Design Focus: Diablo Loco

If you want a bit of cheering up, the newest venue from The Signature Pub Group could be just the thing. Diablo Loco is a bright and cheerful Mexican bar situated where Clerks Bar used to be in Edinburgh’s Clerk Street, but it bears no resemblance whatsoever, despite it only being a nine-day fit-out.

From the outside, the bright colours give this bar standout as do myraid orange lights. Says Louise MacLean of Signature, “We looked at the demographic in this area which is students, but not freshers, and young professionals who have bought their flats, but who have not moved out of town yet. We wanted to appeal to customers who know what they want. But we felt this area actually lacked a fun bar where people could come to have a party. So we went down to London and Leeds and did some research four of us went, and we all contributed what we liked and what we didn’t like.”

She continues, “The idea was to create an authentic Mexican cantina.”

Well I would say that they have definitely succeeded. From the sparkly sombreros to the brightly coloured pinatas hanging from the ceiling, amongst papier-mache hanging giant chilli… it’s certainly not dull.

Says Louise, “The space was good, but it needed livened up. We didn’t want it to be safe. For instance, when the designers first came up with their design, it was a bit too clean. We wanted it to be dirtier and a bit grungier, but pretty at the same time. We wanted to create what I call “dwell time”. We wanted people to feel comfortable here, so we made the banquette seating comfortable with nice cushioned seating with Mexican style fabrics, and even the bar stools look comfortable. We wanted to encourage people to sit at the bar.”

The result is a mix of tweed and brightly coloured fabric. The bar has been designed with 70% drinks, 30% food mix and the cocktails on offer are a bit different. Explains Louise, “Barry, is our resident cocktail guru – he has worked all over the world and he has created some specifically for the bar substituting tequila for some traditional spirits.”

The bar itself has got fake flowers adorning it, crazy neon signs and plenty of colour. The piece de resistance is the bespoke fount . It is made of metal and features ‘Day of the Dead’ inspired tap handles – ie cleavers and such like. It sits behind some authentic Spanish/Mexican style tiles, and the bar front is white washed wood.

The walls generally have been painted with a distressed effect, which is light in colour however there are also some amazing murals – one of which is situated just as you come in on the left. The basement features a scary pair of eyes – within a mural that stretches across the whole wall. Here it feels like more of a late night tequila den, with an Inferno as in Dante… theme.

Louise concludes, “We wanted to create a place where our customers, and our staff, enjoyed hanging out and we do want to make our customers feel special. So we have created a lot of fun things. For instance we have a ‘gun’ shot which is served in a bullet and we also do shotgun roulette! We also have a cash cannon – money pops out and if you get a red dot, you get a prize. Every night we have different things on.”

One thing is for sure, it would be good to go back at night and see it in full swing.

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