Ex-Watermark Bar owner to open new all-day cocktail bar Tabula Rasa

Think speciality coffees, aperitivo and cocktails – with a menu that switches from pastries to small plates, cured meat and cheese as the day progresses

A well-known Leeds bartender and former co-owner of The Watermark Bar is opening Tabula Rasa, a new all-day cocktail spot in Leeds.

Greek bartender Filippos Filippopoulos has revealed his plans to open a new all-day drinking and dining spot in central Leeds later this summer, reports Class Bar Mag.

Called Tabula Rasa, it is due to open at 8 East Gate in late August and promises to bring an authentic aperitivo experience into the city centre.

Focusing on speciality coffees, aperitivo and cocktails; in the day it will house a ground-floor bar serving coffee and pastries, then transition to aperitivo and small plates like salads and sandwiches come the evening.

As the night winds on, this will then switch again to span classic cocktails, cheese and cured meats in truly continental fashion.

Ingredients will come predominantly from Leeds’ Kirkgate Market, and Filippos is keen to source everything as locally as possible – adding that he plans to establish relationships with other suppliers from Leeds, such as local gin distillers.

He is also currently talking to a Leeds-based company about making staff aprons from recycled bottles and plans to use the venue to showcase local art and music.

Tabula Rasa
Filippos Filippopoulos pictured outside former bar The Watermark with then co-owner Dariush Haghighi

Aperitivo and cocktails will focus on “classics done well” with Filippos calling on his 17 years bartending experience to put together his own finely-tuned specs.

There will also be some boozy coffees on offer, like the classic Irish and a signature Mextaxa-coffee cocktail.

Drawing inspiration from day to night venues like The Clumsies in Athens and Dante in New York, Filippos has lofty aspirations for Tabula Rasa.

Interior design inspiration, meanwhile, comes from the likes of Death & Co in Denver and Swift in London: incorporating modern art deco influences with a colour palette of dark green, white and gold.

Tabula Rasa
Filippos Filippopoulos hard at work shaking a cocktail inside The Watermark / Image: The Watermark Bar

Tables will be marble and gold, with green velvet stools and a wooden bar with marble top. Elsewhere, glass bi-folding doors will bring in lots of natural light.

Following the end of social distancing, Tabula Rasa will have room for roughly 55 covers – making it a rather intimate space.

Filippos has also put in an application for an outdoor terrace which would bring the overall capacity up to 100.

Tabula Rasa will open in Leeds in late August, serving from 9am until midnight throughout the week and as late as 2am between Thursday and Saturday.

For more information, follow them on Instagram for further updates.

Feature image – The Watermark Bar.

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