Inn Deep, which is situated right beside the River Kelvin in Glasgow’s West End, is a real labour of love for managers Amy Williams, Hamish Loutitt and Sandy McMillan – who have all been there since the bar’s inception as a Williams Bros affiliated pub. It celebrated its fifth birthday in September, and at almost the same time, it unveiled the results of nine months labour – their new baby is the newly designed and much enlarged bar.
Says Amy, “It’s been a long hard project but I’m delighted to say, that except for some new furniture and bits and pieces, we just about finished. But it was not easy. We were a victim of our own success and needed more space, more tables, more space for more dogs and more beer. But it took a while particularly because it was an old building. Just lets say it was interesting! However we didn’t close. We called it ‘a living art piece’, everyone was part of it, and our customers saw it all happen as they had a pint. They were very patient, our staff were too.”
She continues, “I learned more than I ever thought I would learn by being a manager. I became a , trainee plumber, electrician, interior designer, the lot.. we all did. In fact, we did a lot of the work ourselves. Initially the three of us put our ideas together and my dad put his ideas forward too – he’s quite creative!”
Now, Inn Deep encompasses three railway arches and it is certainly not your average bar space. Amy explains, “Originally, we had one internal arch and one external arch. Now, we have two internal arches, one external and one hidden arch. This is our cellar space but really it is only a half size arch.”
“The space where the original bar is, is now a new arch with seating called Arch 1. The bar is now located in the former outdoor arch, which meant new foundations, plumbing – the lot. And the third arch has now been transformed into an outside arch with seating and heating!”
Amy continues, “We stripped the bar back to its bones, and then developed the two railway arches.”
The stonework on the arches has all been cleaned and coated, and as many leaks as possible have been fixed. Says Amy, “Most of them have been sorted, but there are still wee ones – you have to expect that in an old building. The drainage was also a nightmare and we discovered after taking up the old terracotta tiles that we were subsiding – that was another setback we had to overcome.”
The re-design, and creation of a bar area, has allowed them to double the number of fridges they have and they have doubled their guest taps – including the guest taps, they now they have nineteen taps in total. The amount of house beers have also doubled. Says Amy, “We’ve put Birds and Bees in as our house beer, and we also have Augusta. We still have our three cask beer lines as well.”
The new look also includes a new kitchen – it has more than doubled in size having taken over the space that was the former gents toilets. New bathrooms, of course, have been created, and there is now a disabled one too. There is also a generous area between the two arches which creates more space for people to sit in.
The new bar area which stretches the length of the arch boasts a new bar – which is lined with stripped back ‘pit prop’. Amy comments, “My dad found these pallets of pit props, and he gave them to the designers and he stripped them back, and also used them to create the seating in the main bar area.”
The seating here stretches along the wall – high fixed seating style benches. The tables here are thin and at standing height. Explains Amy, “Before, when we had seating on both sides, there was a bit of a bottleneck when we were busy. So we have optimised the space here by taking the other seats away to encourage people to stand and drink and chat. New wall lashers also give off a nice purple colour.”
Another reason for developing the internal arches was the fact that, although Inn Deep is renowned for its outside space, just beside the River Kelvin, come the winter it’s USP wasn’t nearly as an attractive proposition. However now, it is much cosier inside and outside too.
The new outside arch has plenty of seating and all the tables have heaters which hang above them. There is also a fun mural on the back wall which features a wee dog looking through a porthole.
The trio have also introduced new technology to the bar. On the wall they have an ‘Untapped’ screen. Amy explains, “Now, instead of having chalk boards, we have a live and interactive app. Customers can now log in and see what we have on on our guest lines and our forever changing lines, which we are always updating. Its live and interactive and customers can rate the beers they try.”
Amy likens Inn Deep to the American black comedy sitcom ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia‘ although she adds it is a more successful one. In the original film, several friends own a neighbourhood bar and try to find their way in the world of work and relationships. Says Amy, “I think we are just like that… and my dad would definitely be Danny Devito!”
If that’s the case, I look forward to the next instalment!