London & South East Premier Hospitality


Spitfire, Southampton
Written by Roma Publications

Spitfire, Southampton

The creation of Spitfire, the latest addition to the Oak Tree and Sizzling Estate, has been unveiled in Southampton by owners Mitchells & Butlers, removing one of the last nightclubs operated by MAB and replacing with an all-day food and drink led operation.

The venue opened its doors in early July 2014 after an impressive four week renovation project.

The project involved an extensive redevelopment to an existing building that had been used as a nightclub for a number of years. Main contractors Orientrose Contracts Limited worked alongside interior designers Newman Gauge Design Association in order to bring Mitchells & Butlers vision into reality.

Premier Hospitality caught up with Aniela Sweeney, from Newman Gauge Design Association, who worked on the project to find out more. She said:

“We were asked by Mitchells and Butlers to develop a new brand which would offer customers a modern pub environment. The key word was ‘generous’. They wanted us to convert the existing property, which was in a very poor state at the start of the project, into a great city pub that offered good value meals, snacks and beverages whilst relaxing in a choice of generously proportioned seating zones.

The space has been designed so all customers will find a favourite seat whether they are enjoying a hearty breakfast, mid-morning coffee and cake with friends, a lunchtime snack or an evening meal and drinks.”

Guests approaching the site are greeted by an external terrace area which features decorative canopies over the seating zones. Upon entering the pub, guests will see a cosy cafe area to their right alongside the bar and front facing windows. To the left of the entrance is the dining zone which comprises an array of comfortable seating including tub chairs which is ideal for those wanting to have a quiet meal and relax.

In the middle of the venue there is the pub zone which has been designed for those wanting a few drinks. At the back of the pub there is a raised area containing a plethora of fixed seating which is ideal for small gatherings and parties, wanting a private intimate dining experience.

Aniela said that once approval had been gained from the clients the design team went on to the design detailing stage. The team were keen to restore the space and create a modern environment whilst harking back to the materials found in traditional pubs. The main materials utilised included natural timbers, darker coloured furbishing, timber floors and unique tiling.

The pub also contains large modern chandeliers and spotlight lighting onto canvasses and impressive artwork pieces printed onto timber. These finishing touches again utilise natural materials and make the space feel modern yet traditional.

The 150 cover venue spans two floors with all of the seating facilities on the ground floor and the toilet facilities on the first floor. The toilets have also been fully refurbished as Mitchells and Butlers acknowledge that well designed toilet facilities are as important as all the public spaces.

Aniela added that the team did encounter some challenges early on in the project:

“We had to strip out all of the existing club elements including the lighting rigs, DJ equipment, mirrored wall panelling and unwanted furniture which was time consuming. The space had to be stripped out completely before works could start on a refurbishment of the venue.

“So far we have had great feedback from customers and the client as it is a great all day venue where customers can relax in a comfortable environment. At weekends the music can be turned up and effects lighting turned on transforming it into a livelier venue”

Aniela also said that working on the Spitfire has been great for Newman Gauge Design Association as it has allowed them to maintain a long standing relationship with their client; Mitchells & Butlers. Aniela commented:

“It has been a great project to work on as it is a new concept which is always exciting. We are currently working on two other pubs under the same brand and hope to work on many more.”

Newman Gauge contains a skilled team of interior designers and project managers all dedicated to delivering highly successful contract design solutions to the Retail and Leisure Market. The firm is located in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter and was established in 1995. Since its inception the firm has continued to provide a professional service for their ever growing client base.

Spitfire is just one of Mitchells & Butlers 1,600 restaurants and pubs all over the UK. The firm is the largest operator of restaurants, pubs and bars in the UK owning and operating an impressive 17 brands.

Scott White and Hookins 

Scott White and Hookins is a civil and structural engineer specialising in CDM and BREEAM work. The company has been in operation for 51 years and within this time has worked on a number of prestigious projects including The Savoy Hotel, the Houses of Parliament and Bodleian Library.

Working on The Spitfire, Scott White and Hookins has been involved with the project’s CDM work. Commenting on the scheme, Scott White and Hookins Company Director, Graham Barber, said:

“This project is very important to us. Mitchells & Butlers are a very good client who we have been working with for the past 20 years.”

Graham added:

“At Scott White and Hookins we pride ourselves in our ability to provide a proactive service.”


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