Design Focus: ST ANDREW’S BREWING COMPANY, CAIRD HALL

The Beatles and Frank Sinatra are just two of the big names that have graced the stage at Dundee’s Caird Hall and now it’s playing host to a huge bar-restaurant over 7,500 sq ft thanks to a £900k investment from the people at the St Andrews Brewing Company.


St Andrews Brewing Company at Caird Hall, to give it its full name, occupies two units in the former City Arcade, which closed in 1981, and
is the fourth and biggest venture yet for the Fife-based company, which also operates venues in St Andrews and Edinburgh. Construction began in October last year it’s been open since March this year.


Tim Butler, Director of Business Development, said, “It’s a vast multi-functional space with 160 covers split over different zones and, as well as
various dining elements, including our lounge bar, big table of 12 and private dining facility, we have a wine bar in the middle, plus a walk-in glazed wine cellar.”


He continued, “The space has views overlooking the £1m waterfront development, including the V&A and the adjacent Slessor Gardens, where
there are many live music events.”


There are 20 beers on tap, plus the refurbished site also boasts a ‘Scotch Corner’ and an ‘indoor beer garden’. Andrew Black Design was responsible for the project, while Scottish Saw Milling Services made the wood tables.

Dennis Anderson, the owner of Scottish Sawmilling Services, said, “It was a very enjoyable project to work on and it all went smoothly. They pretty much allowed me free rein, for example when it came to designing the big table of 12, they gave me the length and breadth and let me go.”


The overall design is best described as multi-purpose and the stand out elements are the exposed industrial ceiling, grey industrial concrete floor, and slate-grey tiles and the earthy tones, rusts, browns, and creams with comfortable armchairs, pictures and lamps give the place a real home from home feel, despite its vastness.


And contributing to this look to no small degree is a fireplace, complete with logs, so there are some cosy little corners in what could have been an austere design had it not been for the use of curtains, warm colours and upholstery.


There’s also some interesting etched glass inside the otherwise wood-and-concrete-heavy design, and as well as the long wooden tables, wooden blocks have also been used to construct some of the walls, and these look Jenga-esque to me.


I also particularly liked the fixed booth seating. Constructed from wood and elevated slightly, these have been upholstered in a lovely plum colour (and these booths are adjacent to the lovely etched glass), while elsewhere the same type of fixed seating booths have been upholstered in an olive green material.


The bars themselves within the venue have been fairly simply designed, and I really like what they have done to them in design terms. A concrete bar top and black bar front give way to black floor tiles at the foot of the bar. The beer taps are mounted on a stainless steel back bar and metal shelving has also been used along the back bar to house the spirits. There are also concrete pillars and glass shelving above, plus a line of rather stylish black leather stools lined up at one particular section of the bar.
The pools of light cast by the pendant lighting add to the atmospheric quality to the bar. There also some glass pendant lights in different colours that cast a warmer glow over the fixed booth seating with the curtain separators.


I was also taken by the central booth seating, with the seat on one side being leather mounted on concrete, while the opposite side is a simple wooden bench to match the table.
All in all, I’d call this a multi-faceted design that sits well in a multi-faceted space and this will no doubt contribute to the new lease of life for this landmark building in what’s fast becoming one of the UK’s most happening cities.

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