curry with traditional Japanese steamed rice. It gets even more interesting in the evening, when they throw sushi into the mix, with 60 different variations to choose from.

Senbon Sakura, 71 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3BR.

Benz & Blanc

Benz and Blanc

Credit: Simon Dewhurst

This one’s a little bit different – Benz and Blanc is a beauty store, but alongside the animal-friendly, ethical products they sell, they also offer specialist services like Diamond Whites teeth whitening and INSTAsmile clip-on veneers. You can pick up all sorts of lovely things here, from all natural Meraki cosmetics to organic coconut mouthwash and biodegradable toothbrushes.

Benz & Blanc, Leeds Corn Exchange, Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7BR.

Oxygen Freejumping

Oxygen Freejumping

If you’re into freejumping, this is probably your favourite new addition of the year. Oxygen was one of the UK’s first trampoline parks and it’s now the most popular – so their huge new space at Cardigan Fields has been a raging success. It boasts over 100 interconnected trampolines, spread over the floor and walls, with added extras like dodgeball, volleyball, a giant airbag, a foam pit, an obstacle course and the world’s first fitness reaction wall. This is a must visit.

Oxygen Freejumping, Cardigan Fields Leisure Park, Kirkstall Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS4 2DG.

Bossa

Bossa Cordeiro Lamb

The latest restaurant from the folk behind Fazenda, Bossa is a cool young restaurant where you can enjoy an endless supply of quality Brazilian meats, cooked up and served in traditional rodizio style. The menu includes a medley of meats, taking you from picanha (cap of rump) to asinhas de frango (chicken wings) and bondiola com queijo (pork belly with requeijao sauce) – just turn your cow to green to get more. You get coleslaw and chips with your meal, but don’t be afraid to delve into their proper Brazilian extras like ovos picantes (a fried egg topped with cheese sauce).

Bossa, 2 Cloth Hall Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2HD.

All Blues Co.

All Blues Co.

One of the coolest additions to Leeds Corn Exchange is All Blues Co. This little designer store is filled with covetable brands, but not necessarily the kind you’ll find on the high street. They come from all over the world, with a particular focus on traditional methods, so you can choose from the likes of Sperry, Paraboot and Small Bird. And it’s not just clothes, they also have a thing for quality leather, which means you can pick up a pair of Red Wing Boots.

All Blues Co. Leeds Corn Exchange, Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7BR.

The Lost & Found

The Lost & Found

Greek Street’s revival is moving apace, and one of the reasons for that, is the recent addition of The Lost & Found. A Victorian style drinking den, it’s famed for it’s cocktails (before they came to Leeds, they were voted one of the best secret cocktail bars in the world), but visit by day and it’s likely to be the food that impresses you the most. They have a hugely varied menu that will take you from pasta to chateaubriand in the blink of an eye.

The Lost & Found, 12 Greek Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5PT.

La Casita

La Casita

2016 has been the year of the tapas bar in Leeds, with a host of new additions for you to choose from, including La Casita in Horsforth. Created by two very talented chefs, Simon Miller and Oliver Renton, it’s already won many a fan in Ilkley and Boston Spa, but now they’ve brought their modern take on traditional Andalusian tapas a little closer to the city centre. Tuck into the likes of roast sea scallops with vieiras asados, butternut squash purée and iberico chorizo and blue cheese salad with toasted walnuts and pear jelly – yum.

La Casita, 8 Town Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS18 4RJ.

Stories

Stories Oakwood

The name is enough to tempt us in to find out more, but it’s what they do that will bring you back. Stories is a proper Scandinavian-inspired cafe, with a minimalist decor and a refreshingly simple idea. There’s a story behind everything, from the suppliers to the decor and they’ll be only too happy to tell it while you sup freshly made coffees and cold pressed juices, or tuck into their menu of smorgas (open sandwiches), breakfast plates and pastries.

Stories, 454 Roundhay Road, Oakwood, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 2HU.

Ricci’s Tapas & Cicchetti

Ricci’s Tapas and Cicchetti

A tapas restaurant and a champagne bar rolled into one, Ricci’s has made its way from Halifax to Leeds. This isn’t your traditional fare, instead, expect small plates that take their inspiration from all over the world, with the likes of pan fried tiger prawns and pancetta wrapped rabbit loin alongside lentil seal and spiced cauliflower fritters. It’s all served up in a modern restaurant, while next door, the bar has a similar decor, with a menu of cocktails, champagne and premium spirits.

