Design Focus: El Santo


Latin American-inspired restaurant, El Santo, has opened its doors in Glasgow’s Miller Street. The bar and restaurant, owned by the Worq Group, can seat 90 diners in the restaurant area, while there is also a speakeasy lounge bar at the rear called El Santito. Situated above ground level, the restaurant and bar offers a vibrant and exciting addition to the city.

A2402AFC-E777-4BC0-A99F-F6DB3F3D8966The WORQ Group worked with local designer Robbie Crocker-Smith of Crocker-Smith, his initial brief was to develop the restaurant and a ‘speak-easy’ bar to compliment its South American food and drinks offering.   After opening up the space by removing partitions installed by the previous occupants the designers also uncovered many original features which had been buried behind plasterboard for decades.

Robbie Crocker- Smith comments, “Inspiration was taken from the woven patterns and rich colours associated with the continent, anchored in the design by a richly-coloured tiled wall inspired by Aztec motifs.

“A series of booths and seating areas break up the main restaurant providing engaging areas for conversation and socialisation, with plants adding additional layers but maintaining sightlines across the restaurant – so that patrons can ‘see’ and ‘be seen’!” One of the most striking aspects of the new restaurant is the tiling – which is bright and vibrant – tiles of blue, orange, yellow, red and violet run riot behind the bespoke booths, which also feature brass circles above – signifying the gold of the Aztecs.

7DD92D18-D739-4DDD-ADEC-0356F84E34C7The jade and gold cladding on the bar is also striking and further emphasises the quality finish of the interior which is also enhanced by a plethora of foliage – the majority of which is the real deal. Situated at the back of the restaurant is El Santito – a speakeasy margarita bar with an exclusive menu of margaritas to enjoy after a meal.

El Santito has additional seating for up to 50 more guests and is accessed via a mirrored corridor with striking interactive lighting effects. The corridor also houses the stylish toilets – which are all individual booths and have mirrored exterior doors. The speak-easy bar gantry echoes the one in the main restaurant, adding a focal point to this relaxed and inviting lounge space although the colours are more muted.

9FED26EA-77B1-426A-A4BE-DCBE2CDC281EThe WORQ Group is the management company behind El Santo. With over a decade of experience working with modern-day hospitality spaces, their portfolio is continuing to grow – with El Santo being their latest Glasgow venture following the successful opening of the LGBTQ+-friendly hotel, Revolver, in August.

Jonathan Doherty, Owner of WORQ Group comments, “El Santo is just the latest project for the WORQ Group, following the success of the Revolver Hotel earlier this year. We’re proud to see that Glasgow has continued to thrive in the past couple of years and the bustling area of Merchant City is getting its resurgence.

“We hope El Santo will bring something entirely different to the city – as one of the few Latin American restaurants. As 2022 comes to a close, we’re ready to enter the new year with some new projects in our sights and to bring new experiences to Glaswegians.”



Category: Design, Features, News
Tags: El Santo, Jonathan Doherty, Robbie Crocker-Smith, Worq Group