The newest place to see and be seen in Leeds is the stylish new Be at One cocktail bar which has just opened, situated within a Grade II Listed building in Millennium Square.
Located in premises formerly occupied by a Chinese restaurant, the elegant new venue has been created on the ground floor of the building, with the basement level incorporating new back of house accommodation and extensively refurbished toilets. The first floor level is scheduled for redevelopment as part of the venue next year.
The new bar was designed by Fusion Design and Architecture, working with main contractors Rocket Interiors, who were commended for their work on the project.
The main aim of the design theme, which is a combination of contemporary and classic finishes, is to create a more warm and welcoming interior and to tie in with the original character of the building.
“The previous tenant used lots of hard, contemporary finishes that distracted from the historical nature of the building so we proposed to strip back the newer finishes to reveal more of the original character of the building. These works included the removal of ceilings which revealed the original boarded ceiling and decorative cornicing, which has now been retained as a feature,” said Jonathan Richardson of Fusion Design and Architecture.
Other original features which have been highlighted as part of the new design are a central staircase and the decorative arches on the building’s main facade, with particular attention also being paid to the views both into and out of the south-west facing building, overlooking Millennium Square. The section of wall between the arches have been tiled in a herringbone pattern, inspired by the basement of New York’s Grand Central Station.
Two new bars have been fitted – one to the left of the main entrance and the other to the right, with the historic central staircase visually connecting these two elements. Both bars have been clad in highly decorative classical tiling, inspired by the Underground in London – a reference to the city being the spiritual home of Be At One.
“We have created as much customer space as possible on the ground floor by removing the original kitchen which was obviously not required in a cocktail bar. A reclaimed oak parquet floor has also been laid and a raised floor section with seating has been added to the rear provide a vantage point for customers to watch cocktails being prepared,” said Jonathan Richardson.
Reclaimed oak wall panelling removed from a country house has been used to clad walls, complemented by William Morris wallpaper and exposed brickwork on other walls. Leather banquette seating has also been installed and lighting is in a combination of styles, including the latest in LED technology and reclaimed pendant and wall lighting sourced from the former East Germany. Internal neon signage also helps add warmth to the interior.
All new building services have been installed, with these being exposed as a feature.
Because of the building’s south-west facing aspect resulting in high exposure to sunlight, it was also necessary to install awnings externally. An additional attractive element of the exterior design is a spacious seating area outside the main frontage, which, combined with new sliding glazed doors and the awning, adds a distinctive continental appeal.
“This was a fast track project with the fit out taking approximately five weeks. The building is located in a really prominent position and we’re confident the bar will prove popular and be a success,” said Jonathan Richardson.
“As always Rocket Interiors did a very good job – they have worked on all fit-outs for Be at One and have an excellent understanding of the expectations and desires of both client and designers. A good team spirit on site during the fit out was key to the fast track project being a success,” he added.