Ricci’s Tapas & Cicchetti, Goodbard House, 15 Infirmary St, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2JP.

Veeno

Veeno

You might well be wondering what we’re on about here, Veeno have, after all, lived on Duncan Street for the last few years. However, they now have a new slice of Leeds to call home, because they’ve opened up a bigger, and arguably better, bar at Wellington Place. Catering for the after-work masses streaming out of nearby offices, they’ll be serving up their famous Italian wines, from the Caruso & Minini family vineyard in Sicily. Hungry? Don’t forget their traditional spuntini, perfect for soaking up the booze.

Veeno, 5 Wellington Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4AJ.

Vice & Virtue

Vice and Virtue, Leeds

Yes, the bar opened last year, but the restaurant only joined the fray this year and they’ve given us something rather special – a fabulous tasting menu from Luke Downing, who as you might know, is also the owner of Dough Bistro. You can delve into an ever-changing selection of dishes that not only consider the flavours, but also the textures and aesthetics. It’s a proper foodie experience, so if you haven’t been yet, check it out.

Vice & Virtue, 68 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6NU.

The Old Red Bus Station

The Old Red Bus Station

Don’t you just love it when an old, historic building is transformed into something you want to visit all the time? That’s exactly what’s happened at The Old Red Bus Station. Built in 1936, it was once the place to go to catch a bus, but it’s now a multi-tasking bar, with food and booze on the ground floor and an event space upstairs that will host everything from art exhibitions to gigs.

The Old Red Bus Station, 104 Vicar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7NL.

Burt & Nelly

Burt & Nelly

A Meanwood pizza joint that takes its inspiration from New York (and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Burt & Nelly is predominantly a takeaway, but they have stools where you can pull up a pew in the DIY-style restaurant, should you wish to stick around. That’s an even better idea for dessert than it is for dinner, because you can follow pizzas like the Steve Austin (fried chicken, smoked streaky bacon, red onion, sweetcorn and barbecue sauce), with ice cream from the gelato counter.

Burt & Nelly, 18 Stonegate Road, Meanwood, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 4HY.

Lady Beck Studios

Lady Beck Gallery

Credit: Mike Winnard

It’s not just restaurants and bars springing up in Leeds this year, we’ve also had a couple of new art spaces, including the rather lovely Lady Beck Studios & Project Space. It comes from the people behind Assembly House, an Armley based studio with a thriving community of artists – and their new Mabgate project is just as exciting. As well as creating a permanent home for the city’s artists, where collaboration is absolutely key, they’ll also be putting on a range of exhibitions for you to explore.

Lady Beck, Unit 22, 64-76 Mabgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS9 7DZ.

Wapentake

Wapentake

Credit: Lisa Errico

This one’s particularly exciting, because it marks the first real signs of Kirkgate’s regeneration, as the building benefited from a £110,000 investment from the Lower Kirkgate Townscape Heritage Initiative, which has got it looking absolutely spiffing. Inside, it’s all vintage chic – the perfect place to stop for a drink or a bite to eat. Both the selection behind the bar and the food menu are Yorkshire through and through. Keep it simple with a crisp sarnie, on freshly baked bread, or go wild with a Yorkshire pudding smothered in gravy.

Wapentake, 92 Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DJ.

Leeds Kirkgate Market New Areas

Leeds Kirkgate Market

Credit: Lisa Errico

The first stage of the renovations is complete, opening up a whole new area of Leeds Kirkgate Market. You’ve got the new grocery area, where you can pick up fresh fish, meat, fruit and vegetables, all in one place – even Spice Corner have moved in there, so you can give your dinner a real kick. But that’s not all. They also have a dining and events space, with six permanent street food vendors selling everything from Indian curries to jerk chicken and artisan tea, with oodles of room for the packed calendar of events they have planned, which will include everything from specialist markets to live art and kids activities.

Kirkgate Market, 28-34 George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7HY.

Mod Pizza

Mod Pizza

The latest eatery to open up at Cardigan Fields, Mod Pizza chose Leeds for their first UK restaurant and it proved to be a very popular decision indeed. It’s the concept that makes Mod so popular – they do Italian pizza, DIY style. You can load it with as many toppings as you want and no matter how much you put on, it won’t cost you more than £7.47 – you even get a free do-over if you don’t like your creation. And with the likes of Canadian bacon, salami, roasted red peppers and jalapeños among the many toppings available, you can make something totally unique.

