By Matthew Lynas
Forfar’s 10 Café Bar, which first opened its doors at 10 Castle Street on October 10, 2010, has had its capacity increased as part of a recent refurbishment, extending a British theme that was sparked by a desire to recreate one very famous door.
“We decided to replicate the door and that was when I decided we’d adopt the [Number 10] font as the bar’s graphic,” said Alan Hampton, who owns and operates 10 Café Bar with his wife Caroline.
As the venue is in a listed building it took two years to get consent.
From the door and a graphic, the British theme has snowballed throughout the venue.
The ladies’ and gents’ toilets have been re-branded ‘Thatcher’ and ‘Churchill’, while the bar’s fireplace sports a reclaimed Royal Crest from the Brompton Street entrance of Harrods in London.
The British theme of the venue, which ranges from Union Jack tables to decorative punk-era vinyl sleeves, extends to the newly created upstairs area where Rolls Royce ‘spirit of ecstasy’ bonnet ornaments feature at the top of the stairs.
Extending the venue to the upper level was the intention almost from the outset, according to Hampton.
“We were rated for 80 people downstairs but early on we were absolutely jam-packed and turning business away so it came to the point we looked upstairs and thought it would release some pressure,” he said.
Opening the upstairs area to the public, however, wasn’t without its challenges.
As the venue occupies a listed building, it took Hampton “the best part of two years” to get building consent.
Working with architect Paul J Wilson, Hampton was able to gain consent on the condition that the floor was strengthened to handle the additional load.
Starting in December 2013, construction work on the project was carried out by Kevin and Duncan Jamieson over a six-month period while the venue continued to trade.
Somebody asked if we would have to rename it St Andrew’s House?
The upstairs area was opened to the public as ‘The Cabinet Rooms’ in May of this year, boosting 10 Café Bar’s capacity by 50 and allowing the venue to broaden its offer.
“One great thing we’ve done is we now have the ability to cater to small functions,” said Hampton.
With the extra floor space, the bar continues to hit capacity at the weekends, claimed Hampton.
And despite the political flavour to the venue, Hampton insisted on staying out of the debate over Scottish independence.
“Somebody asked me if we go independent do we have to rename it St Andrew’s House, but I’m remaining neutral on the subject,” he said.
The one thing Hampton would confirm is that, ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, there will still be a ‘Number 10’ in Forfar once the votes are counted.