Premier Hospitality

Alchemist expands

Written by Roma Publications

The Alchemist expands

Established in 2010, The Alchemist has grown rapidly from a staple of the Manchester hospitality scene to an evolving national brand. The premium bar and casual dining operator has built its reputation on creating the ultimate cocktails, blending the perfect presentation with sensational settings for immersive drinking and dining experiences.

Expert mixologists are on hand at every site to create cocktails with an obsessive eye for detail, presented with a dash of theatre.

The last few years have been particularly rapid in terms of growth for the brand and by the end of 2017 The Alchemist will have added a further four sites to its portfolio. This latest expansion began in Newcastle in March when The Alchemist opened its first venue in the North East. In July the tenth Alchemist site opened in Chester city centre and this was quickly followed by site number eleven at MediaCityUK in Salford. Venue number twelve is set to open later in the year in Oxford and will be swiftly followed by an opening in Nottingham in January 2018.


The Alchemist Chester

Work on launching in Chester began in April after a 21 year lease was secured on a 4,700 sq ft space. After a £1.1 million refurbishment programme to get the space up to specification, The Alchemist opened in Chester in July.

Located in the building that formerly housed Gin Rickey’s and Luke’s Eating House, the site’s new design is very much in line with The Alchemist brand. Speaking at the time of opening, The Alchemist Managing Director Simon Potts said:

“We’re incredibly proud to be opening our tenth site, just six years after the brand’s inception. When we launched in Spinningfields back in 2010, we looked to push the boundaries of the Manchester drinking and casual dining experience through theatrical cocktails, engaging service and interesting spaces. We’re now establishing ourselves as one of the most talked about bar and restaurant brands in the UK, and we are delighted to open in Chester and intend to bring something different to its food and drink scene.

“Opening our tenth site, in a city rich in heritage with a bustling nightlife, demonstrates the dedication and commitment of The Alchemist team. 2017 is set to be our most exciting year yet, as consumer demand increases for richer, immersive and shareable bar and restaurant experiences.”


The Alchemist MediaCityUK

The latest addition to the Alchemist Bar & Restaurant family has opened at MediaCityUK in Salford. Housed in an ambitious, yet striking £1.2 million development the venue boasts 96 covers and has created up to 60 jobs in the area.

Created by Manchester-based Reid Architects, the new building is located in a prime waterside location between The Lowry theatre and MediaCityUK. The building is a completely unique structure that reflects the energy and creative environment in which it is located. Similarly, the interior design makes an eye-catching statement.

Totalling 4,900 sq ft, the MediaCityUK Alchemist Bar & Restaurant was developed in conjunction with construction specialist Artez Group. The result is a landmark, futuristic building which includes bold and modernist features, from the angular blackened steel and bronze bar, to the dazzling gold clad roof and walls. The bar wraps around from the interior to the enclosed outdoor terrace which is ideal for al fresco drinking and dining, offering sweeping views of the water and the surrounding area which still gives a glimpse of the enduring and fascinating legacy of Salford’s industrial heritage.

Construction on the building was completed in May and was marked by Bolton-based boutique construction specialist Artez Group with its golden top out event. At the event guests were invited to a sneak peak of the scheme before it was handed over to The Alchemist to be transformed into the trendy bar and restaurant.

In addition, the story of the futuristic building – from its inception and design to the complex build process – was relayed to guests. The presentation was made by Mike Banton, managing director at Artez; Stephen Wild, managing director at MediaCityUK; Simon Potts, managing director at The Alchemist; and Marion Room, associate director at Reid Architects.

Mike Banton said: “The design and concept for the building by Reid Architects was stunning and I think it’s safe to say the execution does it justice. It’s like a palatial, golden spaceship has landed in Salford Quays!”

Stephen Wild added: “This is an iconic, statement building which makes the most of its stunning location, overlooking the MediaCityUK waterfront. As the landscape here continues to evolve, the Alchemist will bring a stylish food and drink offer to the mix, adding to the vibrant destination we are creating.”

The building features a gold-clad roof and walls externally and a terrace, which cantilevers out over the canal, creating a sophisticated waterside al fresco drinks and dining space.

Dawnvale worked closely with leading designers Macaulay Sinclair and The Alchemist on The Alchemist Media City to produce the terrace bar with two stations, main cocktail bar with four stations and bespoke commercial kitchen complete with the latest energy saving Synergy Grills. The Alchemist Media City is the eighth bar and restaurant that Dawnvale has been involved with.

All the bars feature the new Alchemist cocktail stations with drop down blender stations and double speed rails.

Designing the bars and kitchen in this unique space presented a few challenges, due to the shape of the building with its angular walls, but the work was fully achieved giving a fully functional bar and kitchen workspace.

