Balanga brings the authentic taste of Poland to Bradford City Centre

Wednesday 8th July 2009

A Bradford city centre pub which closed its doors a few years ago has been given a new lease of life, re-opening as a Polish bar, restaurant and music venue called Balanga.

Many people remember the Market Tavern, in Godwin Street. Now its new owner, Bradford-born John Poltorak, is hoping his business venture, adjoining the Kirkgate Centre, will become even better known for its draught Polish beers, Polish food and good music.

With around 10,000 Polish people living in the District, along with hundreds from other Eastern European countries, including the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia and Lithuania, Balanga has a strong local market.

But John hopes other Bradford folk along with visitors to the District will enjoy the wide range of drinks and food, along with live entertainment the bar and restaurant is offering following extensive refurbishment of the premises.

“There is no other bar in Bradford where you can find John Smith’s Yorkshire bitter on sale alongside Poland’s best selling draught beer Zywiec,” says John, who worked as an accountant and IT consultant before deciding to start his own business.

The son of Polish parents, John was born in Bradford, attended St.Bede’s grammar school in Heaton then gained a degree in Business Studies at Bradford University’s renowned School of Management.

He acknowledges the assistance he has received from Bradford Kickstart, the enterprise support programme being delivered across the District by Bradford Council. This has helped more than 850 new businesses to begin trading in the District in just over three years, as well as supporting over 2,000 existing businesses and social enterprises.

During the past year John has attended the University of Bradford’s Amaze Yourself course, which is backed by Kickstart, and received practical business support from Kickstart partners ATL Enterprise and BizFizz.

In addition, he was able to obtain professional legal advice, using Kickstart’s professional services scheme, from Bradford-based law firm Gordons, where fellow Polish descendant Simon Mydlowski handled complex leasing issues on his behalf.

Commercial property solicitor Simon said: “I am extremely pleased to have been involved in this project. John has a very clear vision for Balanga, and that is exactly what is needed in a sector as competitive as the licensed trade. He has identified a clear opportunity in the market and I am sure that with his dedication and entrepreneurial skills he is best placed to make this venture a great success.”