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Walmgate Ale House & Bistro, York

A project to transform Meltons Too, in York, has completed following a three month works programme.

The three storey venue, which had been in operation since 2001, has been transformed into a multifunctional space comprising a restaurant and bistro on the top two floors and a welcoming public house on the ground floor. The venue has now been renamed Walmgate Ale House & Bistro.

We caught up with Michael Hjort, one of the Directors of Walmgate Ale House & Bistro, to find out more about the venue which opened its doors on the 4th November. Michael commented:

“The venue is within a three floored, 17th century, grade two listed building and so the entire kitchen and modern infrastructure is in an extension to the rear. The ground floor therefore isn’t a suitable space to run a restaurant.

“We have always operated a successful first floor restaurant but due to the layout of the building the downstairs space has always been used as an arrival space. We always wanted to supplement the bistro with a drinking space downstairs but it never really happened due to décor, layout and branding issues.

“As customers have always been fascinated by the history of the building, which was a rope makers and saddlers, we wanted to make that part of the redevelopment.”

Walmgate Ale House & Bistro, York

The aim of the redevelopment project was to create an upmarket pub environment, as well as to display the buildings heritage through the design and décor. Works began on site at the end of September this year with the main tasks on site being tackled by local trades people.

The ground floor of the building has been entirely redecorated incorporating design aspects relating to the buildings previous function; as a rope makers and saddlers. Natural fibre rope has features throughout the three floors as do traditional signage on the interior and exterior of the building.

On the ground floor, which is now the Walmgate Ale House, the toilets have been completely refurbished and a small passageway has been created leading into the pub from the front entrance. The team have the reconstructed the ground snug room located at the back of the building and have installed a false beam in the room to add atmosphere to the space.

The pub now features a lot of traditional furniture and elm and oak bar tops which have been specially cut and finished for Walmgate. Throughout the rest of the building, electrical works have been undertaken to create more intimate pockets of lighting throughout the building.

Steve Waines undertook all of the external painting and decorating work at the Walmgate Ale House & Bistro. Steve commented:

“It was important for us to be involved in this project as it is an interesting, old building. We are proud of the fact that we get a lot of repeat custom due to our good standard of finish.”

Walmgate Ale House & Bistro, York

The first floor bistro and loft space seats 110 and the ale house, situated on the ground floor, seats 40 people and offers more room for standing guests.

During the project the team knew that they were not allowed to make any structural alterations to the building due to its listed nature. Michael commented:

“We have kept the traditional colours and signage in place which celebrates the venue as a rope maker and saddler. It has been great to see the project come to an end and see people like the look of our new operation. It is also a relief to get to the end.

“It’s been nice to keep an old building like this in the public eye, it hasn’t been just a commercial project, but also a scheme to make the venue more redolent of its traditional function.”

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