Shears Yard


Eat and Drink Indie… the way the Leeds locals do! 

Leeds is a city famed for its culinary exploits. It’s no surprise they call us the Foodie Capital of the North after all! And what gastronomic hub is complete without an independent food scene worth writing home about? 

From well-loved local restaurants to quirky bars and nationally renowned fine dining, Leeds really does things differently. These are places to eat and drink that are indie by name, and indie by nature. So, if your conference delegates are likely to savour the delights of independent dining, our go-to guide to eating and drinking indie just like a local might be just what you need! 


Where the locals go to celebrate… 

A great restaurant can’t be beaten as a place to celebrate those victories in life, big or small. Whether your delegates have finished up a successful conference session, or just fancy marking their last night in the city, a place to toast success might be on the cards. 

The Owl, found just minutes from Leeds Station on the Leeds-Liverpool canal, offers seriously high-quality, modern British cooking with creative flavours by the plateful. It’s where arty types go to push the boat out (which is fitting, given the location).  

Or try Shears Yard, a stunning, refurbished industrial space with twinkling lights and even more sparkling flavours. Their menu takes influences from across Europe, and the venue is a buzzing meeting place for city workers. 

A unique restaurant concept with a twist is The Collective. A creative dining experience that blurs the lines between home and hospitality, visitors to The Collective can enjoy a modern British menu created by Craig Rogan amongst high-quality home furnishings and tableware that is all for sale.  


Where the locals go to indulge… 

If you’re eating out in Leeds, it’s worth doing things properly. And for many locals and delegates alike, that means a good old-fashioned opportunity to indulge your taste buds. Luckily, Leeds has plenty to choose from with a little extra ready to go. 

Maybe a feast of fine flavours is in order, with a table laden with dishes to try.  Tharavadu offers just that, specialising in Keralan cooking from southern India. Their authentic cooking has found them fans from far and wide including some of the Indian cricket team when they play at Headingley. 

Perhaps your idea of indulgence is a little more… cheesy. That’s where The Cheesy Living Co. comes in, found nestled in independent retail hub Leeds Corn Exchange. If oozing, melting dairy sounds about as good as it gets, then the restaurant’s Raclette nights shouldn’t be missed. 

Empire Cafe’s premises on Fish Street has been wowing Leeds diners for more than 100 years and in 2023 the restored original building re-opened its doors. The cafe brings old school values and a new wave of cooking where diners can enjoy breakfast, sizzling steak, rotisserie chicken and classic cocktails.  


Where the locals go to escape… 

Busy delegates deserve a chance to stop, sit and sip. A coffee, a cake and an escape from the hustle and bustle of the conference floor will surely be a welcome invitation. Leeds locals know just the place, so why not follow their lead? 

Named after the ancient local council responsible for governing Yorkshire, Wapentake on Kirkgate is about as charming a cafe and bar as you’ll find. Their coffee is top notch, as are the cakes and pastries. But the range of craft beers, many from Leeds itself, is the highlight. 

Sipping a coffee whilst the world passes outside the window is a pretty peaceful experience, and locals like to find a table at Laynes to watch the crowds heading to and from Leeds’ busy train station. The beans are perhaps the best in the city, and the creative brunch and lunch options go down well too. 


Where locals go to drink… 

Leeds is a city full of pubs and bars, from the oldest historic haunts like Whitelock’s to the latest hip venues such as Headrow House. But locals in the know like to go back to the source, exploring Leeds’ heritage as a drinks producing titan. We gave the world Tetley’s after all! 

Delegates interested in a spot of mixology should follow the locals’ lead and try Tailors Gin, who’s 1920s inspired lounge in the Grand Arcade offers serious speakeasy vibes. The cocktails will be pouring, so don’t forget to try Tailors’ own small batch gin, distilled with hand-picked botanicals. 

Over the last 15 years, Latitude has been the go-to place for wine stocking almost 2,000 different products. Having outgrown their current premises, Latitude is set to open a brand new wine bar for city dwellers to combine an extensive wine list with sharing boards and nibbles.  


If you’d like help designing a tasty delegate experience for your conference in Leeds, get in touch with our team or find out more at