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Sugar Boat

Credit - Saved by Robots
Credit – Saved by Robots

Located in the heart of the idyllic Scottish holiday town of Helensburgh, Sugar Boat is a brand new neighbourhood bistro, bar and wine shop. Open from 9am each morning until late at night, Sugar Boat is an all-day venue that blends locally-inspired dishes with a handpicked selection of drinks.

Owned by restauranteur Will Smith, Sugar Boat boasts indoor seating as well as a large courtyard terrace and seating on the square. It also has a bar area and a long restaurant space. Since opening in May of this year, Sugar Boat has been warmly received by locals and looks set to be one of the hottest summer venues.

To carry out the design of the space, Will turned to award-winning interior design company Surface-ID. Replacing the casual takeaway and sit in café that previously occupied the site, the new design uses a combination of exposed existing brick work, charcoal painted timber panelling, natural solid oak, luxury marbles and rustic contrasting tiling.

Externally, the new façade utilises deep green and blue tiling that gives the bistro a bold presence on the main local square. Simon Cameron, Senior Designer at Surface-ID, spoke to Premier Hospitality about the space, its challenges and the overall importance of the project:

“We designed a substantial feature central island in the front area of the space. Not only does this function as a working bar but it houses all the drinks which are served on tap, and allows customers a sociable communal area to enjoy drinks and snacks. The positioning breaks down the usual barrier separating customers and staff, encouraging customers to walk behind it and view the wines on display, which are available to purchase to take home.”

“Outside we completely re-designed the enviable enclosed courtyard space, this included pouring a new slab, installing drainage and finishing with a bold green and white tile finish. We constructed a timber pergola covered with atmospheric pendant lighting and commissioned 3 sets of bespoke glazed blackened steel doors which open out from the restaurant onto the space helping to blur the outdoor/ indoor boundary.”

The project also tested the flexibility of the design firm as with a week to go before work was scheduled to begin on site the environmental health officer requested the kitchen be increased in size. This required the team to come up with a quick solution which wouldn’t cause too much disruption to the programme or have any negative affect to the design of the space.

“It has been received extremely well by various press articles and online reviewers and is also gaining great feedback from both the local community and customers travelling from further afield.”

Simon added: “Starting with a new client is always an exciting time for us. This was our first time working with Will Smith and we can honestly say it has been an absolute pleasure working together. His experience and passion from owning top London restaurants was instantly apparent and his concept of bringing a quality ‘Neighbourhood Bistro, Bar and Wine Shop’ to Helensburgh was something we felt privileged to be a part of and excited to help him realise. We are delighted with the end result and the reception it has received.”

Credit - Saved by Robots
Credit – Saved by Robots

At the heart of Sugar Boat is the commitment to sourcing the best seasonal produce from local suppliers. The main menu changes regularly to reflect this but customers can be assured that it will always be filled with hearty dishes that cater to a variety of tastes. Those looking for something a little different can sample afternoon cream teas and light weekend brunches.

Food can be washed down with craft beers, spirits, wines, over 25 Scottish gins and creative cocktails. Such is their commitment to wine that the Sugar Boat has a wine shop with over 100 wines from across the globe.

For more information, please visit sugarboat.co.uk.


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