Design Feature: The Old Schoolhouse

December 5th, 2018 | Posted in: Editors' Picks

Belhaven Pubs debuted the refurbished Old Schoolhouse on Glasgow’s Woodlands Road last month and in the process of researching this feature, I discovered that one of my colleagues, the evergreen Sylvia, went to school there.

And it turns out that Sylvia’s one of many Glaswegians of a certain age who have terrific affection for this building according to GM Colin Rawson, and it so happened that the building’s history, ditto its surroundings, were significant drivers when it came to the new design. As we chewed the cud Colin told me that the bar hosts many reunions with other alumni that all have a vested interest in this little piece of Glasgow history. “We’ve got a reunion of 40 coming in next week and this is not unusual. These customers are very protective of the building’s history, plus there were a number of planning restrictions that we had to observe, like keeping the original fireplaces where they are, even though the original plan was to reposition one of them more prominently that’s tucked away at the back. There are a few nods to the building’s history in some of the new pictures that we’ve got hanging on the walls,” he explained.

Let’s break down what’s changed at the Old Schoolhouse in design terms. Starting with the outside, there’s new signage and the big glass canopy remains, with the welcome addition of twinkly white Christmas lights. Inside is divided into three areas, the first being all seats and a pool table, leading into the main bar area and a snug at the back. The refurbishment was cosmetic in the main apart from the bar area, and we’ll come to that shortly, plus a sand and polish job for the wooden floor throughout.

The first third of the bar contains a seating area that’s split into a further three parts essentially, with a pool table to the left, high rectangular ‘posing tables’ in the middle and a raised area with tan leather banquette seats that look Chesterfield in design, to the right. This area has benefitted from freshly painted walls, in a kind of gunmetal grey with a green tinge, 70s-style wallpaper, (that looks like the patterned tiles everybody went mad for during this decade) and a collection of pictures letting customers know that if they’re crying into their pint they can get a laugh at The Stand Comedy club next door, including one of The Big Yin. There’s also cream coloured panelling halfway up and lots of pictures. There’s a pool table in this area. There are also high wooden tables and multi-coloured chairs, adding a splash of colour to the design.

The biggest change happened in the bar area, which is where you come to next from the entrance, and which forms the main body of the kirk. The old dark wood bar and back bar has gone to that great big pub in the sky and replaced with an altogether lighter and brighter affair. Its replacement has white ceramic brick tiles, in front of which are wooden shelves, while the fridges are house in two jutty-out bits that look like fireplaces, and which have been clad in light wood panelling that decorates the front of the bar as well. The bar top is a varnished beechwood and is lit by pendant lights with gunmetal grey shades, two of which had to be removed so that they didn’t block the two new 85-inch TVs that replaced the old 65-inch ones, according to Colin. The high tables are also in this area, with stools that have been upholstered in a variety of colourful fabrics that add a second splash of colour to the design. Opposite the bar is a line of tan leather horseshoe booths that are kind of private, being in a recess, and these were here before but have been re-upholstered, and this is where most of the customers chose to sit on the day I visited.

Beyond the bar, right at the back of the building, is a snug area, which has at its heart one of the original fireplaces, which has a wood burner in the hearth, around which has been tiled in those white brick tiles. There are more pictures hanging in this area, plus the same wooden panelling that runs the length of the front of the bar has been used on all the walls in here. There’s also a wall-mounted TV and glass wall lights. The chairs and tables here are a real hotchpotch, with tartan wing-backed chairs and wooden tables and chairs in a variety of colours. In here the pictures document the rules for Victorian teachers and for pupils. There are also framed wooden rulers that may or may not look slightly retro depending on your age.

The new bar is definitely the jewel in the crown of this design, with the rest of what they’ve done being more of a refresh, and I, of course, had to defer to the expert opinion of Sylvia and she gave it a big thumbs-up

Jason Caddy


New gin to help raise funds for Doddie Weir’s MND charity

Mon 18th February 2019

English spirits ­producer 45 West Distillers, which produces Burleighs Gin, is working with ­Scottish rugby ­legend Doddie Weir’s chari... Read more.

Absolut creates new bottle label in support of LGBT+ History Month

Mon 18th February 2019

Absolut vodka has taken ink used in hate signs from around the world to create a new limited edition bottle to celebrate LGBT+ History Month... Read more.

