Angel Inn

Leeds, England

Angel Inn is arguably the oldest purpose-built inn building within the yards off Briggate in Leeds.

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What is the Difference between Angel Inn and Angel Inn Yard?

Angel Inn holds a special place in pub culture as a Samuel Smith’s establishment in Brigate, Leeds. On the other hand, ‘yards’ hold particular significance in Leeds. Documented as early as 1985, over 50 of these yards were identified, each bearing distinctive names like Blayd’s Yard, Angel Inn Yard, and Cudworth Court. These spaces have deep roots dating back to the town's origins, functioning as residences and workplaces for cloth merchants and traders. Today, Angel Inn Yard refers specifically to the outdoor area or courtyard associated with the Angel Inn.

Angel Inn 1
- Marcus Clarke

What is Special about Briggate Street in Leeds?

Today Briggate, in Leeds city centre, is a pedestrianised shopping street but it has always played an important role in Leeds. This is evident in its name, derived from Old English and Old Norse, and signifying its existence as the main road leading north from Leeds Bridge.

Since its inception as a borough in 1207, Briggate has been the epicentre of commerce, with its land divided up into plots for tradespeople. These plots, characterised by their distinctive width and layout, laid the foundation for Briggate's development as a commercial hub, hosting markets and fairs from the 13th century onwards.

But Briggate's charm extends beyond its main thoroughfare, encompassing a network of hidden gems known as yards. These secluded spaces, with their historical significance and architectural beauty, offer a glimpse into Leeds' past. And it is here that the elegant Georgian Angel Inn Yard can be found.

Designing the Angel Inn Yard

Leed’s Angel Inn is contained within a Grade II listed historic building turned public house, constructed in the mid-18th century. This means that the Angel Inn is likely to be the oldest purpose-built inn building within the yards off Briggate.

As a three-storey structure it is also likely that Angel Inn stood taller than the street shops, with access provided from both Briggate and Lands Lane. Entering the Angel Inn Yard brings visitors to a narrow hallway, which leads to shop premises on the left and stairs at the far end. The cellars, accessed via stone steps, comprise two brick segmental vaulted rooms to the rear, one of which includes a stone barrel ramp and steps leading from the rear yard.

Angel Inn 2
- chas B

The History of Angel Inn

Early History

As part of Angel Inn Yard, the Inn itself has a history that dates back to mediaeval times. Originally functioning as an inn, it served as a gathering place for both locals and weary travellers. However, its role as an inn ceased in 1903, after which it was repurposed as a premises for different businesses. But the site fell into a state of neglect and remained derelict for many years.

Restoration Efforts

In late 1998, a collaborative effort between Leeds City Council and developers was initiated to revitalise several old courts and yards off Briggate, including Angel Inn Yard. This restoration project aimed to preserve the historical significance of these sites and rejuvenate the surrounding area.

Visiting Angel Inn Today

Today, Angel Inn has a chic bar area with tall sash windows overlooking a quaint yard. Owned by Humphrey Smith, the inn upholds strict rules against modern electronics, fostering an environment where conversation flows freely and old-fashioned pleasures are celebrated. With its rich brewing heritage, including the famed Old Brewery Bitter from Sam Smith's, Angel Inn Yard embodies the essence of Leeds' history and provides a welcoming haven for locals and visitors alike.

In addition to its alcoholic beverages, including the famed Old Brewery Bitter from Sam Smith's, the inn has built a reputation for its meat options. Serving everything from mixed grills (complete with their highly-discussed, perfectly-seasoned, flame-grilled, aged steaks) burgers, and succulent chicken skewers to steaming hot pies.

Angel Inn
- chas B

Adventurous diners are enticed by the Flaming Food Challenges, including the infamous Apocalypse Cow and Mother Clucker Sandwich Challenge. Compete for a chance to grace their "Wall of Flames''! And if you’re still hungry, the culinary journey continues with naughty desserts like chocolate ice cream and mouthwatering waffles, accompanied by a selection of fine wines and aromatic teas.

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The best way to discover more hidden gems around Leeds is to take your time and, ideally, have a pre-planned route that takes you past all the noteworthy nooks and hidden gems.

The best way to discover more hidden gems around Leeds is to take your time and, ideally, have a pre-planned route that takes you past all the noteworthy nooks and hidden gems.

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