The Tipsy Cow, Airdrie

January 23rd, 2018 | Posted in: Design,Editors' Picks,Features

When business partners Frank Cogan and Martin Mackay of Bozz Co Inns Ltd embarked on their latest venture – The Tipsy Cow in Airdrie, Lanarkshire – they knew exactly what sort of place they wanted it to be.

The aim was to create a space that would not look out of place in Glasgow or Edinburgh, and to present a modern take on the venue’s original incarnation as an iconic Black Bull Inn.

The new name was inspired by American bar names while the new logo – of a bull’s head – is a nod to the building’s history. It was designed by Frank’s son, Paul, 22, who is also the manager.

Martin, 47, says, “We got the keys at the start of November and opened about three weeks later, so what we did was mostly cosmetic really. The original interior was alright but it was very dark and we had a really clear vision of what we wanted to do with it. We threw out a lot of good stuff in the end because it didn’t fit with how we wanted it to look. We wanted a big open space with nice high ceilings and we wanted to hit the coffee market during the day with cake and scones and then flip it into a cocktail bar at night, somewhere you can have a nice meal in the Brasserie, which is aimed at couples, parties of friends, that sort of thing.

We wanted to create a place that you could literally pick up and put in any town or city centre and it would fit in.” Frank, 53, adds, “You get the same values in here as you get in the town in terms of service and so on – you don’t need to go into town for that. We’re already in the middle of a good drinking circuit. Airdrie is one of the best towns in Lanarkshire.”

The pair, who worked at Belhaven together before setting up their own business, are well placed to know. They already have another venue in the town, The Cellar Bar, which is just a stone’s throw from The Tipsy Cow. And they also have The Bell Mill Hotel in Bellshill, The Stewart Inn in Stepps, near Glasgow, and The Foundry in Bathgate.

As soon as you walk into The Tipsy Cow, the overwhelming sense is of an open, light and airy space, with a relaxed feel to it. Large windows along the side of the building flood light into the entire area, while the white brick tiles behind the bar – which has been completely refurbished – bounce it back into the room and give a cool, modern feel.

huge 7ft-wide sash window at the front of the building actually opens right up – and will be a hit with customers in the warmer summer months. The old sandstone and brick walls have been left exposed, and wallpaper around the bar area is printed up to look like distressed Victorian-style tiles. The ceiling is painted in grey and a light sage green, while the floor is wooden – all very easy-going, natural colours and tones. Five glass lights suspended above the bar keep it light and bright, while a series of old wooden vegetable boxes turned sideways and stacked on the wall behind for wine bottles contrast brilliantly with the crisp, modern look of the glass shelves on which the spirits are stored.

The bar is topped with slate recycled from snooker tables and the front of it is panelled in wood. Again, echoing the wallpaper’s theme, large vintage-style tiles have been used on the floor around the bar. 

The bar stools and chairs are upholstered in distressed brown leather, while the banquette seating at the tables is in a darker brown. Bar stools at the window are in copper and topped with lustrous dark wooden seats, while there are lower-height stools in polished copper.

 

An eye-catching ‘FOOD’ sign on the wall at the main window was inspired by similar items on Pinterest – and created using a bike from a charity in Glasgow that recycles old models. Moving through to the Brasserie at the rear of the venue, the tone of the decor changes subtly – the space has a more sophisticated feel.

Again, this is very much in keeping with the dining menu, which includes mains like venison and haggis Wellington with wild mushroom skirlie and port jus and roast monkfish with ginger ribbon vegetables. There is banquette seating on either side of the dining area, with small tables set for two to four people as well as wooden topped round tables which seat up to six, for larger groups. The colour palette is subtle – with slate tiles on the floor, and chairs upholstered in a mix of brown, teal and light lime green. On the walls, exposed brickwork gives way to flock wallpaper in taupe and blue, etched with fabulous peacocks and butterflies.

Several paintings by renowned McCoo artist Steven Brown hang on the walls and an original Victorian fireplace sits in the corner of the room as an additional feature – although it is no longer in use. Much of the inspiration for the look of the venue came from Pinterest, but Martin and Frank also worked closely with Stephen Paterson of Burns Interior Design in Glasgow to make sure they got the £70,000 refurbishment just right.

Martin says, “This is a completely different offering to The Cellar Bar. Airdrie has a lot of other good offerings already and there is no point doing the same as them – we wanted to do something a wee tiny bit different. We told Stephen the idea we were looking for, he came back with some suggestions and we picked out what we wanted. We were very specific with what we wanted done – so it wasn’t as though we came in and changed our minds about things.

The name was inspired by bar names in America – I was Googling them at the time – and it felt right as it retains a touch of the original while bringing things a bit more up to date at the same time. We are really pleased with the look of the venue, the general ambience. You could come in here and sit with your sister, your husband, have breakfast or a piece of cake, or meet up with friends and their kids – and that’s exactly the kind of market we were looking for.”

They currently have around 70 covers in total, with 36 in the Brasserie and another 34 in the cafe bar area.

Much of the furniture came from Andy Thornton in Leeds, the crockery, cutlery and sundries came from Colbrook Supplies Direct in Chapelhall, while local firm A Hardie Signs, of Airdrie, did all the signage. When it comes to suppliers of food and drink, Frank and Martin are happy to look to further afield – with meat from Rodgers of Partick and fruit and vegetables from Premier Produce at Glasgow Fruit & Vegetable Market. 

