DESIGN FOCUS: THE SPIRITUALIST

April 7th, 2016 | Posted in: Editors' Picks,Features

When industry experts Ryan Barrie and Jim Ballantyne discovered a derelict building on Glasgow’s Miller Street, their imagination went into overdrive. After lying empty for almost a decade, the former Stirling Library building has undergone a complete transformation, and has been launched as a contemporary bar and restaurant called The Spiritualist. Having run the nearby Citation for years, Ryan Barrie has drawn fresh inspiration from his industry experience and his worldwide travels into this project. Together with Jim, his friend of 20 years and who runs Camelot Catering, the pair have successfully injected, they say, “a bit of New York style into Glasgow city centre.”
Ryan says, “We felt there were a lot of traditional-style venues in the city and we wanted to go for something stylish and modern. We’d always talked about doing something together and this was a clean site, ready to put our vision into.”
SpiritualistDiningThe building’s sandstone façade has four large windows which allow natural light to spill into the patio-style space inside. On either side of the entrance are three sets of French bistro-style wicker chairs and tables. Despite the risks of using false plants, the foliage-effect 3D wallpaper that adorns the back walls is so realistic that the effect works well. Separating the patio area and the main venue is a brand new shop front, made of glass panels.
Ryan explains that it was his memories of visiting the building when it was a library that inspired the shopfront. He says, “There was an archway where the new shop-front is, and I wanted to create a city garden-type culture whereby people could enjoy coffees and cocktails in the fresh air. A lot of operators would wonder why we would do such a crazy thing, but I wanted to create something completely different.” Immediately to the right of the entrance are two booths upholstered in quilted navy fabric. Each booth seats up to six people and both benefit from the natural light streaming through the glass shop front. On the opposite side of the door is an antique French dresser which sits alongside a baby grand piano.
Moving further inside, the most striking design feature in The Spiritualist catches your eye – five floating tables. The black pole legs of each table appear to continue through the corners and reach up to the ceiling. Each table seats six people and is illuminated from within, giving the marble-patterned perspex tops a golden glow.
Ryan comments, “I didn’t want to use candles because they are too traditional. We control the table lights so that as the night goes on, they glow brighter, and people don’t want to leave the cosy space.”
Around each table are tall winged stools, upholstered in cream leather. Three recessed coffer sections sit directly above the tables and feature stylish uplighting. These enhance the feeling of space. Running parallel to the tables is the bar, which is made from white and cream marble. The reflective bar top is uncluttered and broken up by two pillars.
The glass shelving and uplighting on the gantry allows every individual spirit bottle to stand out. On the highest shelves, The Spiritualist stocks some of the world’s rarest spirits, which are retrieved on request by staff via a mobile ladder.
On either side of the gantry are mirrored cupboard doors made from smoked navy vintage glass, which disguise more pillars.
Ryan says, “We believe we offer the most diverse spirit range in Scotland. Hot Sauce supplies us with unique, small-batch gins, whiskies and rums, which are popular in the marketplace at the moment.” Continuing past the bar, the room opens out into the main restaurant which caters for 80 diners. Five circular tables are surrounded by chairs upholstered in sand-coloured leather, and on the other side of a central pillar, six tables rest against the back wall. A backrest runs the length of the wall and is upholstered in a white, sand and silver herringbone design. The focal point of this area is three large, gold-framed, prints on the back wall. The shades of grey in the black and white images compliment the silver tones in the upholstery beneath. In keeping with its heritage, one of the trio of images is a print of the first photographic negative ever to be produced.
Explaining, Ryan says, “I wanted to play with The Spiritualist idea with these prints. This isn’t a themed bar, but I think the pieces we have chosen are subtle and allow your imagination to wander.”
On the right of the restSpiritualistDining2aurant is a semi-circular booth which has a tall backrest, upholstered in deep blue fabric. Above the booth hangs a cylinder-shaped statement light. Its shape is mirrored in the curvature of the ceiling above.
Spotlights in the restaurant illuminate each table and the dining area merges with bar seating next to the grand piano. Jim explains that this allows a natural progression from one area to the other. Two medium height partitions, stained navy, separate the bar and restaurant. These are cushioned on the restaurant side and upholstered in a cream and gold fabric. On the opposite wall are two more herringbone-patterned booths. French-style prints hang above each booth, a reminder of the days of prohibition. One is a circus-style absinthe image and the other a woman’s silhouette standing inside a crescent moon.
“This project allowed me to get rid of my pet hates and focus on creating the most enjoyable space to work, drink and dine in. Jim and I wanted to create something that we were really proud of. And so far, we have.”
The royal blue and golden tones which run throughout the venue, coupled with the herringbone theme, point to a renovation that has careful, intriguing design at its heart. With such an extravagant transformation, The Spiritualist looks set to fulfill drinkers with a more adventurous palette, in an undeniably elegant surrounding.