Speaking of the development, Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett said: “Salford’s food and drink offer continues to grow and develop within the city and I welcome the latest bar and restaurant at MediaCityUK. The Alchemist’s decision to make Salford their latest home naturally makes a contribution to Salford Quays and our local labour market, creating even more jobs for local people.”

Open all day for breakfast, lunch and dinner, The Alchemist features a carefully crafted drinks menu and a cocktail selection including classics such as the Smokey Old Fashioned and new additions like the Battenberg. Simon Potts, Managing Director of The Alchemist, said:

“This is our eleventh Alchemist in the UK and a significant one for the brand. This particular building has a unique and visionary design aesthetic as befitting our location, and the team are really looking forward to welcoming everyone who works and lives in this vibrant waterside community.”



Artez delivers high quality new build, renovation and refurbishment projects across the North West and throughout the country. The ability to provide skilled and experienced project managers across general and specific construction requirements allows Artez to find and implement alternative solutions which deliver the best possible outcome for clients – be it financial, design specification, quality of build or a best fit for purpose building.


The Future

Part of the multi-million pound Westgate shopping centre development, The Alchemist Oxford is the next venue to open for the brand. Set to be open in before Christmas, The Alchemist will be ideally placed to take advantage of a large amount of footfall.

Refusing to rest on its laurels, 2018 is already shaping up to be as big as 2017 with more investment as the brand expands to new locations. Following the launch of the Nottingham venue, a first site in Wales will open in Cardiff in March before the south west gets its first taste of The Alchemist in Bristol in May.


The Alchemist

Established in 2010, the premium bar and casual dining operator currently has ten sites across UK city centres including London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Newcastle. The Alchemist is backed by Palatine Private Equity, who supported a buy out from Living Ventures in 2015. To find out more, please visit




Saniclad specialises in the supply and installation of PVC hygienic wall lining and SaniShield TM anti-scratch embossed wall protection, for use in projects within the hospitality and leisure industry. Established in May 2009, Saniclad has a broad range of clients from small local cafes right through to leading names such as Nando’s and McDonalds and currently maintains a long-term contract with one the UK’s largest restaurant and pub chains, MB PLC.

For the last three years, Saniclad has proudly helped maintain MB PLC’s 3000+ kitchens. This month, Saniclad has extended this contact until September 2019.

Most recently, Saniclad has been involved with The Alchemist. Working on The Alchemist, Saniclad has installed their 2.5mm Saniclad System in white & jet black into their new commercial kitchens.

John Maye, Director of Saniclad, said:

“We always appreciate the opportunity to showcase our products with new brands such as The Alchemist.”

John added:

“At Saniclad, we pride ourselves on our ability to provide a quality product that is installed on time and within budget. Our before and after sales service is second to none, with a two-year labour and 15 year product warranty available, and we always go the extra mile to service our clients’ needs.”


C & C Baseline Architectural Ltd.

Specialists in Bespoke architectural and decorative metalwork, C and C Baseline have proven over their 20 years of operation that they are one of the UK’s leading fabrication companies.

They have vast experience within the construction, manufacturing and architectural industries, subsequently carrying out many national projects including works on nightclubs, apartments and hotels.

With past experience working on Liverpool Football Club Hospitality Suite New Stand, Gusto and Nando’s Restaurants and Street XO restaurant, C and C Baseline have made a name for themselves by only producing the highest quality products.

Most recently, C and C Baseline have worked with The Alchemist, to help them to display fashionable brasswork, aged bar tops, signs and features.

Mike Cooper of C & C Baseline said:

“We have been a long established provider of bespoke metalwork for The Alchemist brand. To us Media City is a bit special due to its location and statement design.

“As a company we pride ourselves in delivering the complete project package, from design development to end user at best value for our clients.”


Taylor’s Classics

Taylor’s Classics specialise in the design, manufacturing and restoration of furniture for the hospitality industry including pubs, restaurants, cafes and hotels. The firm’s collections include traditional and modern classics as well as reclaimed antique furniture.

Taylor’s Classics was founded by Martin Taylor in 1978 as dealers in antiques from the 17th century through to the art deco period. Since 2005 the company has also used its expertise to supply new high quality furniture in various classic styles to the hospitality sector.

The Alchemist Media City was a great project for Taylor’s Classics; the building is stunning and is in a dramatic setting. The Macaulay Sinclair team asked Taylor’s Classics to develop a special version of their cocktail stool and they were delighted to see how it fitted into the interior.

Roger Belham, from Taylor’s Classics, commented:

“We are always pleased to be involved with any Alchemist bar and this was another great opportunity to be involved with the team who have very clear concepts for each new restaurant that they open. It is a pleasure to help create fantastic interiors by supplying furniture from our standard portfolio or manufacturing something special to a customer’s own design.”

Roger added:

“The hospitality industry continues to provide fantastic opportunities for creative companies and we look forward to working alongside our clients in the coming months.”

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