The man behind one of Exeter’s most popular restaurants has launched a brand-new Café Lounge Bar, that brings an intimate, glamorous experience to the town centre. Lloyd’s Lounge opened at the beginning of December and blends a bold design with creative drinks and sumptuous food.
Independent restaurateur Lloyd Gardner is well-known in the area having achieved a huge amount of success with his award-winning restaurant, Lloyd’s Kitchen, located near the historic Exeter Cathedral. Lloyd’s Lounge is located on an adjacent site and replaces an alfresco café – Ltg’s – that was also run by Lloyd. The new all-weather glass structure has 80 covers including indoor and outside space and brings a new dimension to Exeter’s hospitality offering.
Over four years in the making from conception to completion, Lloyd spoke to Premier Hospitality about this journey and his hopes for the venue:
“I’ve had the location for six years now and for three and a half years we were trading out of a small kiosk. It was completely open to the elements, so the great British climate meant trade was weather dependent. If it was really bad, then I knew it wasn’t to get make any revenue that day so I had to do something different with the location.
“I had an architect, Rich Smith, of Hand Drawn Home, design a building that would sit nicely on the raised piazza area. We received unanimous planning approval, which I thought was going to be the hardest part, but the sale of the Princesshay shopping centre meant we effectively had to keep starting again. It eventually moved forward with the new Princesshay owners, The Crown Estate and Savills, and construction started in June 2017. It was a three month build by main contractor Morgan Sindall before work started on the interior.”
Rich Smith added:
“We really enjoyed working with Lloyd on this project, his energy, enthusiasm and drive to develop a leading cafe lounge bar venue within Exeter city-centre has been the product of years of hard work. We were introduced to the project to assist with the concept design and planning application. This involved working with the council’s Conservation Officer to develop proposals for a contemporary yet sympathetic glass sided building which could be flexible and open up for alfresco inside/ outside dining as much as possible.
“The proposals were unanimously approved at committee and the team worked in tandem with the landlord’s team to coordinate the interior fitout. Following the success of the interior makeover and refit at Lloyd’s Kitchen, using local tradesmen and contractors, we worked with the same core team of shopfitters and sub-contractors to deliver an efficient modern fit-out within a short timescale.
“The effective mood lighting and zoned music creates a wonderful ambiance and chic feeling in the bar at night-time. The use of classic colours and contrasting textured materials, adds warmth to the interior design.”
“It’s a café lounge bar during the day and the focus is on coffee and light bites. We also open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night when it’s more of an upmarket, trendy cocktail/wine bar with a tapas food offering.
“Feedback so far has been phenomenal. It’s been full every day from opening. It’s always been a vision of mine for that location. It’s been a hard, long road to get it off the ground but this is my future. I’ve lived here all my life, I love the city and I think this is a fantastic addition to the city-centre. It’s been my baby for a few years so to now have it all done is just fantastic.”
To carry out the design of the space, Lloyd worked with Donna Maddicott and Roxan Burley of Devon based iDesign. Working with a range of suppliers to source the best furniture and lighting possible, the result is a glamorous design with an intimate feel. Commenting on the project, Donna said:
“A few years ago now we chatted about what would work in the centre of Exeter. I suggested something more urban whereas Lloyd wanted something a bit more glamourous, similar to the kind of restaurants he would visit when abroad. About a year later, when planning permission and discussions had been sorted, Lloyd was still undecided on style. Roxan and I decided therefore to create 4 different CGIs to choose from. One was a glamorous lounge bar, one was very much like Nikki Beach in Courchevel, one was very urban and one was a living urban jungle.
“They all liked the glamourous design so we took this forward working out a layout and how many covers would work. We looked at colours that would be in fashion in 2018 so we could be ahead of the game.
“Every sense has been covered. You’re sitting in velvet seats, you’re eating beautiful food, you’re in a lovely environment. You feel happy in the space and that’s what we wanted. It’s a venue I would like to visit for food and drinks with friends.”
All parties involved worked hard to make sure the space was ready for a December opening and the warm reception received so far has been a testament to this. Lloyd’s Lounge has already generated 12 new jobs in the town and looks set to be a major social hub for all seasons. To find out more, please visit lloydslounge.co.uk.
Setpoint Solutions specialise in the design, supply, installation & commissioning of air conditioning & heat pump systems. The company started trading in June 2017, but is backed by company founder, Jody Lees who has more than 19 years’ of experience in the industry, supporting the market on system designs for all areas of heat pump applications.
To date, Setpoint Solutions has worked on projects for a leading high street retailer installing large air conditioning plant for the shop floor, as well as office heating & cooling systems on sites in Streatham, Chelmsford & Launceston. Jody has also provided large VRF heating & cooling plant for Harper Foods; AC systems for Exeter University; and AC and ventilation units for a high profile online distribution centre in Bardon Hill.
Setpoint Solutions is currently installing large Daikin AHU Interfacing Heating & Cooling plant for Exe Valley Leisure Centre & Daikin AC Split systems for Cusack 4 in Highbridge. Most recently, Setpoint Solutions was involved with the Lloyds Lounge project.
Setpoint Solutions was invited to tender Lloyds Lounge directly from Lloyd Gardner, who explained the project had already been designed by Hydrock, but was looking for a local installer who could manage the short programme duration.
Jody Lees, Setpoint Solutions, said:
“This was a great project for us to be associated with – we wanted to be able to provide a comfortable environment for the customers & staff and the final look & feel of the restaurant is fantastic.
“With this project being local, we were confident we could support the team during the short programme and being a local restaurant also means we can visit with our own existing & new clients to show them the final system in operation!”
“Setpoint Solutions is proud to offer the market a first class service supported by comprehensive knowledge of system application & design.”