RAISING THE BAR
Looking for great food, first class gin and quality music? Head to Salon Privé, which is bringing a little corner of New York to the heart of Leeds.
I f you happen to be in Leeds on a Saturday evening and hear the sound of a saxophonist performing a few laid-back classics, look up. Chances are, it will be coming from the all-new Salon Privé, a brand new bar and music venue which looks out across one of the city centre’s most bustling streets.
While many drinking spots like to imagine they are channelling the spirit of New York, at Greek Street’s only first floor terraced bar the claims are justified and not just because of those Saturday soul and funk sessions. There are also the plush brown leather chairs, the decadent lighting, the marble bar and the upscale gin collection, which leaves most others in the shade.
Boasting around 200 different bottles, here some familiar Yorkshire names from Masons to Slingsby sit alongside European imports such as France’s Audemus Pink Pepper Gin and Belgium’s Copperhead Black Gin and having perfected their own blend of botanicals there will soon be Salon Privé’s own version to add to the shelves.
“It feels like the right time to launch a venue like this in Leeds,” says Head of Operations Jon Hobson, who previously worked at Neighbourhood just opposite Salon Privé. “A lot of small music venues have unfortunately closed, but there is a real appetite for watching quality bands in an environment like this.
“The whole idea of Salon Privé is to bring a sophisticated, aspirational destination venue to Leeds, one where people can spend an afternoon or evening in relaxed surroundings. What we have created here has the ambience of a members’ club, but one where there’s no cover charge and everyone who shares our love of great gin and great music is welcome.”
Accessed through a private door on Russell Street, the opening night saw Yorkshire’s Dan Burnett and his band play a set of soul, blues and funk to celebrate the launch, along with The Blu Flames, featuring some of the Leeds’ finest musicians.
Going forward, the live music sets will rotate weekly and the team is also in the process of designing a new menu of small plate dishes as well as an elaborate afternoon tea offer so that you can dine as well as drink.
“There is so much competition out there when it comes to bars and restaurants. That means that to succeed, you have to be somewhere people can create memories,” adds Jon. “We want people to remember the night or the afternoon they spent with us years down the line and we honestly believe they will.
“When I started out in hospitality 20 years ago as a bar tender, in many ways the industry was a lot simpler. Now with Instagram, even the toilets have to provide a perfect photographic backdrop! Salon Privé looks beautiful, but there’s also substance as well as style and we know that once visited, people will want to come back again and again.”