One Central street, Manchester

Judge Gill

Opening in three weeks, One Central Street is an independent bar and an antidote to Manchester’s chain pubs, says Judge Gill designer Ben Barton.

‘Unpretentious, relaxed bars are hard to come by in Manchester,’ he says. The consultancy’s brief from owner Ross Mackenzie was to ‘bring an air of sophisticated sleaze’ to the bar.

One Central Street is on a ‘sub-basement’, sunken street level with a glass front: customers can look up to ground level and passers-by can peer in voyeuristically, explains Barton.

The use of rubber, black leather, dark walls, floors and ceilings and electric pink sofas provide a contrast within, but it is the lighting that really helps swing the atmosphere at different times of day, he says.

By day, ambient, low-key lighting is designed to encourage visitors to relax in the many oversized, horseshoe-shaped booths dotted around the edge of the bar. Internet points will be installed to enable laptops to be used. On the other side of the bar, a dining area will feature restaurant tables.

By night, however, red filtered lights and neon strips will replace daytime lighting, the dining tables will be cleared to make a dancefloor and a DJ booth will provide the soundtrack for the evening.

A low central ceiling strip, adapted from the bar’s white, yellow and pink graphic, also by Judge Gill, connects the bar area and restaurant space. And coloured, translucent beads will be inlaid into wall slots with light shining through. ‘Certain graphic devices have been picked up structurally, and vice versa,’ Barton explains.

The bar is located in a listed building in Manchester with a ground-floor cobbled entrance and iron grates, which mixes original brickwork, industrial features and illuminated graphics.

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