A Nation of Shopkeepers

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4 reviews
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27-37 Cookridge Street,

(0113) 203 1831

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Review bySarah Richardson25/09/2009
A young crowd, loud music, and er…bunting. A Nation of Shopkeepers is fun and quirky, but maybe not for everyone.

The Venue
This 850-capacity venue bang in the centre of Leeds may be remembered by natives as The Courtyard, but has recently been revamped to a new all-singing, all-dancing, multipurpose venue, hosting arts events, live music, club nights, record fairs, comic fairs and more, alongside the more everyday, but equally welcome, provision of food and drink.

Bedecked with bunting, floral wallpaper, murals by the local art group Nous Vous, framed pictures and some cosy looking armchairs, the design scheme here appears to be your granny’s living room in a head on collision with a village fete. For some the decor might be a bit too twee, but there’s plenty to look at, and while it seems to be self-consciously targeting an indie demographic, it looks undeniably interesting.

The large bar divides the room into two quite distinct spaces. To its left are squishy chairs and low tables, to its right are brightly coloured wooden chairs and a more ‘dining room’ feel. The large (450 capacity) courtyard outside is well sheltered with large umbrellas which should offer protection from any sudden showers.

The People
It’s probably not surprising that the hip young things of Leeds are drawn to A Nation of Shopkeepers like moths to a flame. Large as it is, it’s a busy and bustling venue full of loud chatter and laughter competing with the slightly too loud music.

The staff blend perfectly with the punters in the age and fashion stakes, and are all pretty friendly and cheerful. Although the main crowd seems fairly young and studenty, this shouldn’t put off anyone who doesn’t fit that description as there are also plenty of more mature-looking drinkers, and professional types dotted around, it’s just clear who the main market is here.

The Food
A Nation of Shopkeepers offers a fairly standard, but pretty comprehensive, daily menu at quite reasonable prices. Breakfast is offered until 1pm with a greasy fry-up for £3.90. There’s a good range of sharers to munch over with mates with your drink, with a spicy and tasty bowlful of nachos for £4.50.

Sunday roasts will set you back £8, or you can get two for £12, and there’s even a tantalising offer of barbecue being available if the weather permits! Mainly on offer is quite traditional and hearty fare with a selection of Yorkshire i’sPIES and a good range of pub classics at an average of £6 for a meal and £2.90 for a pudding. Table orders are marked with an old vinyl record - a nice touch, but again, a little self-consciously cool.

The Drink
There’s a lot to choose from, but if you’re someone who has mothballs in their purse you might be a little put off by the - not horrendous, but not particularly recession or student friendly - prices. It’s certainly not the cheapest watering hole you’ll find in Yorkshire, which seems somewhat odd given the popularity of the place with students. Perhaps there’s a tariff on the drinks for the ambience.

There’s a good selection of hand-pulled ales, with local brewers well represented, but a pint will set you back around £2.75 to £2.90, which is a little on the pricey side for cask ales. There’s also a reasonable choice of continental lagers at similar prices and all of the usual spirits, at about £3.50 for spirit and mixer. There’s plenty to choose from and it’s all good quality stuff, you just shouldn’t expect to take home much change.

The Last Word
Chintzy, cheerful, but not exactly cheap, A Nation of Shopkeepers comes across as trying a little too hard to please, but is somewhere a little different and it seems to be a formula that’s working judging by the hustle and bustle at the bar. Worth a visit to ogle the interior design scheme and try the tasty sounding menu, just don’t expect a tenner to stretch too far.
A Nation of Shopkeepers has been reviewed by 4 users

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Content updated: 15/09/2015 04:37

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A Nation of Shopkeepers

Fun and quirky, this place offers great pub grub and a relaxed atmosphere.

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