Design Focus: Cul Cuil

Cuil, meaning ‘back court’ in Gaelic’, is the name of a new bar from owners Church Yard Glasgow Ltd, and it’s like it’s been exorcised of all the ghosts of its former existence and reincarnated by this redesign.

The name Cul Cuil refers to the fact this hidden gem, or not so hidden the new owners hope, outdoor area, which forms one third of the entire bar’s area. In fact, the bar’s slogan that’s dotted about the place, is ‘Come in, go out ‘. Said a spokesman, “Someone said that we missed a trick with the name, that we should have been more explicit by putting the word ‘garden’ in it, but the clue’s in the name as well as the slogan of course.”

He continued, “In terms of the design we had a ten-day turnaround and we’ve actually documented it on Facebook using time-lapse photography to the song ‘Rip it up and Start Again’. It all came together really well and we’ve had such positive feedback on the design so far. It’s appealing particularly well to the office crowd.”

The inside bar area has been painted in neutral creams, lit by a mixture of countersunk ceiling spots and pendant glass globe lighting, and those ever so popular exposed filament lights. In the centre of the space are some church pews encased in an oak pen, which also provides shelves for customers to rest their drinks on, and there are also some stools around it.

Other design highlights include a metal stag’s head on the wall between the toilets, on the opposite wall from the bar. Along the same wall, in the other corner, near the wall of window doors leading out onto the street, is a blue leather banquette, in front of which are wooden topped tables with wrought iron bases and metal chairs with similar blue leather upholstered seats.

The bar itself is another design highlight, despite being fairly simplistic in its design. The bar-top is mahogany, with some lovely, handmade blue and white tiles clad on the bar-front and lit by a light tucked in the lip of the bar. There’s also a metal shelf at the far end of the bar that houses wine bottles and glasses. Above the bar are those pendant lights with the glass ‘fish-bowl’ shades that we mentioned earlier. The back-bar has a golden back drop to the metal shelves. The light wooden floors have been cleaned up and are set off by clean lighting.

The bar’s food offering is dictated by the compromised kitchen space, so it’s essentially small, but tasty, bites that are on offer to customers.

The Private Dining Room is on the way out to the outside area, made up from a long, narrow space, which is really lovely. It’s exposed stone with a glass roof. There’s another church pew running along the far exposed brick wall, greenery, with little metal flower holders from which the plants spring. There are two glass doors through which this area is accessed via the bar, one of which will be exclusively for the PDR once a heavy curtain is going to be used to cordon the area off so that the outdoor area can be accessed without overlooking the PDR guests.

Then we come to what is the most transformed area. They’ve done such a fantastic job of the outside area in what is a gem of a courtyard that was vastly underused in its previous incarnations. Once out into the PDR, you tale a sharp left and this brings you put on a balcony area has a big chunky wooden table, while all along the back wall is greenery and a lighting rig. The plan is for this area to be canopied eventually. There’s also a very pretty lighting rig here that took five days to build because the stonework presented challenges.

Down the stairs into the well of the courtyard, which now have a canopy that’s supported by scaffolding poles that act like with what looks like ivy growing up them. The big wrought iron mirrors on the wall next to the stairs are quite Game of Thrones-esque.

Once in the well, are more rows of the big chunky picnic bench table seating. At the far end of this totally enclosed courtyard is some enclosed decking in light treated wood that matches the chunky tables on which is a bench seat around it perimeter with chairs and tables. It looks a bit like a little stage.

This area’s also made more interesting by the string of lights, and the fact that this is a non-smoking area also makes it feel a bit outside-inside, which is also greatly helped by the amount of heaters.

But the absolute highlight of this space has to be the greenery. Continued the spokesperson, “These plants are real and we have pre-planted 450 bulbs. In terms of the overall budget, the garden spend has been remarkably little, yet it has had a phenomenal impact. We also have two cherry blossoms that are looking a bit sorry for themselves but there’ll be a big hit in April!”

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