Design Focus: Drum & Monkey

December 8th, 2017 | Posted in: Design,Editors' Picks,Features

The problem with refurbishing a classic pub like Glasgow’s Drum and Monkey is, how do you keep its charm but bring it up to date and give it a contemporary feel? The pub, which comes under Mitchells & Butler’s Nicolson’s pub brand banner, has been a popular institution in the city centre since it opened in the mid-90’s, but with the quality of the competition nearby, it certainly needed a refresh. And that’s exactly what Pacific Building, the project contractors, have done.

The charm of the old bank building has been retained, its architectural features have been brought back to life, and the pub has been given a more spacious and airy feel. The first thing that is apparent when you walk in is that the entrance appears larger. This is because it used to have two raised areas – one on the left and a large raised area on the right – that tended to cause a bottleneck. But now the one on the right has been removed and the floor levelled and the balustrade on the left has been moved, with the stairs to the area being moved to just beside the door.

Says Manager Bryan Murrin, “When you came into the bar there was a real pinch point. And some people came in and would walk out again because they thought it was too busy.”

Now, the area to the right has a few posing tables and a tank beer installation from Innis & Gunn. In fact, Bryan tells me they call this spot the ‘Innis and Gunn area’, because at least one of the posing tables features all the components that go into making beer – hops and malts – under the glass top of the table! To date, the beer has gone down a storm with the pub getting through a tank over a weekend.

The bar here has also been changed and customers can now get served at it. Bryan explains, “The bar is exactly the same shape [it’s a magnificent island bar] but we used to have the glass washers situated behind a partition, which meant we didn’t serve from the right. Now we can. In fact, we have been able to add another nine pumps and two ale pumps and an extra till. We now have three tills which means we are not queuing to use them and therefore we are generating more cash. We’ve also got a new back bar and bar top, and all the wood has been french polished, which has improved the bar area itself.”

One of the other key changes is that there is now a hard wooden floor, supplied and fitted by GL Flooring, which extends throughout the main bar area and through into the snug, which also makes the pub look larger and brighter.

Says Bryan, “The snug used to be carpeted and was used as a restaurant. The pub could be full but people wouldn’t go into that area, even for a drink. Now we have taken away the carpet, we have redecorated and made the area look a lot brighter and we have polished up the wood and added more colourful bric-a-brac. We also no longer do table service through there. It’s now an extension of the bar.”

The massive fireplace has also been cleaned up, and by removing the former high posing tables and putting in tables that you can sit and dine at, the whole area has been opened up and the fireplace is much more noticeable. Mind you, it is absolutely massive so it is hard to miss!

Says Bryan, “We considered making it a working fire, but it was going to be very expensive. So we have cleaned it up and we have put candles in.”

The stairs have also been moved away from the fire area which now allows people to sit comfortably beside it, without being jostled.

The pub’s features date back to the origins of the 20th-century building, and were restored by Pacific. The ornate ceiling cornicing was refreshed, the oak panelling was french polished and the marble columns were cleaned. All the chandeliers have been replaced throughout and the ceiling, formerly dark red, was painted cream with details brought out in gold. New tables, leather chairs have been brought in and new tartan carpets have been laid in the raised areas.

The total spend was in the region of £300K but Bryan says there are still a few things to do – like introduce some new lamps and change some of the tables that he feels are too light in colour to darker ones.

Bryan adds, “People were worried when we said we were refurbishing. They said ‘don’t touch the bar!’ We did consider putting in a flat bar because we could have fitted in more tables. But at the end of the day, when it comes to working and talking to people the bar, we have worked really well and a flat bar would have meant we were the same as everywhere else. People actually like standing at our bar.”

It’s not just the bar that has been totally refreshed, the menu has too. Now the Drum & Monkey is garnering a reputation for great pies and Sunday Roast is on the menu. Says Bryan, “We’ve been really busy since we re-opened, and the feedback has been incredibly positive.”

I’m not surprised. Pacific Building has managed to retain the character for which the Drum & Monkey is famous while at the same time portraying a fresh new appearance. This tired old lady is back with a vengeance.


BRITISH BREWING PLATFORM BREWBROKER SET TO EXPAND INTO AMERICA FOLLOWING £400K INVESTMENT

Mon 25th March 2019

BrewBroker, the brewing industry’s peer-to-peer marketplace, is set to launch its platform in America. Well established in the UK, Bre... Read more.