MOD Pizza, Cardigan Fields Leisure Park, Kirkstall Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS4 2DG.

Secret Pizza Company

The Secret Pizza Company

Boss Burgers’ alter-ego, the Secret Pizza Company is a takeaway only affair that will see you enjoying the same focus on quality ingredients and interesting combinations that you get at their burger bars. Here, of course, it’s all about the pizza, with a small but rather tempting selection of Italian style pies like the goat’s cheese & fig one, which is flavoured with rocket and rosemary honey.

The Secret Pizza Company is based in Hyde Park, but their pizzas are only available to order on Deliveroo.

Treasures of Brotherton Gallery

Treasures of Brotherton Gallery, Leeds

Another new cultural space that’s opened this year, Treasures of Brotherton Gallery is more of a museum than a gallery, but that makes it no less intriguing. Inside, you’ll find some incredible exhibitions, ranging from Mr William Shakespeare’s comedies, histories, & tragedies (the first collected edition of the plays of Shakespeare, published in 1623) to the compass used by Bertram Ratcliffe when the First World War soldier escaped back to England.

Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery, Parkinson Building, Woodhouse Lane, University of Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 9JT.

Mr Nobody

Mr Nobody Leeds

Taking the place of Rare, which closed earlier this year, Mr Nobody is a bar-cum-restaurant that prides itself on doing things a little bit differently. Upstairs it’s a laid back bar where you can indulge in tipples created by Andy Trudgill, a mixologist who’s been placed in the top 6 UK World Class for mixology. Downstairs, it’s all about the food, as John Farrar cooks up tasting menus inspired by whatever fresh, quality ingredients he can get his hands on – think pork rib dumplings with soy roasted trotter juice.

Mr Nobody, 163 Lower Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6LY.

Espeto

Espeto Leeds

There’s another all you can eat restaurant in town, but while it’s very meat-centric, this time it takes its inspiration from the Mediterranean. Espeto offers a host of skewers, with rib eye, fillet and sirloin alongside salmon, king prawn and veggies, but you can also delve into their hot and cold counters. Filled with everything from patatas bravas and risotto to cured meats and salad, it’s a big feed that’s guaranteed to sate your hunger.

Espeto, 68 Wellington Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2EE.

The Turk’s Head

The Turk's Head, Leeds

Credit: Justin Slee

Sister bar to the famous Whitelock’s, The Turk’s Head was once their event space, but now it’s a bar in its own right – and aren’t we glad it is. The decor is sumptuous, with a nod to the building’s long history, while the drinks menu places its focus firmly on quality, with a tantalising array of craft beers for you to indulge in, alongside a cocktail menu that’s been built around top notch liquor. Hungry? They serve up a menu of tasty plates that will line your stomach ready for another round.

The Turk’s Head, 4 Turk’s Head Yard, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6HB.

The Climbing Lab

The Climbing Lab, Leeds

Credit: Sarae Akhamal

One of our favourite new additions of 2016, The Climbing Lab is designed to bring a little adventure into your everyday life. They’ve got a custom-built bouldering wall that has something for just about everyone, whether you’re a newbie or a pro, and they’ve turned it into a sociable experience, with their own cosy coffee area where you can relax before or after your climb. But what makes The Climbing Lab particularly special, is the fact that they have one of the only top out boulders in Yorkshire – it’s the ultimate challenge to aspire to.

The Climbing Lab, Units 14 & 15, Kirkstall Industrial Park, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS4 2AZ.

Itsu

Itsu Leeds

Looking for something a little bit healthier? Then perhaps you’d prefer Itsu. The healthy food chain, which takes its inspiration from Asia, has made itself at home in Leeds, offering everything from breakfast to dinner. Expect some unusual options in the AM, with their fit’eggs combining poached eggs, tofu and superfoods with miso soup, while later in the day, they offer a range of sushi, noodle and salad boxes.

Itsu, 36-38 Commercial Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6EX.

Monsieur Déjeuner

Monsieur Dejeuner, Headingley

A new addition to Headingley, Monsieur Déjeuner is a little French cafe that’s making the students swoon. Crepes are their speciality, whether sweet for breakfast or savoury for lunch, but you’ll also find they do lovely sandwiches, served in freshly baked baguettes, and a huge array of cakes, which go down very nicely indeed with a cup of tea in the afternoon. All that is served up in a venue that’s cute as a button, with real rustic charm.

