Being the oldest cited bar in Derry, there has been a liquor licence granted to this premises since 1684. Famously known around Derry city as ” The Glue Pot ” and previously operated as a cinema from 1923 until 1986. The Doherty family have been running the Inn since 1922, so there was a lot of pressure on the Audrey Gaffney Associates team to get this new venture right!
The new venue at The River Inn Venue now houses The Silver Street Restaurant & Bar, The Snug Bar, The Cafe Bar and The Cellar Late Night Bar. All are designed and project managed by the AGA team. Due to its historic location a lot of the initial on-site issues had to be ironed out before the building works could commence but The River Inn Venue finally opened its doors this June with amazing success and reviews.
A theme had to be established to ensure that its heritage and history was respected and treasured. The discovery of some of the original cinema seating ensured that they played an integral part in the final interiors. Plush rich red velvet curtains drape the back wall like an old theatrical cinema. The mood is kept quite dramatic with the use of low level table lamps and a huge gold shaded chandelier.
Rich colours such as cobalt blue, mustard yellow, ruby red and emerald green have been used throughout the scheme to create that opulent but vibrant cinematic feel. Large enclosed booths have been created for an intimate atmosphere complete with dramatic ornate fringed pendant. Digital wall-covering capturing local scenes grace the walls to each of the booths. Each one of these depicts a well-know Derry saying.
The bar itself is stylish and elegant with that old world glamour feel. Tall frosted globe lamps are perched high on the dark walnut counter-top. Vintage mirror has been used along the back bar, set within dark walnut framed panels and illuminated with LED lighting. Hexagon tiles give a vintage twist meandering in and out along the bar front, cutting into the parquet floor as it goes.
Old copper etchings which were rediscovered during the renovation works now take pride of place within rich timber paneling, enclosing the DJ booth with a difference. Old photography and hand sketches of Derry city beautifully grave the painted panels and brick walls.
The upstairs mezzanine has been designed as the ultimate party area. Stylishly decorated with dark timber paneling, plush velvet fabric seating and vintage framed mirrors. Here party goers can survey their surroundings and the talent of course!
The cafe bar to the front has a very eclectic style where customers can enjoy teas, coffees and in-house pastries while watching the world go by. The atmosphere is airy and the finish textured. Worn leather-look benches and elegant teal blue seating has been created for comfort as well as style. Details such as the white ceramic deer heads, vintage tractor metal seats and the full wall of classic panelling all lend itself to that diverse mix.
And finally, the original snug bar has been treated to new seating, lighting and panelling which keep the original traditional bar atmosphere that tourists and locals have loved over the years. When asked to create something unique, it’s never quite that easy. There needs to be a starting point, a tipping point from what’s the norm to what this particular interior requires, or deserves. With this project being so steeped in history it was difficult piecing it all together. But it certainly was a lot of fun!