Design Feature: The Old Schoolhouse

December 5th, 2018 | Posted in: Editors' Picks

Belhaven Pubs debuted the refurbished Old Schoolhouse on Glasgow’s Woodlands Road last month and in the process of researching this feature, I discovered that one of my colleagues, the evergreen Sylvia, went to school there.

And it turns out that Sylvia’s one of many Glaswegians of a certain age who have terrific affection for this building according to GM Colin Rawson, and it so happened that the building’s history, ditto its surroundings, were significant drivers when it came to the new design. As we chewed the cud Colin told me that the bar hosts many reunions with other alumni that all have a vested interest in this little piece of Glasgow history. “We’ve got a reunion of 40 coming in next week and this is not unusual. These customers are very protective of the building’s history, plus there were a number of planning restrictions that we had to observe, like keeping the original fireplaces where they are, even though the original plan was to reposition one of them more prominently that’s tucked away at the back. There are a few nods to the building’s history in some of the new pictures that we’ve got hanging on the walls,” he explained.

Let’s break down what’s changed at the Old Schoolhouse in design terms. Starting with the outside, there’s new signage and the big glass canopy remains, with the welcome addition of twinkly white Christmas lights. Inside is divided into three areas, the first being all seats and a pool table, leading into the main bar area and a snug at the back. The refurbishment was cosmetic in the main apart from the bar area, and we’ll come to that shortly, plus a sand and polish job for the wooden floor throughout.

The first third of the bar contains a seating area that’s split into a further three parts essentially, with a pool table to the left, high rectangular ‘posing tables’ in the middle and a raised area with tan leather banquette seats that look Chesterfield in design, to the right. This area has benefitted from freshly painted walls, in a kind of gunmetal grey with a green tinge, 70s-style wallpaper, (that looks like the patterned tiles everybody went mad for during this decade) and a collection of pictures letting customers know that if they’re crying into their pint they can get a laugh at The Stand Comedy club next door, including one of The Big Yin. There’s also cream coloured panelling halfway up and lots of pictures. There’s a pool table in this area. There are also high wooden tables and multi-coloured chairs, adding a splash of colour to the design.

The biggest change happened in the bar area, which is where you come to next from the entrance, and which forms the main body of the kirk. The old dark wood bar and back bar has gone to that great big pub in the sky and replaced with an altogether lighter and brighter affair. Its replacement has white ceramic brick tiles, in front of which are wooden shelves, while the fridges are house in two jutty-out bits that look like fireplaces, and which have been clad in light wood panelling that decorates the front of the bar as well. The bar top is a varnished beechwood and is lit by pendant lights with gunmetal grey shades, two of which had to be removed so that they didn’t block the two new 85-inch TVs that replaced the old 65-inch ones, according to Colin. The high tables are also in this area, with stools that have been upholstered in a variety of colourful fabrics that add a second splash of colour to the design. Opposite the bar is a line of tan leather horseshoe booths that are kind of private, being in a recess, and these were here before but have been re-upholstered, and this is where most of the customers chose to sit on the day I visited.

Beyond the bar, right at the back of the building, is a snug area, which has at its heart one of the original fireplaces, which has a wood burner in the hearth, around which has been tiled in those white brick tiles. There are more pictures hanging in this area, plus the same wooden panelling that runs the length of the front of the bar has been used on all the walls in here. There’s also a wall-mounted TV and glass wall lights. The chairs and tables here are a real hotchpotch, with tartan wing-backed chairs and wooden tables and chairs in a variety of colours. In here the pictures document the rules for Victorian teachers and for pupils. There are also framed wooden rulers that may or may not look slightly retro depending on your age.

The new bar is definitely the jewel in the crown of this design, with the rest of what they’ve done being more of a refresh, and I, of course, had to defer to the expert opinion of Sylvia and she gave it a big thumbs-up

Jason Caddy


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.

Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival returns for 2019 with foodie focus

Tue 12th March 2019

Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival returns to the city this May, from Friday 24 – Saturday 25 May, with a special foodie focus. It’s... Read more.

SCOTTISH LICENSEES RECOGNISED AT STAR AWARDS

Mon 11th March 2019

The achievements of top Scottish licensees were celebrated at Star Pubs & Bars’ annual Star Awards. The awards were the biggest ever h... Read more.