The new entrance to Leeds Station, the one that looks a bit like Kylo Ren from Star Wars if you look at it from a certain angle, has suddenly connected the waterfront area around Granary Wharf a little more successfully with the city. The trail down under the underpass and past the roar of the Dark Arches has gone if you’re heading city-bound by train, and you end up right in the heart of the Wharf.
That area was something of an alternative haven way, way back, packed with stalls selling crystals and Native American paraphernalia that had an uncertain use in West Yorkshire, but that part has disappeared, and the focus is on the waterfront, with new bars and restaurants emerging all the time, cocooned in the old railway arches, facing the canal.
It’s been renovated and developed well, and investment has attracted a string of new venues, Bilbao Bar among them.
Open for a couple of years now, Bilbao Bar is the closest thing to a Basque style pintxo bar in West Yorkshire. It’s like stepping into somewhere in the back streets of San Sebastian. There’s a big, broad counter, designed to be loaded up with food, and intended for use by people casually propping it up, glass of Rioja in one hand, slice of octopus on toast or whatever in the other. It’s an excellent space.