Part boozy hangout, part live music venue, the Nation of Shopkeepers is a large and popular bar that used to be the Courtyard. The namesake cobbled area remains (it’s now arrayed with parasols, space heaters and picnic tables), while the interior is a big open space decked out with long wooden tables and booths that make it a great spot for large groups.
The bar stocks mostly bottled beers and lagers, plus a smattering of local ales, cocktails, wine, milkshakes and soft drinks. The food is cheap and cheerful pub/diner grub with a North American slant. There’s tons of choice for carnivores looking to indulge – think fried chicken and a range of loaded burgers with names like ‘Sloppy Jalopy’, ‘The Boss Your Beast Beef’ and ‘Posh Pollo’. These join classic pub dishes such as fish and chips, scampi and chips, and sausages with mash and onion gravy.
Vegetarians and vegans aren’t an afterthought either, thanks to dishes including vegan lasagne, a Beyond Meat burger, a vegan curry, and veggie sausages with spring onion mash. There are also a range of salads, sides and sharers, plus a selection of wraps for lighter lunchtimes. Desserts are just as calorific whether you opt for a warm chocolate brownie served with ice cream or a sweet sticky toffee pudding. Various offers throughout the week, including two-for-one burgers on Tuesdays and two-for-one wings on Wednesdays make it a great shout for workers and shoppers looking for a bite to eat in the city centre mid-week.
A calm, chilled-out place by day, Nation of Shopkeepers turns into a heaving party at night with a mix of indie and electro live bands. It also plays host to regular exhibitions by local artists and occasional ‘film fests’. It’s a must-visit for Leeds’s young, hip, fun-loving crowd.