North Bar announce the sale of The Cross Keys

North Bar are delighted to announce that they have agreed the sale of The Cross Keys to the new independent Water Lane Pub Company. The rapid growth of North Brewing Co has lead directors John Gyngell and Christian Townsley to take the decision to focus on the brewery and their wet led sites. All staff from The Cross Keys will be guaranteed jobs within the North Bar family of bars.

Cross Keys Beer Garden

North are confident that the new owners will approach The Cross Keys with the care and attention that it deserves and that it will continue to provide a social hub within Holbeck Urban Village. This new phase for The Cross Keys will be headed up by Richard Fiddaman, former Operations Manager for North Bar Ltd. Richard’s plans sound fantastic, and everyone at North is really excited to see what comes next for the pub. The Cross Keys will close temporarily from Monday 22nd October before reopening under the new owners. The Water Lane Pub Company will be operating a ‘pop up’ over Christmas, before refurbishing the site in the new year.

CK roast

John Gyngell, co-founder of North Bar Ltd says “The Cross Keys was our second venue; we lovingly restored what was a derelict pub into a go to food and drink destination, which regularly featured in the Michelin Pub Guide. The Cross Keys became famous for its Sunday Roasts and roaring fires, with many christenings, weddings, birthdays and visits from some of the world’s best brewers and chefs being hosted in the pub. Our aim with The Cross Keys was to capture some of the tradition of the past whilst acting as a true part of the Holbeck Urban Village community, and we’d like to think that we’ve played a part in transforming this area of Leeds.
The Cross Keys will always be close to our hearts, and it is fantastic to know that it is being passed on to someone who has played a part in the North Bar story. Whereas the focus of The Cross Keys was always on serving great food, with great beers, in a warm, welcoming environment; each subsequent site opened has found their way as a quirky reinterpretation of the original North Bar. The success and exponential growth of our wet led bars, and North Brewing Co, has meant that we are focusing on these areas of our business. We are still passionate about food and beer and see our future in collaborating with independent food operators on pop ups and our summer food fair, Eat North.”


Since opening The Cross Keys in 2005 North Bar have opened five more bars, a brewery, and two brewery taprooms. The growth of North Brewing Co since it opened in 2015 has been phenomenal. The brewery has doubled capacity each year, with its beers currently being exported to eighteen countries, alongside pouring in some of the leading craft beer bars in the UK. The development of the brewery has allowed North Bar to establish a flourishing partnership with Little Bao Boy in the North Brewing Co Taproom and the newly refurbished original North Bar on New Briggate.

Core range (C) Jonny Garret Good Beer Hunting

They have also built strong links to the independent street food community in Leeds thanks to their weekly street food fair, Eat North, operated with Leeds Indie Food.  Showcasing the way in which beer and food work together is integral to both North Bar and North Brewing Co, and they will continue to do this through partnerships with independent food operators throughout their sites.

North Bar would love to invite customers of The Cross Keys for a final ‘Toast to the Roast’ on Sunday 21st October. They will be serving their famous roast dinners, and would love to be joined by friends, family and regular customers as they bid a fond farewell to the pub.

Share this: