Allow live musicians to take you back to a time when you sang and danced for the sheer joy of it. Piano Works, a 6000 square foot basement bar in London’s Farringdon area will take you back in time, entering an era of fun, food and a lot of dancing.
The founder, Alan Lorrimer, had an idea: an idea that people go into a venue, enjoy the music, participate and experience group participation. Working closely with his Project Manager, Bob Dempsey of robert dempsey and associates, Alan searched for the right venue suited to the Victorian era theme with enough space for singing situated in an area with a great demographic. It was a year before the Grade II listed building in Farringdon was found.
“I’ve worked with Alan for years; he’s a great client to work with, our relationship is developed on trust, we have a synergy that allows me to deliver the project on a fast track programme and a fixed budget. That’s not to say ‘blood, sweat and tears’ are not present, they always are in projects of this nature but absolutely worth it with a concept as exciting and creative as this one.”
After Alan and Bob had decided that the basement of the Grade II listed, Victorian building in Farringdon was a perfect location for Piano Works, there followed a year of protracted negotiation before the premises were secured and the project could get under way.
“The building has this truly marvellous presence and strength which we fell in love with as soon as we saw it. It’s in the perfect location.”
The premises housed an ex-Wetherspoon pub and for Bob, going in and taking down their stamp was a really strange experience as he had built many of the early Wetherspoon pubs. The Piano Works concept is a definite nod to the Victorian era, but Bob was conscious that a strongly themed design would impact on the customer experience at the centre of Alan’s thoughts.
“Lately there has been a common trend towards a Steam Punk look to venues and their fittings. Although we initially referenced this style we then took pains to dilute the theme, allowing the strength of the industrial Victorian structure to provide the backdrop. There is enveloping warmth now that allows customers, performers and staff to let ‘loose’.”
The Venue comprises a performing floor, main bar area, party area and a restaurant. The interior features cast iron columns, dark coloured leather to seating and booths sourced from America, crafted joinery and old gold painted accented walls.
“We haven’t disguised the sins of history; it’s all part of what the building is about. We want people to come back and experience more, not to be bored of the backdrop. Piano Works is built to last, it’s interesting and truly all about the whole experience.”
Customers are greeted briefly at street level at an entrance deliberately kept low-key; stairs lead to the Basement and Cloaks. From here you turn into the action, a centre stage of performers and customers creating an energy of sound enhanced by pulsating stage lighting. This leads to the jewel like main bar area. Adjacent to the main areas are the connecting Party Bar and Gold Room, both in contact with the action but affording respite if desired. The Party Bar area can be privately hired accommodating 60+ guests.
Piano Works offers food, drink, dancing and singing and prides itself on allowing the repertoire to be decided by the audience. The menu offers light bites including olives, a charcuterie board, mini burgers and paprika dusted fries. For something a little sturdier they offer ‘rolls or not’ with options of an array of fish, meat and vegetable fillings. They also offer seasonal desserts.
For something to drink, the bar offers ‘classically strange’ beverages, suggesting unique takes on traditional alcoholic cocktails.
A 400 capacity venue, Piano Works offers whole venue hire as well as room for smaller parties.
For more information please visit www.pianoworks.bar
robert dempsey and associates
Design and Project Management