When the Belgrave Music Hall opened in 2013 it responded to a need for a large-room music venue with a decent bar and reliable food. What was once a large nursery school in the city’s Northern Quarter is now a vibrant, youthful, multi-storey hangout that could be considered the city’s best live music venue. It’s conveniently located a short walk from Leeds Arena, the theatre and opera house, the shops of the Headrow and neighbouring bars Mojo, The Pit, It Bar, and Sandanista, and its blaring neon signs mean there’s no chance you’ll miss it.
The walls are plastered with gig listings and posters, and this, coupled with the wood chip bar, lends a festival atmosphere to the artsy, concrete space. Larger than its closest Leeds counterpart, Nation of Shopkeepers, Belgrave is the brainchild of the Beacons Festival organisers, and offers all the socialising opportunities and entertainment of an outdoor event without the rain, mud and portable loos.
The first floor is dedicated to high-quality, reasonably priced food; a large, open-plan seating area is surrounded by an ever-changing layout of street food-style stalls and a bar that’s long enough to accommodate the inevitable weekend crowds. The Dough Boys in-house pizza takeaway created a buzz as soon as the venue opened, and has since become famous for its crisp, stonebaked slices, creative, locally sourced toppings and extra touches such as the Napalm Death hot sauce. Seating is ample with slouchy sofas and canteen tables that become unofficial elevated dance floors as the night wear on and the beats get louder.
With breweries such as Summer Wine, North Brewing and Beavertown among the options on cask and keg, it's an ideal venue for lovers of craft beer as well as . A long row of taps at the bar means the venue can easily host such a wide selection of local real ales, lager and cider, with more bottles to try in the fridge.
The gig space upstairs is large and was extremely popular during the summer’s Live at Leeds city festival, offering standing room, more sofa space, and another bar. However, the rooftop terrace is the venue’s secret delight, with great views and benches to while away long summer evenings with friends.