Client Glendola Leisure Group
Location Manchester, UK
Building on the success of its award-winning Scottish counterpart, this second Alston Bar & Beef by the practice is situated below Manchester’s renowned Corn Exchange, and is the first restaurant in the city that specialises in top quality steak and gin.
The new restaurant and bar accommodates 160 covers for dining in a variety of atmospheric spaces, including private rooms and a 60-cover covert speakeasy.
The design draws on the heritage of the Corn Exchange and the culture of Manchester, as well as reflecting elements of the original Alston Bar & Beef venue in Glasgow, to create a unique space featuring a dramatic environment and distinctive ambience.
Expressed only by a discrete entrance, guests enter a seemingly modest lobby in which a hand painted mural stretches across the full height of the wall, and a carved felt chandelier leads to an industrial, raw steel staircase studded with etched glass lenses. This stair delivers guests to a hidden, subterranean hall, criss-crossed by a web of original and new structure, expressing the complex building above.
A bar carved from a block of solid marble glows against a backlit screen of glass in medicine bottle amber. Mounted upon this are apothecary flasks, dispensing a rotating selection of the restaurant’s bespoke cold-compound gin infusions, made in house.
Across the dining space, the eye is drawn to a vast mural, which has been commissioned and hand painted by Manchester-based street artist Tank Petrol to reflect the narrative established by Jestico + Whiles.
A high-spec show kitchen, with lots of fire and flame, terminates the long views across the dining room, giving glimpses into the kitchen’s activity through an opening and an amber-tinted, textured glass screen.
This extraordinary space also accommodates private dining room catering for up to 12 guests, and a further events space and private room for larger numbers.