Design Focus: Epicures of Hyndland

The old saying “If it’s not broke don’t fix it” can be applied to many things in life, but when it comes to the licensed trade, a little change is always good for business, even a business that’s flourishing.

A recent refurbishment of Epicures of Hyndland, owned by Glasgow entrepreneurs Lawrence McManus and Simon Green, has given the popular West End bistro a fresh, inviting new look.

The main changes have predominantly taken place in the main bar, customer toilets and kitchen. A quick two-week refurbishment led by Ranald MacColl, who recently worked on the pair’s latest venture Chelsea Market in Finnieston, aimed to give the venue a softer look and “Mediterranean bistro” feel.

Ranald told DRAM, “Lawrence was looking for a more welcoming, Mediterranean delicatessen/bistro feel that was a little less industrial and minimalist. We changed the colour scheme from an industrial grey to a soft cream to make it more welcoming. The place did feel a little austere before so we wanted to soften it up a bit.”

The bar itself has become a more dominant feature, having been ripped out and refitted. It has a new white granite top and a wood panelling at the front, which is lit by hidden lighting running underneath the bar top. Steel pipe shelving has been added to each corner, giving the bar a more commanding presence, and are filled with wine bottles and hanging Italian dried hams. A stainless steel beer tap sits on the left, serving Heverlee, Menabrea, Tennent’s and Drygate Pilsner.

Ten wood and black metal Toledo stools and backless stools now line the bar to make it more welcoming to customers, particularly in the evenings. The bar is lit by new acorn-shaped lights hanging from the ceiling, which have been recycled from an old post office in Rutherglen.

The back bar has a bit more character thanks to new green and white tiling and the addition of rectangular mirrors, angled downwards to illuminate the vast arrange of spirit bottles stored on the original chunky wooden shelves, which have been extended down to the counter.

A drinks fridge which used to stand in the left corner between the main entrance and bar has been moved to make way for more seating. In its place is a high counter in the same white marble that runs from the window to the bar, lined with more Toledo stools. The original wood panelling on the walls here has been uncovered and re-stained and charred to give it a warmer, more interesting look. On the wall above the counter sit four, wooden frames with wine labels and vineyard branding etched onto wood panels, which are lit from above by metal horizontal wall lamps, giving a nod to Epicure’s impressive wine menu.

The original wood flooring has also been sanded down and re-stained in dark grey again to give it a worn, warmer feel. To increase the number of covers, the old high counters in the street-facing corner of the restaurant have been taken out and replaced by low banquette seating and fixed tables.

All the original banquette seating in the main bar has been re-upholstered, with faux tweed in a black and brown houndstooth check design used on the backs and faux grey leather seats running the length of the benches for added comfort.

New tables and chairs have also been introduced. The table tops are made from reclaimed slabs of pine, stained dark brown and varnished. These have been paired with chunky dark wood chairs and hair pin metal chairs with light wood seats.

Epicures’ interior is split over two levels and in the back mezzanine section all the seating has been given an update and re-upholstered in burgundy faux leather and red and green tartan. Long mirrors have been installed above the banquette seating to create the illusion of more space and light.

The entrance to the disabled toilets at the back of the main bar has been updated too, changing from a plain white exterior to tongue and groove wood panelling painted grey with a crackle glaze effect. The main downstairs customer toilets have also been given a refresh while more practical back of house improvements include a prep area moved from the main bar to the lower level kitchen, which has helped to streamline service.

Epicures’ vast windows are now topped with white horizontal shutters, as Ranald explains, “we wanted to give it that Mediterranean feel and make the place look less austere and bare. We’ve made them a bit bigger than normal to emphasise them and add a bit of theatre.”

There’s no question of Epicures of Hyndland’s enduring popularity and we’re sure its refreshed design will keep on attracting the city’s most epicurious (a person who lives life in the constant pursuit of great food and drink), something Epicures of Hyndland has a solid reputation for.

Category: Features
Tags: Chelsea Market, Epicures of Hyndland, Lawrence McManus, Simon Green