Design Focus: Taphouse Bar & Kitchen

June 5th, 2017 | Posted in: Editors' Picks,Features

Stroll down Argyle Street into the heart of Finnieston nowadays and you’re met with an almost bewildering choice of venues. From the trendy to the traditional, the extravagant to the minimalist, the food-focused to the alcohol-oriented.

The Holy Grail for the area’s proprietors is surely to combine as many of these attributes as possible in one unit, but it’s easier said than done.

However, by transforming Neighbourhood Bar & Kitchen into Taphouse Bar & Kitchen – completely revamping the décor, menu and drinks selection in the process – owner Phil McDonald believes he may have done just that.

Taphouse

Following a whirlwind 11-day refurb masterminded by Stephen Paterson of Burns Design and carried out by GID Contracts, Phil set himself a financial target for the period immediately after his April 27th re-opening, and totally smashed it – to borrow his own phrase.

He said, “I’ve got to be honest, it’s been phenomenal. We had a great atmosphere on the 27th, with a DJ playing, an Edinburgh Beer Factory pig-nose van outside and loads of invited guests. The instant feedback from people who had seen it as Neighbourhood was that we’d done a fantastic job.”

Unsurprisingly given the quick turnaround and high-quality finish, Phil is effusive in his praise of GID, Russell Aitken Decorators and all those involved in the revamp.

“It went exceptionally well, it probably couldn’t have gone any better. Any future stuff I do renovation-wise I would definitely use GID again.”

Taphouse

Phil, a former head chef who’s worked in and ran outlets all over Glasgow, from Giffnock to Shawlands to Princes Square, went on to explain the logic behind the change.

“I wanted to take the bar in a new direction. Although I liked the concept of Neighbourhood, I felt like with the way Finnieston has become, and also what I wanted to do with the bar, I wanted to be more craft beer-focused, more high-end products, possibly take out some of the major brands and replace them with some smaller ones. I really wanted a wow factor, and although my wife Giovanna, who co-owns the bar, was averse to me changing the name, I wanted a whole new concept on the street.

Taphouse

“Finnieston is full of tremendous restaurants, but bar-wise I felt it was missing a wee trick, which is why we put high-level seating in. I want it to be distinct, to be known as a bar but have a good food offering, rather than being a restaurant where you can come in and have a drink. We were always strong on our burgers, so I’ve increased the range of burgers and we now do hot dogs and suchlike, more pizzas”

Phil’s main specification in terms of design was “an open, airy space”, and that’s certainly what you find when you step inside the premises at 1046 Argyle Street. Small yet significant touches like sanding the floor and installing vintage Edison bulbs make a big difference in that regard, as has knocking through the wall that separated the main area from the section housing two large booths. A flash of pink neon lures you towards the bar, where you find an eclectic selection on tap – including The Edinburgh Beer Factory’s award-winning lager Paolozzi – a large collection of rums and an even larger offering of gins, entailing over 25 varieties from all over the world.

Taphouse

“Stephen (Paterson) is a great help to me because he’ll see things that I maybe don’t,” Phil remarked. “I throw my own bits in; I wanted the hanging gantry, the neon behind the bar, reclaimed tabletops and scaffolding, brick slips, a corrugated bar front, the floor sanded to brighten up the place. I think it’s good for an owner to have their own ideas, but it’s also important to have a professional onboard.”

As a fully paid-up member of the ‘here before it was cool’ club, he and Giovanna having established Neighbourhood over eight years ago, Phil understands that nailing it in Scotland’s answer to Shoreditch is as much about creating a vibe as it is trendy touches like baconnaise and exposed brickwork.

“I was keen to attract a younger demographic but not alienate what I already had, and a couple of regulars have said we’ve achieved that,” he added. “I’ve noticed the age group of people coming in on Friday and Saturday nights has come down. The youngsters will feel it’s hip enough, the older people feel it’s comfortable enough.”

But what of the future?

“I’ll always look at new opportunities, but I’d rather get this unit like a slick operation before I can even think of doing something else,” Phil concluded. “What I don’t want is to lose what we have. Some will slip away, that’s the nature of the beast, but I think we will maintain a lot of these people.”

And with that I headed back down Argyle Street in the rain, reassured that I won’t find it quite so difficult deciding where to go when next in Finnieston.

