A new dawn for 
Bradford's top of town?

Less than three years ago Bradford’s North Parade was considered an up and coming destination, with an influx of exciting new bars complementing a healthy and diverse high street. But a series of closures, including Northern Social and Wireless Bar, plus Al’s Dime Bars move to Darley Street, took the momentum away and for the past couple of years, despite the best efforts of superb venues like the Record Cafe, Bread + Roses and The Sparrow, it has felt like a street in decline.

The declining fortunes of the city’s football team, which provides a much needed match day boost for businesses on the street, certainly didn’t help, and many will have feared Covid-19 would cause another hammer blow.

But a series of positive developments have hinted towards a revival for North Parade and the ‘top of town’ area. None more so than the opening of Crafted, a new bar and bistro based in the former Northern Social/Beerhouse Unit. Crafted celebrated its launch on 29 August and the signs are good. Offering hand crafted burgers, gourmet hotdogs and modern bar food alongside world beers and fabulous cocktails, it fills a gaping gap in the market and appears to be dead set on doing things properly.

The open plan layout, which we understand put off some suitors in the past, is ideal in a post-Covid world where social distancing and plenty of space is more important than ever. While the high-spec fit out and attention to detail is a welcome change. It may only be one bar but seeing one of the streets most prominent units occupied and looking smart makes a huge difference and will no doubt give those around it confidence.

crafted bradford menu food
crafted bradford food menu

As will the news that former Al’s Dime Bar favourite James Brunskill is returning to Bradford to open Boar & Fable, a continental bier cafe and drinking den that promises to offer “the worlds best beers, a banging wines & spritz menu and obviously very average chat!” The new bar will be opening next door to the Sparrow in what was most recently 30 degrees North.

On the floors above Crafted, Assembly Bradford, a creative co-woking and serviced office space, have completed an expansion that will see several new creative business move to the area. Their expansion also includes the opening of a large events space, with plans for thos to become a fully licensed secret bar/members club/gig venue in the future.

There’s more good news around the corner, where the fantastic Plant One On Me have moved to new premises on John Street. Primarily a plant shop, Plant One On Me also offers tea, coffee and cake and thanks to owner Ursula’s infectious personality is just a really cool place to hang out.

Best of all it is completely unique, which is what the ‘top of town’ is all about. Where else can you find a bar that sells vinyl, ale and ham (The Record Cafe), a community-owned vegetarian cafe (Bread + Roses), a plant shop-come-cafe (Plant one on me), bar & bistro (Crafted), a carribean-themed rum bar (Rumshakalak), a micropub (The Sparrow) an Indian street food bar (Peacock) and an East Asian Supermarket (Sing Kee) all on one street?

Plans for a 1,000 home ‘city village’ on the site of Oastler Market are in development, which will likely include units for bars and restaurants. While the new Darley Street Market, set to open in 2022 will bring together the city’s fresh food stalls and introduce a world food court, which could be a game changer for Bradford.

Here’s hoping that after a tough couple of years North Parade and the ‘top of town’ is about to turn the corner.

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