Where to eat, live and check out in 2024: Leeds in the new year, according to Chapter 81

Where to eat in 2024, an exciting new TikTok series, new openings and a look back on 2023…

Rounding off our series of ‘2023 according to’ the businesses that shape Leeds.

2023 has been a huge year – but nobody knows the ins and outs of the city better than the independent businesses that keep the cogs whirring – and so rather than us telling you what’s been going on this year, we’ve reached out to five different small business owners to give us the lowdown on 2023.

And who better to ask than Chapter 81, an award-winning PR, social and content firm that knows everything there is to know about the city months before anyone else.

Simon Fogal, the Managing Director, has been involved in a huge array of projects, including Leeds International Festival of Ideas, Thackray Museum of Medicine’s acclaimed ‘On The Bench’ exhibition, and were responsible for highlighting The Queen’s gingerbread house you might have seen on City Square in the festive build-up.

Image: Chapter 81

So here’s what he had to say about the year gone by, and everything to be excited for in 2024…

It’s been one heck of a year! What have you been up to? Tell us about any major events, exciting moments etc.

We picked up our first award which is interesting for us as we don’t normally put ourselves up for this. We were awarded Best Independent PR Specialists 2023 in the Northern Enterprise Awards, we won this based on the bespoke services we now offer. 

2023 has been a fantastic celebration of the brilliant culture Leeds has, and we’ve been grateful to have worked with some of our longstanding clients, as well as some brand new ones, to truly showcase this. From launching the critically acclaimed ‘On The Bench’ exhibition at Thackray Museum of Medicine, to capturing photography and video content for renowned music festival company ‘Superstruct’, we did a regional media campaign for WOW Festival too, to leading on the socials for event giants ‘Hedonist Events’ and ‘Endpoint Creates’, we’ve seen our creativity flourish. 

We were very proud to have worked with LeedsBID on various projects, from the monumental ‘Christmas At The Queen’s’ projection show (which had 100,000 people visit the installation over the 9 nights), to leading on the press and content capturing of the Leeds International Festival of Ideas 2023 as well as producing and making LIFICAST (the festival’s podcast) and LIFITV was new this year. 

The team at LeedsBID have brought truly remarkable names to the city, including entrepreneur Steven Bartlett, comedian and writer Ruby Wax OBE, drag sensation Bimini and renowned actor Christopher Eccleston. The stellar lineup of celebrities weaved into the team’s work has been truly remarkable. We also made some incredible films (that we sadly can’t share) for LeedsBID AGM which was a big piece of work at the beginning of the year. 

We’ve also had a great year celebrating all things food! From new events at Chow Down (Wing Fest was a highlight) to launching the brilliant Flat Iron in Leeds, and have supported a variety of other local businesses throughout the year. We’ve led on all of the video and social media content for Welcome to Leeds, seeing us capture and review some fantastic new spots in the city, including Blue Sakura, Farmhouse, The Indian Tiffin Room, Pizza Pilgrims, and Empire Cafe. 

What was one highlight from 2023 that you’ll always remember? 

There have been some fantastic highlights throughout this year, as the teams we have worked with have made an incredible impact on Leeds’ vibrant culture and community. However, nothing stands out more to us than the launch of the remarkable Flat Iron. The steak pioneers declared in October that they would be opening their very first restaurant in the North of England, an announcement that got the whole region truly excited. 

We were truly grateful to have led on the publicity and content for this incredible launch. From hosting key figures throughout Leeds, including city stakeholders, media and hospitality leaders, to trying the restaurant ahead of the launch, to orchestrating exclusive first looks and interviews, we had an exceptional time supporting this incredible restaurant. Of course, we must also mention the wagyu steak giveaway that took place the day before launch, which saw a crowd of over 300 queue to get their very first taste of the famed Flat Iron, and media coverage spread across the region. 

What are you looking forward to in 2024? 

We can’t really say much about a lot of the work, as with all new projects. However, a move into longer form content is happening and we can’t wait to get our teeth into this one. It will be a welcome relief to assist a client in uniting their several businesses into a single event powerhouse (more details on this early January).  We have already begun to help shape up LIFI24 and it’s an incredible start to building on 2023 version of the festival, expect news in April. In addition, we are working on an exciting summertime Monopoly activation throughout Leeds and an Easter project with a space theme. Hopefully, the few projects on the TBC line of the spreadsheet, can be moved into a new column soon. Thackray will step into the world of Visual Art with a new exhibition and we are working on a new TikTok series for them (think CBBC). 

Where is one place that people should go and visit next year?

For anybody moving to the city and unsure of a place to get settled, you should turn your attention to The Junction. Uniquely built on one of Leeds’ stunning old viaduct, the stylish new apartment complex in the heart of Leeds is the perfect place for new people looking to rent, with an offering of communal work spaces, basketball courts, a private garden, lavish dining spaces to hire and a 24 hour reception service. Not only this, but The Junction also holds community and resident events every single day, inviting those living in the complex and beyond to enjoy a selection of activities, from wine tasting to fancy dress for pets (that’s right – you can have pets live with you too). We will be helping them on some new events in 2024. 

If, on the other hand, you are just visiting, the options are endless. For us, we’d personally recommend paying a visit to Flat Iron if you haven’t done so already? But we are looking forward to a few new openings including Bavette in Horsforth and the new larger Latitude Wines. We shall also see if all the food halls can keep up with demand as Kirkgate Market Food Hall welcomes new traders and the new White Cloth Hall opens, joining Trinity Kitchen and Northern Market. 

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You can find out more about Chapter 81 here.

Feature Image – Chapter 81

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