Chapel of Change

By January 30, 2018Features-Leeds
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Chapel Allerton has seen a host of recent additions to its high street and beyond. JLife goes for a wander and catches up with all the latest news from the North Leeds suburb…

It’s all change in Chapel Allerton. With new openings and another highly anticipated arrival this spring, it’s the village that never stands still. Since our last foray, up has popped a new bar, a bookshop and a deli. Plus blink and you’ll miss a film screening, gig or even a stand-up night.

Brand new children’s bookshop and café, The Little Bookshop is among recent unveilings. Located on Harrogate Road, the bright blue store popped up in October half-term 2017 and is believed to be Leeds’ only independent retailer for children’s books. Not simply a shop, the literature outlet is also a space for relaxation and recreation, as it hosts regular story time book readings and workshops. Furthermore, the café serves up breakfast and lunch, including products from Leeds-based North Star Coffee Roasters and Leeds Bread Co-op, and features dishes such as teddy bear toast and a children’s lunch plate, designed with youngsters in mind.

Photo: Tom Joy

Photo: Tom Joy

Co-owners Cheryl Duffield, Lou Fenton and Hannah Limming saw a gap in the market, and specifically targeted Chapel Allerton for the venture. Cheryl told JLife, “We chose Chapel Allerton for a few reasons; two of us live there and felt a ‘hang out’ space for children was missing. The people of Chapel Allerton are also such strong supporters of independent businesses that we thought if it could work anywhere, this would be the place. With the toy shop, Armadillo and a children’s shoe shop, Hopscotch Shoes, up the road it would be a really good ‘one-stop shop’ for parents to do all their family shopping.”

Independent cheesemonger George & Joseph was also swept up by the winds of change as the independent outlet switched venues, swapping their premises on Regent Street for a larger space on Harrogate Road. This has allowed the cheese shop to add a delicatessen counter, expand its range of cheeses to nearly 100 and sell a range of bread and pastries from local bakers, with a tasting room due to be added later in the year.

In a related twist, another opening that squeezed in before the New Year was bottle shop and small bar, Wayward Wines, which took over George & Joseph’s former spot. From the brains behind popular city centre drinking and dining spot, The Reliance, the new wine shop specialises in vintages from independent producers using natural and organic wine making techniques. The pint-sized bar offers a daily changing list of wines by the glass, as well as cheese from…you guessed it, George & Joseph.
In further foodie news, Italian restaurant Casa Mia has also recently introduced a new heated front for its outdoor eating area, meaning customers can even dine alfresco during the winter months.

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Looking forward, also setting up shop in the heart of Chapel Allerton is discount supermarket Aldi. Its much-anticipated arrival and completion looks to be just around the corner, as an Aldi spokesperson said: “Work is progressing well and we hope to open our new Chapel Allerton store in spring 2018. The new store will create around 30 jobs, and those interested should visit our website to apply.”

Chapel Allerton’s cultural scene also continues to offer plenty of talking points. If a day of shopping, snacking and book browsing has tired you out, visitors and locals alike can put their feet up in the suburb’s well-known arts space and café-bar, Seven Arts. With a swathe of upcoming events including comedy show, It’s No Job For A Nice Jewish Girl performed by Rachel Creeger on 1st February, there is plenty to jot down in your diary. As for music news, JazzLeeds, formerly known as Seven Jazz, is now a charitable organisation, created to support the development of jazz music. Its two most regular venues, where it runs weekly evening and weekend events including gigs, jams and a choir, are Chapel Allerton’s own creative spaces, Inkwell Arts and Seven Arts. To celebrate its name change, JazzLeeds will be bringing a host of exciting musicians to the area, ahead of its two festivals, the JazzLeeds Festival and the Village Jazz Festival, which will return to the city in July and September respectively.

Photo: Steve Bootle Photography

Photo: Steve Bootle Photography

Last but not least, if you’re craving an outlet for your arts and crafts interests, design shop Chirpy has a new workshop programme for the New Year. In February, there will be classes dedicated to creating woven decorations and wreaths for Valentine’s Day, as well as the chance to learn embroidery, ceramics and crafting with felt. March will also bring the opportunity to take part in a variety of tutorials for activities such as cross-stitch hoop art and calligraphy.

Buzzing with everything from boutiques to bakeries, and knitting to Pilates, the vibrant urban village of Chapel Allerton looks set to continue adding to its ever expanding eclectic list of offerings in 2018.