Everything you need to know about Chow Down’s summer return

Chow Down is back!

Chow Down is back for 2023 – and it promises to be its biggest year yet.

From new residence kitchens bringing slow roasted meats and sensational seasonal dishes to Temple Arches to the biggest garden in the city centre with huge new events like Battle of the Burger and Wings Fest –  there’s really something for every occasion this summer.

Opening from Thursday 6 April and running all the way through until the end of August, Chow Down promises to bring the summer season to life with seemingly endless selections of dog-friendly events, drag brunches and Guilty Pleasures nights – it’s going to be a whole lot of fun.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about Chow Down’s 2023 return, including all the new features and how to grab tickets or reserve a seat down at the much-loved Temple Arches event space.

Image: Chapter 81

New for 2023

The new space is tipped to the biggest garden in the city centre – and there’s going to be a whole lot of space to spread out under the arches this year. Now you could find a cosy corner under shelter to while away the evening cocktail in hand, but this new green space is going to be the ideal space to soak in the summer sun and feel the heat on your back whilst watching the sun go down.

The cocktail bar has also had a refurb ready for the summer season – and you can expect a whole host of speciality cocktails at the new Tipple Cocktail Bar. Naturally, there will also be the known-and-loved summer staples like an Aperol Spritz to while the night away too.

Food and Drink

This year, there will be two resident kitchens and a huge range of rotating street food trucks to tuck into all summer long.

Bastards Bistro

Images: The Hoot Leeds

Following the success of the winter Chow Down season, Bastards Bistro is back for 2023 – and bringing a brand new menu to Temple Arches. The popular foodie pop-up was loved last year for gravy-drenched festive fries and burgers – but as spring turns to summer, Bastards Bistro promises to bring a whole host of new seasonal-inspired dishes – and we can’t wait. 

Announcing the news last week, the foodies behind Bastards Bistro have said: “Back at our fav spot with a jukebox full of classics / best sellers & new shit to get your chops round all spring & summer! MENU LOADING . . . .”

Braizin’ Squad

food on plate.
Image: Braizin Squad

New for this year, slow roasted foodies Braizin’ Squad will be joining Bastards Bistro under the arches all summer long – and whilst the menu is yet to be announced, judging by the chef’s recent success over in Meanwood we’re in for a real treat.

Having been commended by both The Observer and ranking in the Top 15 Sunday Roasts in the UK from Rate Good Roasts for their sell-out slow roasted Sunday dinners, Braizin’ Squad may not have been on the Leeds foodie scene for long, but they’re certainly making a huge impact.

Announcing the news, Braizin’ Squad said that they’re “Reyt excited to announce our residency @chowdownuk right next to our big mushy @bastardsbistro! Can’t wait to start slingin some proper smokey scran your way this spring!”

Street Kitchen takeovers

Homeboy Pizza Co. / Image: The Hoot Leeds
Little Bao Boys. / Image: The Hoot Leeds

Throughout the summer season, the street food trucks will host an ever-changing selection that brings some of Leeds’ most loved pop-ups to Chow Down, along with plenty new vendors to try out.

Expect Little Bao Boys to bring vegan and meat-filled steamed baos with Little Red Food Cluck offering fried chicken goodness to the masses (with plenty of GF options).

Meanwhile Archchi’s has a traditional Sri Lankan menu that’s inspired by their own family recipes, Homeboy Pizza Co. will return with a curated menu of wood fire pizzas and bringing street food from around the world with South Korean flavours, Hoi Polloi Street Kitchen will also be at the arches this summer.

But if all this isn’t enough, you can expect to see the likes of Igloo Pizza, Oi Dumplings, Niko’s Comfort Kitchen, Cluck n Dough, Colombo Street, Fire & Dough, Nasi Lemak, Nikos Comfort Kitchen, Shoot The Bull and Sri Non Thai too.


In addition to the day-to-night parties, copious cocktails and unlimited tunes – all these events have been announced so far for 2023.

Drag Brunch

Images: Chapter 81

Camp Presents… Drag Brunch is back for 2023, and given there’s a 100% sell-out rate, don’t hang about before booking these. The afternoon occasions sees some of CAMP’s best kings and queens take the stage, with a different theme (like Beyonce and Lady Gaga) at each occasion.

Hosted by Sue Pertrouper, there’s two events in the diary you can choose from at present, with plenty more to follow across the summer season.

Book Drag Brunch on Saturday 8 April here or Saturday 6 May here.

Bingo Lingo

stage with confetti canon.
Image: Chow Down

Another event brought back due to popular demand, Bingo Lingo promises to be nothing like your average game at Mecca. Expect stage battles, non-stop party anthems and some seriously silly prizes, all whilst seeing if you can get yourself a full house.

Tickets cost from £10 each, with the first two events on Saturday 22 April and Friday 19 May on sale now here.

Dog Social

Image: Chow Down

If your wanting to find a space to hang out with your four-legged friend, then the return of the Dog Social is the perfect opportunity to check out Chow Down. Along with supplying treats, doggy ice cream and the perfect garden space for your dogs to unwind in the sunshine, Chow Down will also host competitions for the best dressed dog, amongst other exciting categories.

The first Dog Social will be held on Friday 7 April, with free entry, but booking on the Chow Down website here is always recommended to avoid disappointment.

Guilty Pleasures

Image: Guilty Pleasures

A northern favourite is coming to Leeds for an unforgettable night of pop party tunes. From that era where you’ll find “umbrella-era Rihanna downs shots with Whitney Houston, while Taylor Swift doesn’t stop moving to the funky funky beat with S Club 7 and Katy Perry loses it over the fact that Backstreet is back, all right? Not actually, but you know what we mean.”

The first Guilty Pleasures night will be held on Friday 12 May, but Chow Down promises plenty more nights of non-stop pop hits throughout the summer. Tickets cost from £10 each, with three different arrival times, all of which are available to book here.

Leeds Indie Food Presents… Wings Fest

wings on plate.
Images: Chow Down
wings in tray.
person holding chicken strips up.

Leeds Indie Food, the biggest food festival organisers in Leeds, will be bringing a weekend of all things wings at the aptly named Wings Fest in May. From 19-21 May, a feast of wings from far and wide will be available down at the arches- with free entry too.

Traders are yet to be announced, but you can reserve your table for the weekend here to avoid disappointment.

How to get tickets

Chow Down opens from Thursday 6 April 2023. / Image: Chapter 81

Last year, Chow Down made the decision to open entry up to all without needing to worry about putting down a deposit or reservation fee – however, if you’re looking to visit during busy times (think weekends especially) then you’re always best reserving a table to avoid disappointment.

You can book your table on the Chow Down website here, and find out more about how to book the ticketed events like Bingo Lingo here too.

Feature Image – Chapter 81


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