The following two tabs change content below.

DRAM News Team

Editor at DRAM Magazine
DRAM magazine is Scotland’s leading monthly licensed trade magazine. It has been dedicated exclusively to the on-trade in Scotland for the past 23 years. It is independently owned, edited and published in Scotland. The DRAM is innovative, creative and original. First with the news, and the people in the news. Covering all the latest information on pubs, bars, clubs, restaurants and hotels in Scotland.


Tennent’s takes on international markets but owners C&C still see profits fall

Thu 18th May 2017

Tennent’s owners C&C Group, in their results to the 28th February 2017, have revealed that net revenues decreased 6.9% to €559.5... Read more.

McEwan’s owners Charles Wells sells brewing and brands business to Marston’s in £55m deal

Thu 18th May 2017

McEwan’s owner Charles Wells Ltd  has agreed to sell its brewer and brand sales interests to Marston’s PLC for £55 million. The c... Read more.

Dundee Boozy Cow Opens up in Former Laings Bar

Fri 12th May 2017

The Speratus Group opened its fourth Boozy Cow restaurant in the former Laings Bar in Dundee recently. The news came as the group confirmed ... Read more.

24 Beer Facts

Thu 11th May 2017

Impress your friends in the pub with these facts about beer that you may not already know.... Read more.

Uplawmoor Hotel Charges up its service

Thu 11th May 2017

Uplawmoor Hotel owners, Stuart and Emma Peacock, are still investing in their hotel, despite putting the hotel on the market Says Stuart, ... Read more.

William Grant & Sons Acquires US Whiskey Distillery

Wed 10th May 2017

William Grant & Sons has acquired Tuthilltown Spirits, the producer of the Hudson whiskey brand which the Scotland-based distiller bough... Read more.

DRAM Round Up May 2017

Tue 9th May 2017

Boclair Celebrates its First Birthday Boclair House Hotel in Bearsden, Glasgow celebrated its first birthday and raised over £4,000 for cha... Read more.

Inveralmond Celebrates 20 years with a New Brew

Tue 9th May 2017

Inveralmond has launched a new beer and unveiled a new look for the brand as it celebrates its 20th anniversary of brewing beer. The Perth-b... Read more.

Cîroc Summer Colada Added to Range

Mon 8th May 2017

Cîroc has launched Cîroc Summer Colada to join its Cîroc Mango, Cîroc Pink Grapefruit and Cîroc Apple, Cîroc Red Berry, Cîroc Pineapp... Read more.

One Gin Launched with Crowd-funder

Sun 7th May 2017

A new gin has launched under the One Brand, using a Crowd-funder appeal to recruit supporters. One Gin will follow the same model as One Wa... Read more.

Darnley’s Gin to Sponsor the Ricoh Women’s British Open

Sat 6th May 2017

Darnley’s Gin is sponsoring the Ricoh Women’s British Open, which will be held in Fife for the first time at the Kingsbarns Golf Links i... Read more.

Sue Says – May 2017

Fri 5th May 2017

I visited London last month and of course visited a few bars and restaurants all in the course of research…honestly! A trend which is... Read more.

Design Focus: Angels

Fri 5th May 2017

The much-anticipated refurbishment of the Angels in Uddingston has been very well received. Susan Young paid a visit to find out more about ... Read more.

What does the anti-alcohol lobby really want?

Thu 4th May 2017

What is it that the anti-alcohol lobby really want from the Governments in Edinburgh and Westminster? It’s impossible to really say as the... Read more.

Paesano Unveils its New West End Restaurant

Thu 4th May 2017

Paesano has unveiled its much awaited West End outlet on the site of the old TSB Bank on Great Western Road, and created an Art Deco inspire... Read more.

Scotland’s First Coffee Bar

Wed 3rd May 2017

Dave Law and Tom Hyde, are expanding their coffee empire with the opening of Scotland’s first “coffee bar” – Brew Lab. The E... Read more.

SCOTTS SET TO OPEN IN SOUTH QUEENSFERRY AS BUZZWORKS EXPANDS EAST

Wed 3rd May 2017

Buzzworks Holdings is set to open its flagship restaurant Scotts at Port Edgar Marina, South Queensferry, at the end of this year. It’... Read more.

Design Focus: The Beer Kitchen

Wed 3rd May 2017

 Innis & Gunn’s flagship Beer Kitchen in Ashton Lane is a slick and stylish addition to Glasgow’s West End that, true to its namesa... Read more.

May News Briefs – 2017

Tue 2nd May 2017

Clachan Grill for Ballater Aberdeen restaurant and bar group CranberryCo has added the Clachan Grill in Ballater to its portfolio and in doi... Read more.

Design Focus: Scotts

Mon 1st May 2017

The new look Scotts at Troon Marina, owned by Buzzworks, has been totally refreshed. The layout of the bar and restaurant remains mainly the... Read more.