Ossett Brewery's latest venture sees the unlikely amalgamation of restaurant, bar and disco in the dark arches beneath Leeds station. This is the company's third project at the developing Granary Wharf in the Holbeck district of the city and offers very different fayre to that currently available in the nearby Hop and Candlebar.
The very stylish conversion of a former teppanyaki restaurant is on two levels and quite different from anything Ossett followers will be familiar with. Although size-wise Archies is similar to next door's Hop (occupying arches V & W to The Hop's X & Y), that's where the similarity ends. There's no traditional pub styling, no dimly lit nooks or cosy corners.
No, the emphasis is very much on eating, and that's eating with a twist of healthy and a sprig of contempo - none of your regular fast-food in here. A juice bar greets you by the door, uniquely sited inside a VW camper van (see what they did?) - the same vehicle that some may remember in The Jam Inn at Wakefield. And in an attempt not to spoil the clean modernist approach to the bar design, the obligatory hand pumps (this is a cask ale brewery let's not forget) have been cleverly hidden in the tailgate of the van so as not to be obvious - it's kind of like cigarettes behind shutters.
Ossett does of course have a very good range of it's own beers and guest ales right next door, so there is no sense in repeating itself at Archies - in fact having a selection of up to four beers on handpull here is very generous. With Candlebar (a two minute walk away) concentrating on craft beers from around the world, it would be very churlish indeed to criticise the choice of beer on offer.
However, if you are popping in for a nosey and just fancy a swift one, expect to see the ubiquitous and immensely popular White Rat from Huddersfield on cask with usually an Ossett and a Sharps alongside. Keg-wise there was BrewDog and Rat Brewery during my last visit. If it's more substantial sustenance you're after, perhaps while waiting for The Hop to open, then I can whole-heartedly recommend the breakfasts (served from 8am).
While waiting for the access lift from the station to be completed, this totally re-imaginged quarter of Leeds has been missing out on a tremendous amount of custom, but all that's about to change. Completion is due in November we hear and from then on a good day out in Leeds can include the three aforementioned bars, plus the Grove, Midnight Bell, Cross Keys and Northern Monk - all without a shopper in sight. Bliss!