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Headrow House: October launch for Leeds' latest music venue

Written by
Jed Skinner

Headrow House is set to be one of the biggest, boldest, most ambitious venues to launch in Leeds.   

Opening on October 2 and spreading over three floors, the building will feature a restaurant, cocktail bar, an intimate live music space and – most excitingly – a beer hall. On top of this, there’ll be three outdoor areas, two roof terraces and office spaces, too. 

It will be the main host of the new Beacons Metro festival, following its transition from an outdoor event in the lush green fields of Skipton. 

The building has an interesting history. A former mill, by the mid-1960s it had become home to various light industrial businesses. 

Long-time Leeds residents may also remember it as the building that housed Big Lil’s Saloon Bar and the nightclub Spooks, two notorious drinking spots that closed down over ten years ago.   

Now receiving a new lease of life as Headrow House, many of the original features of the building have been restored, revealing exposed brick walls, curved brick stairwells, original period windows and skylights. 

Work in progressHeadrow House

We asked Ashley Kollakowski, part of the team behind Headrow House, what his inspirations were for setting up Leeds’ newest venue, and what people could expect to discover on opening night: 

What was the catalyst to set up Headrow House?  
We wanted a space with the facilities to run smaller, more intimate gigs. With Belgrave Music Hall, the large capacity of the venue meant we couldn't put on smaller, newer and more specialist acts.  

The other areas – cocktail bar, restaurant and beer hall – have come about as a result of our growing interest in food and drink.  

It’s the biggest, scariest thing I've been involved with. I'm slightly traumatised already. 

What can we expect to find in the restaurant and beer hall?  
We’ve collaborated with Ben Davy from Dough Boys to create the Ox Club restaurant. We were inspired by our trip to Portland in the USA last year, where we stumbled across places using this amazing grill by a company called Grillworks.  

With the beer hall, we will be collaborating largely with a Czech brewery who will be installing giant beer tanks. We'll be selling fresh unpasteurized beer straight from these tanks. It sounds like a gimmick, but it is the best beer you'll ever taste. 

Aside from Beacons Metro, are there any other bookings confirmed that you're looking forward to?  
We’re concentrating on Beacons until December but there's already two months’ worth of acts booked for 2016. My favourites will probably be Golden Teacher, Dan Avery, Traams, and Factory Floor. I’m also looking forward to seeing Mick Jenkins – he's proved to be a very hot ticket. 

The Headrow House opening party is on Friday October 2, from 7pm. Performing live will be East India Youth and Ghost Culture, along with Balearic Social Club DJs and Super Friendz DJs.

Headrow House, Bramley's Yard, Leeds, LS1 6PU. Follow the venue on Facebook.

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