Frank explains, “Suppliers that you would find supplying to people in the West End of Glasgow, you’ll find supplying us here too. All those comparisons that are made with the town, we tick all of those boxes – wine selections, cocktails, ambience.” 

Tennents supply all their drinks, from beer through to wine and spirits. Frank also has plans to expand their own grocery line – they already sell a Tipsy Cow signature ground coffee blend which is proving popular – but he is also focused on making sure they get everything just right.

He explains, “Once you open the doors, you find that you have to correct certain areas – ones that you thought would appeal to the clientele maybe don’t as much, so you have to change things up again. The feedback has been tremendous so far – we’ve had great reviews, which is fantastic and we are really pleased with it ourselves.” 


Restaurant boss forced to defend hygiene standards

Wed 19th September 2018

Sukdev ‘Cook’ Gill, co-owner of Cook & Indi’s World Buffet in Motherwell, was forced to defend the restaurant’s... Read more.

Star takes wine support to a new level

Mon 17th September 2018

Star Pubs & Bars has appointed a dedicated wine category buyer. A former wine buyer at Tesco, Roberta Neave’s remit is to increase the... Read more.

BELHAVEN BREWERY SCOOPS FOUR AWARDS

Mon 17th September 2018

Belhaven Brewery has won four awards at the 2018 World Beer Awards. Scotland’s oldest brewery which is set to mark its 300th birthday in 2... Read more.

Happy 50th Anniversary Connoisseurs Choice

Mon 17th September 2018

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of its ‘Connoisseurs Choice’ range, family-owned whisky creator Gordon & MacPhail has enhanced the... Read more.

REDCASTLE SPIRITS BRING RUM BACK TO ANGUS

Mon 17th September 2018

Redcastle Spirits has announced the pending launch of a Spiced Rum. The Angus-based firm has just created its Scottish & Caribbean Spice... Read more.

STUDENT DEAL FOR MOLSON COORS

Mon 17th September 2018

Brewer Molson Coors has won a new four year solus beer and cider supply deal with the student union purchasing consortium, Northern Services... Read more.

Sue Says

Mon 17th September 2018

Straight talking from our publisher…   It’s certainly been a full on four weeks – but you know me, I love being busy. It was ... Read more.

Design Focus: Nauticus, Edinburgh

Mon 17th September 2018

NAUTICUS 142 Duke Street, Edinburgh EH6 8HR Once upon a time there were three guys with one big dream: to open a bar in Leith that captured ... Read more.

Dip your toe into The Wine Spa

Mon 17th September 2018

The Wine Spa on Broughty Ferry’s Fort Street is the town’s smallest bar, according to licensee John Black. But, according to John, who a... Read more.

WALKABOUT BOOMERANGS BACK AFTER £1M REFURBISHMENT

Mon 17th September 2018

Glasgow’s Walkabout, on Renfield Street, has reopened following a million pound refurbishment over both floors. John Paul McMillan, Deputy... Read more.

Whyte & Mackay and Proximo create joint on-trade team

Fri 14th September 2018

Whyte & Mackay and Proximo Spirits have created a joint On Trade sales team. The combined portfolio now extends across the spectrum of p... Read more.

Buzzworks acquire Linlithgow site

Thu 13th September 2018

The sun rises in the east and Buzzworks Holdings is also on the rise in the east of Scotland after confirming the purchase of The Bridge Inn... Read more.

A Space Apart: Interview with SWG3’s Andrew Fleming-Brown and Meryl Gilbert

Thu 13th September 2018

ANDREW FLEMING-BROWN (AKA MUTLEY), 40, IS DIRECTOR OF GLASGOW’S SWG3. MERYL GILBERT, 32, IS PART OF THE SENIOR MANAGEMENT TEAM. JASON CADD... Read more.

Sturgeon outlines plans to reform Scottish business rates system

Tue 11th September 2018

First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has just launched her Programme for Government 2018-19, underlining the Scottish Government’s ambitio... Read more.

JOIN THE EVOLUTION REVOLUTION

Tue 11th September 2018

Seventy-three years may seem like a lifetime…is a life time – our lifetime. Founded the year WWII ended, we have existed through some of... Read more.

INTRODUCING THE MACALLAN MASTERS OF PHOTOGRAPHY

Mon 10th September 2018

The Macallan has unveiled its next Masters of Photography edition in collaboration with Magnum Photos. Marking the seventh limited edition r... Read more.

Coca Cola buy Costa to adapt to changing tastes as sugary drinks sales slump

Mon 3rd September 2018

Coca-Cola is to buy the Costa coffee chain from owner Whitbread in a deal worth £3.9bn. Whitbread bought Costa,  the UK’s biggest c... Read more.

The Spiritualist brings new vibes to Aberdeen

Fri 31st August 2018

Signature Pubs, the group behind Copper Blossom in Edinburgh and Church on the Hill in Glasgow, has opened The Spiritualist at 67 Langstane ... Read more.

New Scotts Restaurant Takes Shape

Wed 29th August 2018

Buzzworks’ Scotts bar and restaurant at Port Edgar Marina in South Queensferry is near to completion. The venue is Buzzworks Holdings... Read more.

DOUGLAS LAING ANNOUNCE NAME OF NEW GLASGOW DISTILLERY AND WHISKY

Tue 28th August 2018

Douglas Laing & Co’s new Distillery in Glasgow is to be named the ‘Clutha Distillery’. ‘Clutha’, meaning Clyde in Gaelic, ... Read more.