AB InBev unveils Budweiser Brewing Group as new UK name

Mon 25th March 2019

Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I is the new name for AB InBev in the UK. the company also has a new President, Paula Lindenberg. T... Read more.

Dundee’s V&A helps boost visitor numbers to other attractions

Fri 22nd March 2019

Dundee’s V&A has helped boost visitor numbers at nearby attractions by up to 40%, says new research. In its first three months 341,265... Read more.

Scottish economic growth to remain ahead of the UK average in 2019

Fri 22nd March 2019

Scotland’s economic growth will slow this year but remain ahead of the UK average according to UK Economic Outlook report by Pricewate... Read more.

YO! Sushi to consolidate restaurant estate

Thu 21st March 2019

YO! Sushi has placed six UK sites on the market, including two in Scotland, as it looks to consolidate its restaurant estate.  The group ... Read more.

Greene King celebrates Flanders Fields fundraiser

Thu 21st March 2019

 Greene King has launched a special edition beer, Flanders Fields, brewed to mark the centennial anniversary of the end of the First World ... Read more.

The Highland Whisky Festival 2019

Thu 21st March 2019

Eight Highland Distilleries are introducing a brand-new Whisky Festival to celebrate the established Highland Whisky Trail. The Highlan... Read more.

PPL’s new SFE tariff to ‘cost sector £49m’

Wed 20th March 2019

Trade bodies have warned that music licensing company PPL’s new specially featured entertainment (SFE) tariff, which comes into effect on ... Read more.

Ivy Collection appoints new CFO

Wed 20th March 2019

The Ivy Collection, which will open its second Scottish restaurant in Glasgow on Buchanan Street in June after opening The Ivy on the Squa... Read more.

Bruce Taverns plan expansion and launch £20 million fundraiser

Wed 20th March 2019

Bruce Taverns is to raise £20 million to fund a growth programme through acquisitions. The Edinburgh-based pub company, ... Read more.

NEW DIRECTOR OF STRATEGY AND COMMUNICATIONS FOR SWA

Tue 19th March 2019

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has confirmed the internal promotion of Graeme Littlejohn to the position of Director of Strategy and Co... Read more.

Johnnie Walker to build ‘best bar in the world’ in Edinburgh

Tue 19th March 2019

 Johnnie Walker has promised to create the “best bar in the world” in the “best brand attraction in the world” overlookin... Read more.

Borthwick Castle’s Kieran Rose is Scotland’s Tourism and Hospitality Hero

Tue 19th March 2019

Kieran Rose, Front of House Manager at Borthwick Castle, in Midlothian, has been namedScotland’s Tourism and Hospitality Hero at the 2018/... Read more.

Orry Shand named Chef of the Year at ScotHot

Mon 18th March 2019

Orry Shand, of Entier, won Scottish Chef of the Year at this year’s ScotHot at Glasgow’s SECC, sponsored by Brakes Sco... Read more.

Average spend on late-night out increases 15.5% to almost £70

Mon 18th March 2019

The average spend on a late-night out has increased 15.5% to £68.68, according to the latest Deltic Night Index, compared with £59.49 for ... Read more.

Scottish chefs set out vision to reform hospitality industry 

Thu 14th March 2019

More than 60 chefs and cooks from across Scotland have pledged their support to a new culinary manifesto, which aims to reform Scotland’s ... Read more.

SCALA boss welcomes Brexit delay

Thu 14th March 2019

Theresa May will make a third attempt to get her EU withdrawal deal through Parliament in the next week after MPS voted to reject a no-deal ... Read more.

Historic Auchtermuchty pub on the market

Wed 13th March 2019

The Forest Inn in Auchtermuchty is now on the market with offers invited for the three-storey property. Christie’s and Co in Edinburgh is ... Read more.

Hotfoot it to ScotHot

Wed 13th March 2019

Which licensee worth his or her salt isn’t looking for an opportunity to meet with suppliers, network with others to share ideas and i... Read more.

BUZZWORKS RETAINS ITS PLACE ALONGSIDE THE BEST IN UK 

Tue 12th March 2019

Buzzworks Holdings has been named in The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work for in the UK for the fourth consecutive year. It recognise... Read more.