Laynes Espresso, Belgrave Hall

The letters "LE" for Laynes Espresso in black on white, in the centre of a black circle with the words "Belgrave Music Hall" around the edge.Leeds’ much-loved Laynes Espresso, down by the station, has a second outlet, perhaps best described as a pop-up concession (although it’s permanent) on the ground floor of the sprawling Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen. Occupying a simple counter at the back of the main room, at first sight there’s not a lot to Laynes Espresso, just the espresso machine, some cake and a bar with three stools. There’s no pour-over filter and none of the food (not even toast!) that you’ll find at Laynes HQ.

However, scratch beneath the surface and you’ll find there’s a lot more than meets the eye. Since Laynes is part of Belgrave Music Hall, you can take your coffee and sit anywhere you like, including the roof terrace. You want food? There’s burgers (Patty Smiths) and pizza (Dough Boys). There’s even a bar… And, once a month, Laynes takes the place over for Sunday brunch!

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen, site of the second Laynes Espresso.
  • Just in case you were in any doubt that you were in the right place!
  • But where is it, exactly? Ah, there it is, right at the back!
  • There's plenty of seating downstairs, where there's also a bar...
  • I was particularly taken by the back-to-back sofas.
  • If you can't find a seat downstairs, or just want an alternative, head upstairs.
  • After numerous flights of stairs, you end up on Leeds' best roof terrace.
  • There's lots of seating up here, but they were all watching the World Cup...
  • Back down at Laynes Espresso, with the lovely Victoria Arduino lever machine.
  • There's also a small selection of cake...
  • ... and an equally concise/cut-down coffee menu.
  • I do love a good lever machine. Sadly I never got to photograph it in action.
  • One Sunday a month, Laynes takes over this kitchen for brunch.
  • I had this fine piccolo while I was there.
  • However, it was late in the day and soon it was time to pack up and go away.
Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen, site of the second Laynes Espresso.1 Just in case you were in any doubt that you were in the right place!2 But where is it, exactly? Ah, there it is, right at the back!3 There's plenty of seating downstairs, where there's also a bar...4 I was particularly taken by the back-to-back sofas.5 If you can't find a seat downstairs, or just want an alternative, head upstairs.6 After numerous flights of stairs, you end up on Leeds' best roof terrace.7 There's lots of seating up here, but they were all watching the World Cup...8 Back down at Laynes Espresso, with the lovely Victoria Arduino lever machine.9 There's also a small selection of cake...10 ... and an equally concise/cut-down coffee menu.11 I do love a good lever machine. Sadly I never got to photograph it in action.12 One Sunday a month, Laynes takes over this kitchen for brunch.13 I had this fine piccolo while I was there.14 However, it was late in the day and soon it was time to pack up and go away.15
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Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen, as the name suggests, is a music hall and canteen. Except it’s not a music hall anymore. It is, however, a canteen. And a music/art/film venue. And a bar. And a coffee shop. Which is what brought me here.

At first sight, though, it doesn’t look like there’s a coffee shop, but have faith. Stepping inside, you come across the Dough Boys serving pizza, with plenty of seating to your left and right. Skip this and head up the steps to the main room, where it feels like you’ve walked into a crowded bar. Which is probably because you have. The bar itself is to the right, while the majority of the space is taken up with seating, tables in the middle and, opposite the bar by the windows on the left, a pleasing row of pairs of back-to-back sofas, facing coffee tables. This creates the impression of booths without all the bother of partitions.

Press on and, right at the back, just before the stairs, you’ll find a small serving hatch, which we’ll return to. Opposite that, on the left, is Laynes Espresso, occupying a simple counter which looks as if it’s made of chipboard. Roughly one third houses the lovely Victoria Arduino lever espresso machine, another third the grinder and a small cake selection, with the final third given over to seating in the form of three bar stools. However, don’t despair: since Laynes is an integral part of Belgrave Music Hall, you can take your coffee and sit where you like (I recommend the sofas or the roof terrace).

Laynes serves a cut-down coffee menu, just espresso (using Square Mile’s Red Brick) which can be had as is or with milk, conveniently listed by size (4oz, 6oz, 8oz). I was well-looked after by barista Jordan who made me a very fine 4oz coffee, which, better still, came in a proper cup (well, in a glass actually). However, the point is that despite its temporary-seeming nature, there’s no only-paper-cups nonsense at Laynes!

Turning to the serving hatch, this is the second kitchen, which houses Patty Smiths, except for one Sunday a month, when Laynes’ takes it (and the ground floor) over to serve brunch (check Laynes’ website for details). Although I didn’t experience it myself, by all accounts this has become something of a Leeds institution, with people queuing to get in!

1A CROSS BELGRAVE STREET • LEEDS • LS2 8JP
www.laynesespresso.co.uk +44 (0) 7828 823189
Monday 11:00 – 18:00 Roaster Square Mile (espresso)
Tuesday 11:00 – 18:00 Seating Tables, Sofas, Roof Terrace
Wednesday 11:00 – 18:00 Food Cake (brunch one Sunday a month)
Thursday 11:00 – 18:00 Service Counter
Friday 11:00 – 18:00 Cards Cash Only
Saturday 11:00 – 18:00 Wifi Free
Sunday 11:00 – 18:00 Power Yes
Chain Local Visits 19th June 2014

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