Right now we’re all a little lost, Lockdown 3.0 has hit us all a little differently, and right now the hospitality industry seems to have hit a little bit of a stand still. We don’t know when we can open, & we don’t know what the future holds.
However, we’re trying to focus on the little things we are looking forward too and will never take for granted again.
I’ve reached out to our team members, asking them what Independent places they love, why, & why they can’t wait to get back in there.
Si Ord – The Director of Sandinista LTD
A Leeds staple, with the friendliest faces and Leeds spirit flowing through every cup of tea and coffee.
Recommends; The scrambled eggs are done to perfection and a macchiato.
Neither of them works as takeaway and just sitting in somewhere collecting your thoughts plus life is about being around people.
Follow them on Instagram to keep updated!
Mr Paul Dunphy – The Gentleman DJ
The Chilli Shop – Merrion Centre
My fave thing in there – These caramelised garlic pieces in hot olive oil: you just add a tiny tip of a teaspoon into anything on top of anything, the oil slowly releases the heat and then traps the aftertaste on your tongue. Makes anything taste ridiculously good.
Why I can’t wait to get back in there – Frank (the owner) is still delivering around Leeds and online, but the shop is a cathedral of tasty delights (and sauces that will make you literally cry/probably kill you) and I can’t wait to visit and peruse and chat with him. He’s a lovely chap who’s passionate about what he sells.
Give them a follow to keep updated!
Lee Jones – Business Development Manager
Wax Bar on New Briggate
Wax bar isn’t a venue known for its massive range of beers or extensive wine selection. The cocktail list is modest and space is a premium. All of these things are fairly insubstantial at the end of the day. What keeps me going back is the favourable company and great music. The feel is what I find satisfying. Neighbourhood vibes, the coldest beer in the fridge and the nearest whiskey triumph every time. I can’t wait to tuck my knees under that bar top once again and laugh about nonsense.
Ben Cowling – Smokestack OG.
Going to take a small cop-out here and say charity shops in general, of which there are many independents and small chains.
They are amazing places as they support great work through there fundraising but also provide access to affordable clothing, media and in some cases electronics and furniture. Fighting the never-ending onslaught of evils such as fast fashion and planned to obsolesce.
Beyond this, they provide a social hub for the elderly and lonely, and great opportunities to volunteer and learn new skills, and to give back to the community.
My favourite reason to visit charity shops, however, is to go “Music Fishing” or “Crate Digging”. I love the fact that you never ever know what you’re going to find, and every visit gives you a different experience.
Visiting a new town or city and finding a new shop to explore is the most enjoyable experience for me, I can’t wait until it’s safe to do so again.
For me, it’s not about fining particular valuable records if I do that’s just icing on the cake, but finding ones I want to listen to and play over and over again and to own a physical copy of the ever-increasing digital world is cool to me. Finding forgotten tunes and albums, it’s so much fun. The more disorganizes and random the music section the better!
Alex Miller – Smokestack Team
The reason why I miss and love Neon Cactus, is the warm welcome you get on arrival. Whatever state of mind you’re in this place will cater perfectly, whether its a day drink and a taco whilst I read my book or when I fancy painting the town red with there amazing Tequila and Cocktail selection or if i’m on my break at work and just need to wind down before heading back to the Stack.
On a typical night out, Neon is my go-to, however, if you’re looking for other Independents, head down to Merrion Street to the arcade as there plenty of bars down there that will show you a good time.
Check out their Instagram for updates on re-opening & anything else their up too!
Independents are going to need your support more now than ever, so when you’re in Morrisions about to buy your hot sauce, think about the local hot Sauce shop, or if you’re about to buy a coffee from Greggs, why not nip two seconds up the road and support your local?
We all need to stick together through this, and having community and local businesses around are what makes our city so amazing, so lets not see them go, lets support.