Monsieur Déjeuner, 3 Gateway House, 15 North Lane, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3HG.

Banyan

Banyan Bar Leeds

This is one of the Arc Inspirations gang’s most famous bars, and yet it has only just arrived in Leeds. They first opened up Banyan in Harrogate, adding a second in York and a third in Manchester, but you can now find the fourth in the iconic Old Post Office building on City Square. The food blends healthy salads and exotic flavours with British classics, like their Sunday roast, making it a great place to eat out. And it’s as good for drinks as it is for food, with an impressive selection of G&Ts alongside wine, cocktails and spirits.

Banyan Bar & Kitchen, The Old Post Office, 2 City Square, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2ES.

The new station entrance

New Station Entrance

Credit: Ali Turner

It may seem like a strange thing to include in this list, but the new southern station entrance is one of the biggest new openings of 2016. It cost a whopping £20 million to build, with a landmark design by Leeds architects, Bauman Lyons. The new entrance is expected to be used by 100,000 people every day, that’s a fifth of the station’s total traffic, and could shave an average of five minutes off journey times.

New Station Entrance, Granary Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4BR.

Iberica

Iberica Leeds

This Spanish tapas restaurant has had the city’s foodies in a tizz as they clambered over each other to check it out – and the resounding response has been that it’s ruddy awesome. Quality is at the heart of everything they do here, with ingredients sourced straight from the producer to cut out the middleman and ensure you get the best – whether it’s their impressive charcuterie offering, tapas plates like their chorizo lollipops or sharers like the Spanish ibérico pork prime cuts.

Iberica, 17a East Parade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2BH.

The Cat’s Pyjamas

Cat's Pyjamas Leeds

The Cat’s Pyjamas opened in Headingley earlier this year, and it’s proved so successful that they now have a second restaurant in the city centre. They pride themselves on serving up a tasty mix of Indian street food and craft beer – now that’s a combination we like. The menu has been created by Alfred Prasad, the youngest Indian chef to be given a Michelin star, and includes the likes of aloo cutlet chaat, fried okra and tandoori prawns. Wash it down with the likes of Vedett, Orval and Brew Dog’s Vagabond.

The Cat’s Pyjamas, 53 Otley Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3AB & 9 Eastgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7LY.

Viet Guy

Viet Guy

Viet Guy aims to bring the flavours of a Vietnamese street food market to Leeds, with a host of dishes that you’ve likely tried on your travels, like king prawn summer rolls, beef with lemongrass and chilli and chicken pho. The restaurant itself is simple in its decor, but the prices are affordable and the food is tasty, so if you’re looking for cheap eats, this should definitely be on the short list.

Viet Guy, 157-158 Lower Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6BG.

Cha Lounge

Cha Lounge, Leeds

An interesting little addition that you might well have missed, Cha Lounge is tucked away on Dock Street, in the old Pin unit. It’s had a complete makeover and is now completely unrecognisable with colourful sofas, cool decorations and lovely big tables that have a reclaimed feel to them. Nip by during the day to enjoy their almost overwhelming selection of teas or stop by one evening to have a drink with a bite to eat – either way, you’ll soon feel at home, with the kind of warm, friendly service for which the independents are famed.

Cha Lounge, 24 Dock Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1JF.

North Star Coffee

North Star

Credit: Sara Teresa

Although North Star itself isn’t new, their new venue on Leeds Dock is, and it’s opened up a world of opportunities to make the most of everything the famed micro-roasters has to offer. For example, you can pick up a couple of bags of their coffee to use at home, take part in one of their cuppings to get a taste of the many different nuances of coffee or even take one of their masterclasses to brush up your home barista skills.

North Star Coffee Roasters, Unit 33, The Boulevard, Leeds Dock, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1PZ.

L1 Performance

RYDE L1 Peformance

With so many new bars and restaurants opening, you might well need to up your game in terms of workouts, and this latest addition will help you do just that. L1 Performance is a state of the art gym that has a lot more than you’d expect – we’re talking a 27 metre astro turf running track, a yoga and pilates zone, a spinning room, squat racks and training pods. But that’s not all, because you can also benefit from their holistic and physiotherapy services. Definitely not your average gym.

L1 Performance, 6 Wellington Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4AP.