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.

Latest posts by DRAM News Team (see all)


Alcohol Stats Receive Mixed Response

Thu 22nd June 2017

Scottish drinkers are learning lessons but are not there yet according to NHS Health Scotland’s latest report. Although it revealed th... Read more.

Greene by Name, Greene by Nature

Wed 21st June 2017

Belhaven owners, Greene King, is aiming to send zero waste to landfill by 2020. This ambitious target follows a partnership last year with w... Read more.

Star Pubs & Bars Invest in Dundee

Sat 10th June 2017

Heineken’s Star Pubs & Bars has earmarked £500K to invest in Dundee’s Mercantile Pub as well as The Gunners Bar in Broughty Ferry. ... Read more.

Round up – June 2017

Sat 10th June 2017

Round up DRAM June The Scottish Licensed Trade Benevolent Society, The BEN, raising £4,500 at its ‘Fashion and Fizz’ event held last mo... Read more.

Dembele Officially Opens Harry’s Bar

Fri 9th June 2017

Celtic legend Harry Hoods family business, The Lisini Pub Co, have opened a new Uddingston bar and named it after Harry as a surprise. The b... Read more.

£250K Refurb for the Long House in Kilmarnock

Wed 7th June 2017

 The Long House in Kilmarnock, owned by Buzzworks Holdings, has just revealed the results of a £250K revamp. During the refurbishment the ... Read more.

Blueberry & Lime Lands in the On-trade

Wed 7th June 2017

Kopparberg has expanded its fruit cider family with the arrival of Blueberry & Lime. It is the latest introduction to the signature rang... Read more.

Licensed Trade News – June 2017

Tue 6th June 2017

 John Bryden Perth licensee John Bryden and daughter Georgia were thrilled to meet Jools Holland after sponsoring his Perth Concert Hall s... Read more.

Double Gold for the Glasgow Distillery at the World Spirit Awards

Tue 6th June 2017

Glasgow Distillery is the first gin and single malt distillery since 1902 received two golds at The World Spirit Awards. It received a doubl... Read more.

Douglas Laing see Profits Increase

Mon 5th June 2017

Family owned Scotch Whisky specialist Douglas Laing has revealed that profits increased 17% to £1.6m in 2016. Double digit growth three yea... Read more.

Design Focus: Taphouse Bar & Kitchen

Mon 5th June 2017

Stroll down Argyle Street into the heart of Finnieston nowadays and you’re met with an almost bewildering choice of venues. From the trend... Read more.

Profits fall for Tennent’s Owner C&C

Sun 4th June 2017

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

Design Focus: Ardnamurchan

Sun 4th June 2017

A new Scottish restaurant Ardnamurchan has opened opposite the Theatre Royal at the northern end of Hope Street in Glasgow. Its predecessor... Read more.

Sue Says – June 2017

Sat 3rd June 2017

There’s definitely sea change happening when it comes to people moving on… Ken, Kenny, Kenneth McGown of Star Pubs & Bars, after... Read more.

Magners Campaign to Seize the Summer

Sat 3rd June 2017

Cider brand Magners is drawing our attention to the fact that summer will be two days shorter this year! The brand, as a result, is campaign... Read more.

Design Focus: Cocktails & Steaks

Sat 3rd June 2017

Ferocious, cleaver-wielding gang boss Bill “The Butcher” Cutting, played by Daniel Day-Lewis in Hollywood blockbuster Gangs of New York,... Read more.

Glenmorangie Reintroduces Native Oysters to the Dornoch Firth

Fri 2nd June 2017

A ground-breaking environmental project pioneered by Glenmorangie has seen Native European oysters reintroduced to coastal waters around it... Read more.

Summer Drinks

Thu 1st June 2017

Have a wee read of some fun facts about summer and some recommendations for summer drinks. The phrase “dog days of summer”, often used t... Read more.

Design Focus: Maggie Mays

Thu 1st June 2017

Glasgow rock n’ roll institution Maggie Mays has turned up the volume with a £400k makeover commissioned by Oli Norman and Stephen White,... Read more.

Greene King raises £3m for Macmillan Cancer Support

Thu 25th May 2017

Greene King pubs throughout the UK have helped raise £3 million for its charity partner, Macmillan Cancer Support over the past five year... Read more.