The zest that brothers Rahul and Pravesh (Bubbles) Randev have for their business has translated once again into another welcome addition to their burgeoning portfolio that includes The Eagle Lodge in Bishopbriggs and Lenzie’s Rasoi. The £1M Richmond, on the site of the former Bar Bola on Glasgow’s Park Road, is nothing short of immaculate. A stunning design by Ian Macleod of Magna Design has been enhanced by a high end outfit by Dimension Shopfitting. It opened last month.
For those of you who may not be familiar with the unit, it’s landlocked, but with a view to the back of the Kelvin River. It’s over two floors, ground and basement, although it’s really only the ground floor that’s customer facing, as the basement houses the kitchens and the toilets. In its Bar Bola days the bar was along the far left hand-side wall with a wide and fairly steep staircase down to the toilets. Wrought iron work and light wood dominated.
The Randev refurbishment has obliterated any trace of its previous existence.
Typically the brothers remained immensely hands-on throughout the entire process and brought to bear their own highly specific ideas, as Bubbles explains, “Firstly, we wanted to create an interior with standout. There are lots of great bars in the vicinity like Stravaigin, The Left Bank and DRAM! We wanted to bring something new to the table, and I think that we’ve managed this at The Richmond with its 1920s look, in fact the inspiration for the name came from an old Glasgow cinema of the same name that dates back to that era.”
So how does the finished result look? From the black mosaic tiled frontage and the simple white signage, you’re into a vestibule with an ‘R’ embedded into more mosaic tiles, this time on the floor. Once inside, I’m sure that you’d be as struck as I was on the interior which has at its heart the beautiful centrepiece bar. It’s a beautifully constructed glass and wood structure that allows the generous amount of natural light at the front to stream to all corners of the bar, and this is all contrasted by a clean white bar top and slatted bar front. The back of the bar is mainly glass which allows anyone looking at the bar from behind a view of the neatly arranged wine bottles, and saves what could have potentially become a bit of a dead area.
The staircase has now been moved to the far right hand-side and walled off.
Directly to the front of the bar as you enter are some circular tables, and in parallel with these are square tables and chairs in the niches of the windows. To the far side of the bar is a long high top posing table which leads into the darker back area with views through the tall, slim windows over the River Kelvin. This area is also populated with the circular tables and comfy low slung upholstered seating.
Further round again, the nearside of the bar is a corner banquette with its own private long tall window on the river. The exposed brick wall behind it has been enhanced by the use of up-lighting and wooden compartments – and this is perhaps my favourite corner of The Richmond.
All the table tops have a mosaic/chessboard finish and the bucket seating is low slug with the accent firmly on style and comfort.
Presiding over the lot is an extraordinary full timbre ceiling with a panelled medieval look to it, and strung around its perimeter, a chain of lights that, according to assistant manager Lorna Keenan, are attracting the majority of comments from customers so far. Bubbles is also a big fan. “The lights look great, and the bulbs with the exposed filaments on the old chord is exactly what we envisaged. Lighting is always a big talking point.”
The tiled mosaic floor is clean and white, and contrasts fantastically well with the exposed stone walls, wooden panels and the large clusters of sophisticated looking mirrors that give the space, which isn’t the most expansive, an airier feel. And these little touches prevent the old fashioned interior from descending into fustiness – there’s nothing staid about The Richmond at all.
The basement houses the toilets and it’s quite a trek down to them, made all the more pleasurable by a gun metal grey colour scheme and lighting with an oblong of exposed brick work halfway down. The toilets themselves are gender-specific individual cubicles, all self-contained, and all stylishly fashioned from exposed brick and grey panelling against the white porcelain.
Based on the design alone The Richmond should fit right into and enhance a part of the West End that’s already rich in outlets that are known for excellent quality and operational standards.