Cirque is the new £500k outfit from Hyde Leisure, the company behind Independent, the bar next door to the new club on Glasgow’s Queen Street. Operations Manager, Mark Loney, showed me around the two-storey space, formerly Yang, shortly before the official opening last year. It spans a ground floor and basement, containing three main areas, and a VIP Room.
He said, “This is our first major investment after Independent, and it has taken six months to complete, as it lay derelict for about four years. The ground floor looked like the Marie Celeste – there were empty beer bottles lying all around the place, and pint glasses left where the final customers were sitting. Down in the basement, there was about four feet of water so that took a lot more work, and we had to renew practically everything down there.”
As the name suggests, the design is based around a circus theme, and the company enlisted the help of Glasgow-born designer Angela Mulvey, who’s now based in LA, but she agreed to take on the project on a trip home last year. Said Mark, “I’d say that Angela came up with 90% of the concept from a brief that stated that we were planning on a lot of performance acts working in the club, and so this was reflected in the nods to the circus. And the dominant colour scheme as you’d probably expect, is red, gold and black.”
The main Queen Street entrance takes you into the first area, complete with sizable bar, dance floor and some booths for larger parties, underneath a mural. Let’s begin with the bar, which has a black bar top, an ornate gantry in a kind of silver honeycomb idea, gold shiny frontage and some interesting spiral pendent lighting. Bird cages suspended above the bar contain bottles of champagne, and there’s a naked mannequin at one end of the bar, painted white. There are also patches of red on the walls either side of the bar.
Opposite the bar is wall-mounted bench seating and table, with the seats upholstered in a shiny gold material that have been countersunk into the wall. The gold theme continued in the booths that are situated further into the space, below the mural. The dance floor is surrounded by mirrored walls, and the DJ booth is segued off using some illuminated bars. The highlight of this area has to be the mural which depicts everything from a spaceman, a DJ with an iguana’s head and a clown or two. The circus theme is continued in around the wall lighting with hoola hoops adapted to frame the wall lights.
Off this area also is an opulent little room with two big red couches, a marquee style ceiling decoration and lighting, plus another mannequin in the corner with a lampshade on its head. There’s also some patterned shiny gold and black wallpaper, and shiny gold cushions. This area can be hired, and there will be table service throughout the venue.
The stairs down to the basement level are lit by an enormous chandelier, and the wall covering depicts a red theatre curtain, which looks quite realistic. There are gold shiny scales attached to the wall also, above the curtain-effect wallpaper which will eventually billow and shimmer downwind of a fan. The halfway landing floor has looks like a ‘Connect 4’ game, with the holes lit from underneath in red.
Then you’re in the basement space which has its own bar, leading into a sunken well dance floor. There are smaller booths in this area, partitioned off with silver beaded curtains, and the seating here is black. Further in and round a corner and you’re into the bar area, which is incredibly striking on account of the LED lights. The design is fairly simple with white Perspex and black shelving along the back bar, opposite this is a Venetian blind type of affair in white, which is also made more of by the LED lighting. Further on still is the sunken dance floor, which is all quite dark, apart from the graffiti, which includes a big jester’s face. It’s all overlooked by a DJ box.
At the other end of the bar there’s a curtained entrance leading into the VIP area via a red carpet photo opportunity area. This area has an amazing wall of crystal-encrusted skulls that used to be telephones. But they were stuck together in rows, and the overall effect is quite something. The black booths are again quite spacious, and there are some smaller chandeliers in here, as well as a VIP area, within a VIP area, that is perhaps reserved for VIVIPs. The bar is more of hatch with a large mirror hanging on the back wall, and again this benefits from the old LEDs. One of the walls contains a painted picture of burlesque performer Dita Von Teese, and a personal signed endorsement wishing the venue the best of luck. I’m sure that Peter Latta and Chris Sharpe of Hyde Leisure won’t need any luck, and on the strength of the design at least, the customers will roll up, and roll up.