All four Majors live on Sky Sports in a spectacular 2019 beginning with the Masters Tournament in April

Mon 18th February 2019

The drama and emotion of all four Majors will come to life for Sky Sports customers this year as the biggest names in golf hunt down the mos... Read more.

William Grant & Sons announce new Chief People Officer

Thu 14th February 2019

William Grant & Sons has appointed Kerry Christie as its Chief People Officer effective June 2019. Kerry will be based in Scotland and w... Read more.

Andy McCue to step down as The Restaurant Group boss

Thu 14th February 2019

The Restaurant Group, whose brands include Frankie & Benny’s, Wagamama and Chiquito, has announced that chief executive Andy McCue... Read more.

Scotch Whisky exports on the up in 2018

Thu 14th February 2019

Official figures from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have revealed a strong year for Scotch Whisky exports in 2018, with global growth by bot... Read more.

Year-on-year revenue growth of over 300% for Scottish craft gin brand McQueen Gin

Wed 13th February 2019

Stirlingshire-based true craft spirit brand McQueen Gin has announced year-on-year revenue growth figures of over 300%. ... Read more.

BrewDog reveals more details of first US bar outside Ohio

Wed 13th February 2019

Scottish brewer BrewDog has revealed more details of the ‘Doghouse’ bar it will open in Indianapolis, which will be its first US... Read more.

Buzzworks Holdings reports another year of growth

Tue 12th February 2019

Buzzworks Holdings has reported an increase in turn over, up 9 per cent from £14.8m to £16.2m, for 2018.... Read more.

Diageo submits plans for flagship Johnnie Walker visitor attraction in Edinburgh

Tue 12th February 2019

Diageo has announced that plans have been formally submitted for the flagship Johnnie Walker visitor centre in Edinburgh. The Edinburgh attr... Read more.

McGinty’s Group set to serve up £500k bar and restaurant in Aberdeen

Mon 11th February 2019

The McGinty’s Group has lodged plans with Aberdeen City Council to transform the former Esslemont and Macintosh (E&Ms) department stor... Read more.

Beer sales in UK on-trade up, says BBPA Beer Barometer

Mon 11th February 2019

Sales of beer in the on trade increased by 0.1% on full year 2017 sales, according to the latest Beer Barometer sales data from the British ... Read more.

Carlsberg reports full-year UK volume down 3%

Thu 7th February 2019

Carlsberg has reported total volume fell 3% in the UK for the year ending 31 December 2018 in a slightly growing beer market. Of its UK perf... Read more.

SIMS AUTOMATICS: CELEBRATING 50 YEARS AT THE TOP OF ITS GAME

Thu 7th February 2019

It’s not every day that you come across a family-run business that’s celebrating 50 years of successfully supporting and supplying the S... Read more.

KINGSBARN DISTILLERY’S SINGLE MALT TAKES FLIGHT

Wed 6th February 2019

A long-held dream to distill fine single malt whisky in the East Neuk of Fife has become a reality for the founders of Kingsbarns Distillery... Read more.

ORO GIN WINS SILVER AT THE WORLD GIN AWARDS 2019

Wed 6th February 2019

Oro Gin, from the Dumfriesshire-based Oro Gin Distilling Co, picked up the silver title in the London Dry Gin (UK) category at the World Gin... Read more.

New rum for Deeside Distillery

Wed 6th February 2019

A North-East distillery has launched an exciting new venture with the creation of the UK’s first single cask cask-strength ... Read more.

Plans to extend historic Melrose pub given the green light

Wed 6th February 2019

It’s always tricky trying to secure planning permission when a pub’s steeped in history but The King’s Arms in Melrose High Street has... Read more.

LADY LIBERTINE OPENS HER DOORS WITHIN THE EDINBURGH GRAND

Tue 5th February 2019

The Edinburgh Grand has added a further art deco inspired bar and dining experience with the launch of Lady Libertine. Lady Libertine is the... Read more.

Elliots to be renamed Vic’s & The Vine following refurbishment

Tue 5th February 2019

Buzzworks Holdings has closed Elliots bar and restaurant in Prestwick for a refurbishment and rebranding that will be unveiled at Easter. It... Read more.