Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen celebrates first birthday

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The opening of Leeds Arena has brought a “surge” of traffic to the north of the city that is allowing independent businesses to thrive.

Ash Kollakowski, co-owner of Bellgrave Music Hall & Canteen, said new life has been brought to Great George Street area and has been built upon by the local business community.

He said: “In the past, a lot of the action was at the bottom end of town. We’ve seen a huge surge to the top end of town this year.

“It helps that Leeds Arena is there. When there’s an event on, there’s 13,500 people passing through.”

Bellgrave’s 700-capacity venue, which includes a 300-capacity music hall, “complements” the restaurants and bars in the area, such as Reliance, North Bar and Sandinista, Mr Kollakowski said.

“It’s really tied things up to make this area of town a destination,” he said. Neighbouring businesses have given “huge support”, he added.

In its first year, Bellgrave Music Hall launched its monthly Street Feast event, which hosts independent traders.

It has also launched three in-house food brands: Patty Smiths Burgers, Dough Boys Pizza and Fu-Schnikens, which was voted Best of The Best at last month’s British Street Food Awards.

With the closure of The Cockpit, Belgrave’s ability to attract top music acts is “something Leeds is in need of”, Mr Kollakowski said.

“We’ve got a good format, and there’s a real spirit of independence in the area.”

The Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen free birthday party event takes place Friday, October 10.