House of Wolf has set up home in a listed building and former music hall on Upper Street, Islington.
A quirky vision lies behind the new restaurant and bar, which describes itself as ‘a multi-functional, multi-sensory experimental pleasure palace, dedicated to the creative pursuits of dining, drinking, art and entertainment’.
Work was begun in August 2012 and the newly renovated space was completed in October 2012. House of Wolf restaurant and bar has a variety of areas providing an interesting and varied choice of activities and events.
The renovation has seen House of Wolf make the most of the building’s heritage, with the ground floor Music Hall being returned to its original nineteenth century use and an events roster including cabaret, live music and literary salons. Meanwhile upstairs on the first floor, the Apothecary bar serves up cocktails over a tiled bar-top, combining traditional Victorian recipes with modern cutting-edge techniques.
On the second floor are the main dining area, the Attic dining room, and a cosy snug and bar area called the Wolf Den.
The architect was Matthew Stephenson and the main contractor was Gray Design and Build Ltd, with the directors designing the interiors themselves.
Michael Gray from Gray Design and Build Ltd told Premier Construction about the project. He said:
“The project was the complete refurbishment of an existing bar within one of the oldest music halls in London. A lot of the old period features were still there in the bar area and on the ground floor but we did a lot of work to bring the building back to its former glory.
“The top floor was completely gutted – we took out all the partition walls and stripped the space back to its original ceiling. We then in-filled the rafters with plasterboard and painted them all. We also refurbished the whole floor, stripped back the old brickwork and flooring and put the building back to the way it was originally. We then installed a kitchen on the top floor, a new bar and a toilet block.
“There was a lot of structural work involved because we created a new staircase to get access to the top floor. We put in a whole new staircase from the bottom floor right through the first floor to the second floor which increased the capacity of the restaurant.”
The restaurant features the UK’s first ever permanent series of monthly pop-up chef residencies, showcasing some of the UK’s most exciting chefs and culinary artists.
House of Wolf wants to make the most of the individual style of each chef and in keeping with their experimental ethos, the menu remains a closely guarded secret until diners arrive at the venue.
November’s guest chef is Blanch and Shock who specialise in carefully sourced seasonal British ingredients. Blanch & Shock’s cuisine is always inspired by technology, the process of modern cookery, and the psychology of dining.
Michael Gray said:
“House of Wolf has been open for a few weeks now and it’s going really well, it’s been packed every night. The food is great and they serve some interesting cocktails with crazy ingredients.
“On the first floor there was an existing bar front but we tiled it with these beautiful handmade porcelain tiles which go round the curvature of the bar. They are white with grey grout and have a clinical look- that area is called the apothecary so all the bar staff are in white coats. We found a beautiful old apothecary cabinet to use as the back bar and installed it where all the bottles of ‘potions’ for the cocktails are kept.”
The value of the project was £200,000. Michael said:
“We also had stage set designers come in and work on paint effects to make the most of the building’s heritage. On the ground floor we wallpapered the ceiling with embossed Anaglypta, and similarly in the private dining room we used Lincrusta embossed wallpaper which was then painted using a metallic gold effect.
“The rest of the areas downstairs we painted and we sanded back the bar – again the set designers added detail to these areas.
“We also created a secret room behind a bookcase, it looks like a plain wall but you pull the bookcase and you can fit 7 or 8 people in it.”
For Michael, the project went smoothly with the only minor setback being connected to the London 2012 Olympic Games. Michael said:
“Being in a conservation area we were restricted with what we could do with the exterior of the building. We had started the project around the Olympics and the local authority had a prohibition on scaffold being erected on street side due to the increased footfall. We had to get all the windows painted and the brickwork pointed amongst all the other external works before opening so we had to think quickly as we had a tight program in place.
“We had a small window of opportunity one week before opening date that the local authority would let the scaffold go up. We tripled the workforce for the external work and we had it all done and dusted in one week with the scaffold coming down and off-site the day before opening. At Gray Build we will always go the extra mile to find a solution to problems that might pop up during the construction process and we never let clients down.
“Everything else went smoothly; we’ve been in the game for a long time so we know what we are up against when we tackle projects of this complexity. I always love to get involved in projects like this. The team we have put together have a great working relationship built up over years of working together, it’s a relationship built on workmanship, pride in work, customer satisfaction and dedication. It’s a very, very good team and the repeat business we get over and over again is testament to that fact. Whether its leisure, commercial or residential our team is as diverse as it is able and we can cater for every project”
DSG Electrical Ltd
Established in 2006, DSG Electrical Ltd specialise in high end residential and commercial works.
Recent projects include: From Beard to Tail, New Era – Tea Rooms Shoreditch, Season Kitchen, Aces and Eights and a spectacular large west end house.
Daibhid Gray from DSG Electrical said:
“Our more recent main focus is on bars, restaurants and high end residential projects. The company itself has been growing rapidly over the last year and a half which is really exciting.”
At The House of Wolf, DSG Electrical Ltd completely gutted the top floor space and carried out a full fit-out of the kitchen and upper floor to convert an old office space to a glamorous dining and private hire function room. In the main dining room they put in a Lutron lighting system which has various settings to enable the client to have a relaxed mood whilst the daylight transfers from daytime through the evening and on to night time.
They also reorganised the fire alarm system and emergency light system to make sure everything complied with regulations.
“The lights were supplied by a specialist lighting designer, Miss Fiona Gall of Emerald Faerie. Bespoke and opulent, the lighting gives a comfortable feeling to customers. While making the restaurant look quite exquisite, it really gives us confidence with the outcome.
“We pride ourselves in quality workmanship and job satisfaction comes from giving the client exactly what they want. We take great care and detail in our work to make sure it’s done as per specification and to make sure our clients are 100% satisfied. The strong and building reputation of the company comes a lot from previous successes, past experiences and positive word of mouth.”
Pryamid Catering Equipment
Pyramid Catering Equipment’s Graeme Marshall has spent over 25 years working within the catering industry. After experience as a restaurant and pub manager, bar manager and head chef he decided to cross to the other side and work for a catering equipment distributor. It was there that he was able to combine his vast experience of the operational side for catering with kitchen design and equipment specification.
Pyramid Catering Equipment use these skills and experience to deliver the highest possible service to the professional caterer. Pyramid Catering Equipment will ensure every requirement is met, from conceptual design and equipment specification through to project management and installation.
From new kitchen installations, including all building services, electrical and mechanical services, walls, floors and ceilings to kitchen refurbishments to one-off equipment supplies, Pyramid Catering Equipment are keen to allow the client what level of service they would like and can find the best solution to meet their needs.