Design focus: Jax Bar-Eatery

The 80s revival shows no signs of hanging up its legwarmers if the design of Jax Bar-Eatery in Glasgow’s Princes Square is any gauge. Think Tom Cruise in the film ‘Cocktail’. Gin and whisky distiller Eden Mill is the brains behind it, and right next door to the new eatery, Eden Mill has also opened a gin shop and their Blendworks gin making classes. These will offer customers the chance to learn about the history of gin before creating their own unique flavours.

This project marks the distiller’s first foray out with St. Andrews, and Paul Miller, director at Eden Mill, said, “We are delighted that our second Eden Mill venue will be at Princes Square and we are confident that its quality and fun delivery will add to the exciting range of bespoke experiences visitors can enjoy.”

The Blendworks experience sees Eden Mill’s tutors lift the curtain on the gin making process and gives visitors the chance to create their very own gin by choosing their own ingredients and determining their own flavour profile.

Both are located in the basement area of Princes Square in a space that’s arguably most synonymous with Buzzy Wares, and at the foot of the two sweeping staircases is the ‘outside’ area (located within the shopping centre itself) of Jax, outfitted with blue velvet booth seating. The two entrances to the main bar stand out because of the pink wallpaper that’s been used in their ‘archways.’

Once inside the space the bar is on the left-hand corner in what is a dark design thanks to mainly black walls, apart from some wallpaper depicting a forest scene with what look like wolves and birds. The other wallpaper has what looks like the Jax coat-of-arms. There are grey floorboards throughout.

The ceiling is painted black and there’s exposed black pipes and lots of interesting paraphernalia hanging from it to make the design more interesting. There star-shaped gold ornaments resembling the craft in which Superman first travelled to earth in. There are also some hanging baskets with what looks kind of like silvery-grey space-age foliage bursting out of them.

The forna theme is also evident in some of that wallpaper I mentioned, likewise in the metal fern-shaped wall lights that are quite interesting and gold pendant fern lights that go really well with the black backdrop.

The square bar is fairly roomy and obviously designed to accommodate a swell of staff. Its standout features, apart from the marble bar top, is the big neon sign on the back wall displaying the bar’s logo and the frosted glass with stars on it, that divides the bar and the shop. The gantry is located in front of this glass. Above the bar is a shelf for glasses, parallel with a row of darkly shaded pendant lights.

The seating area is split into two areas that are divided by an enclosed glass DJ booth. The seating in the biggest area in front of the bar consists of black (with gold rim) circular ‘cafe’ style tables and black chairs and horseshoe-shaped booths upholstered in pink and dark blue by SIG Contracts.

There’s also an interesting booth that is encased in the wall. This has also been upholstered in the same pink material.

Up a few steps to the right of the DJ booth and you’re in the area at the back of the space which has a row of booths running along the back wall, plus a few other booths. This area also has two window seats looking out onto Princess Square. They’ve also pained some pipes gold that run floor to ceiling that makes a feature out of some necessary part of the bowels of the building.

Jax is certainly a departure for this space compared to what this unit housed in the past and it will certainly help that the shop is next door. It may be a little bit dark for people of a certain age that remember the 80s, or maybe not, and it’s certainly a novel and brave use of the space that contrasts starkly with the rest of the design of the building it’s in.

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