Design Focus: Damm 27

Edinburgh’s Damm 27 is the brainchild of operator, Andy
McCartney, who is leasing the bar from Star Pubs and Bars,
who have spent £300k on transforming the Causewayside
bar from its previous life as the Victoria bar. Andy also co-owns
Embargo on Glasgow’s Byres Road.

Rough Design partnered with Andy to conceive the design concept
for a refurbishment that entailed structural changes as well as
cosmetic, and it was Andy himself who proudly showed me around
the fruits of this joint-labour.

Said Andy, “There was a lot of joined-up thinking and everybody
involved on the project was perfectly aligned in ways that drove
it forwards as regards the final look, feel and presentation of the
place. It was originally going to be called Cafe Damm but I went
with Damm 27 because it’s on 25-27 Casusewayside. The plan
going forward is to roll out the brand to Glasgow, Liverpool, and
London in time.

“I’d describe the interior design as London chic meets cosy and
intimate, with a rustic feel that’s not too stuffy, so it’s all very
relaxed and chilled. I also wanted the design to lend itself to the
fact that this is a transient venue because our first customers
arrive at 10 am and people pop in for coffee during the day as
well as the evening trade too of course, and I think that the design
works well at all times of day.

“We also added a purpose-built kitchen that has been tucked
quite neatly behind the bar where the toilets used to be.”

Dean Newton from Rough Design added, “Working with old
buildings like this isn’t without challenges, especially when
structural work is involved but we’re delighted with the outcome,
with thanks to the amazing work done and collaboration from
the teams at Star Pubs, Donaldsons and Lime. Almost all of the
finishes were custom, which we love. The tiles, for example, were
hand glazed and the metalwork fabricated and aged to fit the

“It’s our new local (we’ve located nearby) Andy, our client knows
his stuff and has put in a fabulous offer – the downside to that is
our fees have disappeared into the till!”

So what’s my design verdict? Well as you can see from the
pictures this is a bar that oozes style and sophistication and
despite being fairly compact there really is a tremendous amount
going on in design terms. In fact, every time you turn around on
your first visit your eye is drawn to something new.

One of the first things that stood out for me was the shabby
chic distressed looking wooden wall panels displaying the Dam 27
logo. There are also some really sophisticated-looking panels on
the walls and some beautiful green tiles as well as exposed brick
and stone. Likewise the lovely windows and the Georgian-style

The parquet floor has a lived-in look to it and so also goes really
well with all of these design considerations, plus the grey ceiling
with pendant lights cast a warm golden glow over the proceeding.
There are also lots of lovely hanging plants dotted around the
place that really enhance the look and feel, adding a burst of freshness, plus the ground-floor bar also benefits from lots of daylight streaming in through those gorgeous Georgian windows.

The furniture is has been upholstered in tan leather and the furniture types that they decided on are booths, swivels tools at the bar and high chairs at posing tables that are dotted all around the place.

The bar is located on the back wall opposite the window and in design terms it’s relatively simple yet effective and really quite arresting under the twinkly lights. It’s constructed from metal shelves with more of those green tiles that I mentioned earlier behind it. The bar top has been made from wood with a grey surround, while the front of the bar has been panelled with darker wood and the bar itself has also been illuminated all the way around, and to great effect, I might add.

Opposite the bar, next to window and the exposed stone walls, are some booths that have been upholstered in a darker, chocolate brown leather, on which there has been scored a repeat diamond pattern, and this has been repeated on the tan leather banquettes beneath the Damm 27 sign I talked about at the top. Meanwhile at the far end of the bar from where you enter, just beyond the entrance to the kitchen past the bar is another row of fixed seating against a wall of exposed brick.

So there you have it. Damm 27 is a real design gem and therefore a credit to the joint vision of Andy and Grant and his team from Rough Design and we look forward to covering the design of the next Damm 27 in the fleet to be rolled out.

Category: Editors' Picks, News
Tags: Damm 27, Edinburgh