“It’ll be a totally different bar to anything else that’s here” promise owners of new Elland business

A new bar in Elland is promising something completely different when it opens its doors.

By Tom Scargill
Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 12:00 pm
Co-owners John Sheard, left, and Sean Woodington at The Heist bar, Elland.
Co-owners John Sheard, left, and Sean Woodington at The Heist bar, Elland.

The Heist, on Southgate, is on the site of the former Lloyds Bank in the town and will be the culmination of around a year-and-a-half’s work of renovation.

One of the owners, John Sheard, says the business is due to officially open on Friday.

“I knew there was going to be investment in Elland, and I’m an Elland lad, so I wanted to be involved in trying to regenerate the area,” he said.

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Restaurant space on top floor of The Heist bar, Elland.

“I live in Greetland and I’ve seen how West Vale has regenerated, and Sowerby Bridge and Hebden Bridge, and I think it’s a natural progression that Elland should be next.

“Me and business partner bought the building and we were originally going to lease it out, but then we decided to rip everything out and open it ourselves.

“We have planning permission for two restaurants above, one on each floor.

“It’s probably the most prominent building in Elland, right in the town centre, so it should do alright.

Co-owners John Sheard, left, and Sean Woodington at The Heist bar, Elland.

“I have a utility company, but we wanted to look outside that and I wanted a pension fund.

“This came along and I thought ‘why not’. It’s something totally out of our remit, I’ve got a manager to run it.

“I’ve been in here for the last 16 months and kept people employed during that time.”

The bar will be the first to open in the building, which will also house two restaurants, the spaces for which are out to tender for lease.

The Heist bar, Elland.

“The bar you access from the front, but when the bank bought the building, they put an external staircase at the back which enables us to have a separate entrance to each floor,” said John.

“Generally, you go for a drink before and after a meal so I’m hoping to capture that market.

“It was originally Cooper Kitchen’s, and they made the first ever safety penny farthing, which I only found out recently.

“Apparently there were a lot of accidents on the big penny farthings so Cooper Kitchens came up with the idea of making a mid-range size so if you fell off, you weren’t breaking your limbs, and they manufactured them in this building.

“When I bought it, it was separated into offices so I didn’t really appreciate the size of it until I stripped it all out.

“I found the original winch which they used to winch all the materials up to the top floor so I’ve shot blasted that, painted it back into its original state and installed a barn door on the top floor.

“I remember it as a child being a barn door and them winching things up off the back of wagons, up to the top floor.

“I’ve tried to keep it as original as possible.

“The vaults are still there, with the bank vault doors on and three original safes.

“It’s been a challenging project - utilities to building a bar is a totally different game.

“I’ve learned as I’ve gone along but it’s been interesting.”

John estimates he has spent around £230,000 renovating the building.

“There’s certain bars in Elland you wouldn’t want to take your wife to on a nice evening, but there’s Craft and Tap is a nice little bar, Jack’s Bar and Caddyshack are reasonable bars.

“But it needs something to try and attract a different, slightly older clientele, not another sports bar, somewhere nice people can come to have a meal and a nice drink.

“That’s the target market we’re going for, it’ll be a totally different bar to anything else that’s here.

“I think Elland’s shops are more or less full at the moment.

“They’re pedestrianising all the town centre, and you’ve got the train station coming, so if anything I think it could end up being better than these other places.

“There’ll be outside seating areas, all the shop fronts are getting done, so I’m optimistic it’ll do well.”