• Transform magazine
  • April 16, 2024


‘Founder’s Hall’ is now opening, paying homage to JW Lees’ creator

2 (1)

Located in the heart of Manchester, England, brewing and pub company JW Lees partnered with creative agency Squad to open Founder’s Hall. This space is meant to encompass the past, present and future of the brewery, all while honouring its creator, John Lees.

JW Lees developed Founder’s Hall with the help of creative agency Squad, as a testament to the brewery’s history and future, placing founder John Lees at the forefront. Based in Albert Square, Manchester, the space and branding was designed by Squad to make an atmosphere that celebrates 200 years’ worth of brewing history. 


In honour of John Lees, the menu features bar snacks, appetisers, pints, beer samples and hand-crafted pies that JW Lees fans know and love. Looking to the future, the interior resembles layers of time, with materials and art native to the JW Lees brewery, but also new industrial pieces to fuse the time periods. 

The signage also feeds into this style, along with the website, typeface and John Lees illustrations by Srdjan Vidakovic. JW Lees’ managing director, William Lees-Jones, adds, “We wanted a flagship venue to sit at the heart of the city where we were founded and still brew our beer. It needed to be a place to tell the story of our past but look forward to our future.”

Squad’s creative partner, David Barraclough, explains he wanted to create a vibe that transcends the space. He says, “Success for this venue was about creating something brand new but still indelibly JW Lees. We want it to feel like it has an atmosphere even before anyone has stepped inside or we turn the music on.”