By Nicola Walker
Scotts Greenock opened its doors in June and the coastal bar and restaurant is not just a great addition to the area, but a must-see in terms of design and its amazing location.
This venue is Buzzworks Holdings’ nineteenth addition to its growing portfolio and first venture into Inverclyde. Situated atop the new £19.2 million Greenock Cruise Ship Visitor Centre it boasts world-class views across the River Clyde. It was designed by award winning designer Jim Hamilton, with BJM as contractors.
When you enter through the unassuming staircase you really have no idea what awaits you. Then the doors open to panoramic views and a bright, airy space that is designed to fit its surroundings, down to the very last detail. Jim Hamilton says, “Myself and Colin Blair had some real fun with this one.”
“Personally I really like the arrival experience, the build-up to the room beyond, via the carpark with the new iconic Richard Murphy building as the backdrop, with no real hint of a hospitality venue neatly tucked away on the top floor. The building also houses the George Wylie museum, and a ferry terminal servicing some of the biggest cruise ships in the world.
“After a skip up the staircase and through the welcome area, the natural vista that meets you across the island bar to the River Clyde is pretty magical.
“This section of the waterfront in Greenock where Scotts is located is fantastic, and we wanted to make sure the new Scotts played its part. It’s top floor perch affords an amazing vista across the wide expanse of the Clyde to Helensburgh and beyond. The guys on site described the view out of the huge panoramic windows being akin to that of a David Attenbourgh documentary – they have seen pods of dolphins, otters, a huge variety of birds, sailing boats, tugs, cruise ships, scores of fishermen and much much more. It’s also testimony to good architectural thinking by Richard Murphy’s team, in establishing some very strong core values in terms of affording visitors the luxury of incredible views from some amazing vantage points.”
“Being a new build project always has its advantages, and as part of the greater Buzzworks team we were in very early which allowed us the luxury of being able to shape the fundamental components within the scheme, to make sure it worked within Buzzwork’s exacting demands.
Covid delayed the overall construction phase, but as things opened back up it did allow us time to observe the surroundings through all of the four seasons, which certainly helped to inform many decisions in terms of how the venue should shape itself to suit different times of the year, as well as different times of the day.”
“We also added in quite a few subliminal nods to Greenock’s proud history as a shipyard town and trading port, including shipping palettes, corten steel, and artwork by Col Hamilton that nods to times gone bye, but not too far in the distant past, but hopefully also helping to re-launch a new chapter in Greenock’s rich history.”
And that they have. Beautifully upholstered, soft, colourful chairs and booth seating create a sea of burnt orange, blue and teals – an almost water meets land meets sky feeling. Above your head the ceiling is adorned with latticed pieces of wood and large glass and wicker pendant lights – adding to the feel of bringing nature inside. Cylindrical lamps and leafy plants also grace the ledges and floors, and there are small touches, like plush fabric added to panels at the rear of the booths.
This all goes to show that no details have been omitted in the design and it is this, that brings the whole feel of the place together. Sweeping floor to ceiling glass windows make the venue bright and welcoming during the day but Jim adds, “Large windows that give so much payback in daytime, can sometimes act more like large dark mirrors pools at night which reflect more of the interior than the vista beyond. We worked hard to combat this, and have tried to create visual warmth and comfort using specific lighting and art, also helping to ensure that the bar and restaurant look great at times when the weather is not so good outside. We always work hard to bring the ambient lighting down into the key levels and areas where it can help to set the right tone and ambience for customers.”
The bar itself, is clearly an impressive centre piece, with a steel gantry, rich blue and grey tiling, a beautiful marble top and surrounded by teal bar stools which match the rest of the luxury seating. Jim tells me, “The island bar is a cheeky wee nod to an imaginery vessel that we could envisage being launched down the Clyde like many of its ancestors, albeit we stopped short of launching it with the obligatory champagne bottle smash, maybe an opportunity we should still try.
“We also made sure that the relationship between the bar seating and the bar itself was spot on to encourage socialising within the heart of the room, and we always try hard to avoid having any bad seats in the house- we tried to knock them out of the scheme.”
“The tone of the area to the left of the bar is deliberately more casual in appearance, contrasted by the opposite side of the front room which is a little richer in terms of materials, with both being in sync in terms of service and panoramic views. The aim as always was to make Scotts appealed to as broad an audience as possible, and cater for all times of day – breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”
At one end of the venue the wall has been reimagined as a beautiful abstract piece of artwork, by Coll Hamilton acting as a backdrop to the private dining area, it has nods to the ship building heritage of the area. Whereas at the other end, through a huge glass door, is a substantial terrace graced with rattan chairs and comfortable garden sofas.
However it is the view that really sets this area off. The interiors are as stunning as the vista and the extensive menu features a blend of traditional and modern dishes to suit all tastes. Even if you are just popping in to enjoy a coffee or a casual drink, Scotts is the type of place where you will want to come back again and again.
Perhaps the last word should go to Buzzworks Holdings MD, Kenny Blair who says, “Buzzworks prides itself in creating venues that provide delicious food, superb cocktails and outstanding service within a relaxed atmosphere, and Scotts Greenock will continue this trend, providing an excellent experience to all that come through our doors.