Hyde Park Book Club

Hyde Park Book Club

Word of Hyde Park Book Club has spread far and wide. It might be because of their food – they offer a menu of vegetarian food that mimics meat, giving you a hearty feed that’s guaranteed to sate your appetite, whether you got for the Veg Butcher Chicken Skewers, the Book Club Burger or the Hyde Park Hot Dog. Wash it down with smoothies, hot drinks or something a little stronger, with beer, cider and spirits all up for grabs. And don’t forget to look out for their events, which range from open mic nights to techno supper clubs.

Hyde Park Book Club, 27-29 Headingley Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 1BL.

Jump Arena

Be it a fun way to get fit or an awesome way to wear out the kids during the holiday, Jump Arena is a cracking little addition to Leeds that’s just as fun as it sounds. It’s a trampoline park that covers a massive 20,000 square foot, and will see you bouncing off the ground and even the walls. They also offer a host of activities, like dodgeball and basketball slam-dunk sessions if you want more of a challenge.

Jump Arena, Redcote Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS4 2AL.

The Head of Steam Headingley

Head of Steam Headingley

You’ve probably already visited The Head of Steam. Their city centre bar opened up back in 2015, but now they’ve added to their Leeds family, with a new pub in Headingley. Just like the first, it’s all about beer, with a downright humungous menu of bevvies for you to work your way through, both on the taps and in the fridge. If beer isn’t your thing, you needn’t worry, they’re well stocked in spirits, especially whisky.

The Head of Steam, 11-13 North Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3HG.

The Rocio

The Rocio

You’ll find this new tapas joint down by the bus station, in a unit that, in all honesty, hasn’t had much luck in recent years. Hopefully The Rocio will be the exception, as the owners set about creating a warm welcoming restaurant where you can tuck into a wealth of Spanish and South American tapas dishes. From brocheta de pollo al mojo rojo (chicken skewers with Canadian mojo & potatoes) to Peruvian ceviche, you’ll definitely be able to try something new here.

The Rocio, 42 New York Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DY.

Lupe’s Cantina Mexicana

Lupe's Cantina

If it’s Mexican food you’re after, you now have a new favourite to discover in the form of Lupe’s Cantina Mexicana. You’ll find it in Burley, where they serve up all manner of Central American delights, from queso fundido (melted cheese & chorizo) to sopa Azteca (tortilla soup). Whatever you choose, you can enjoy it in a bright, colourful setting that perfectly matches the vibrant home cooked food you’re tucking into.

Lupe’s Cantina Mexicana, 204 Cardigan Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 1LF.

Vinyl Fixx

Vinyl Records

A new addition to Armley, and one that will likely pique the interest of the city’s musos, Vinyl Fixx is Leeds’ newest record store. Set up by Ian Brookes, a local lad who’s being doing record fairs across the UK for years, it specialises in rare and collectible vinyls spanning indie, punk and metal music, which means you’re sure to find some absolute gems here. As well as the records, they also have music memorabilia, turntables, amps and speakers – everything you need to indulge your love of vinyl.

Vinyl Fixx, 246 Tong Road, Armley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS12 3BG.

Freedom Mills

Freedom Mills, Kirkstall, Leeds

Freedom Mills is an exciting new venue that sits just outside the city centre. It has something of a duel personality, bringing together the interests of its owners to create a space that showcases the best up and coming artists, as well as putting on some really rather awesome clubs nights. However, they won’t let their love of art and music limit them, so you can expect to see everything from film nights to street food markets popping up on their events calendar.

Freedom Mills, Washington Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS3 1JL.

Pride & Produce

Pride and Produce

If you fancy exploring Leeds’ outer suburbs, why not take a trip to Garforth and try out their newest addition, Pride & Produce? They opened earlier this year, with a plan to showcase the best local produce they could get their hands on – and that’s exactly what they’ve done. Whether you’re eating in or getting your dinner to go, you can pick up anything from sandwiches and platters to deli pots, stews and cakes, all made with Yorkshire’s finest.

Pride and Produce, 33a Main Street, Garforth, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS25 1DS.

New Craven Hall

New Craven Hall

An exciting new venue that’s all industrial chic, New Craven Hall is a wedding and event space in the building that once house Vox Warehouse. It’s been given a beautiful makeover, bringing together natural light, original features and a flexible decor that can work around your theme to create a space perfect for celebrating your big day. But it’s not just weddings we have to look forward to here – look out for some exciting events in the not so distant future.

New Craven Hall, Unit 2, Fairfield House, New Craven Gate, Leeds, LS11 5NF.