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Latitude Wine in Leeds is to swap its often leaky railway arch for a former mill as Chris Hill relocates just down the road this spring.

“There’s always been a hybrid business model on the backburner,” says Hill. 

“It was only this time last year that I really felt the motivation to do it. I thought, rather than maintain this shop and find a bar, why not move the whole business somewhere where we could build a bar as well?

“Before I moved to the railway arch and set this business up almost 16 years ago, I was helping to run a group of bars in Leeds, and a lot of the wholesale business that we’ve generated over the years has come from the local independent hospitality community.”

The move means that the business will also avoid disruptive maintenance work scheduled by Network Rail.

Latitude will soon be operating from an 1,800 square foot space – three times the size of the current shop – within an industrial complex originally built in the 1930s along the River Aire. 

“We’re splitting the unit into three,” says Hill. “The front area is going to be our retail space, the middle part is going to be the bar and the seating area, and we’ll have the kitchen, toilets and office at the back. 

“We’ll have permanent seating for 25 to 30 and once we transition from a shop in the afternoon into the bar in the evening, we can make use of the rest of the area as well. We’ve always had a pretty good market for tastings, but we’ve never had a great venue.”

With the longer opening hours, Hill says he will be recruiting. “We haven’t started that process yet,” he says, “but we’re in the thick of a community of hospitality staff, so the plan is to draw on those contacts and find the right people.”

So will all that extra space soon be filled up with more wine? “One thing we will always do is widen the range,” says Hill. “We have run out of shelf space under the railway arch, so we’ve had to lose something to gain something. I’m already planning on the tastings I’m going to – we’re always on the lookout for new stuff.”

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