Last Look At Manchester's Old Reform Club Before It's Transformed
Looking out across King Street from the turrets of Manchester’s old Reform Club, history seems to flicker to life from the shadows of its candlelit dining room.
Founded as a gentlemen’s club for Liberal politicians and opened by then Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone in 1871, it was here that he and the likes of Winston Churchill and Lloyd George would address the people of Manchester from its balustraded balcony, and where the city’s great and good would gather to unwind inside.
After closing in 1988, it went on to become the notorious Reform restaurant and, latterly, Room, which shut at the beginning of last year. The space has stood empty ever since.
Now, this grand old room is about to get a new lease of life as a huge new Grand Pacific bar and restaurant, taking the former name of the terrace at Living Ventures’ pan-Asian restaurant Australasia in Spinningfields - although we’re told it will be an entirely new standalone venue.
“We love the name,” said CEO Jeremy Roberts, who co-founded the hospitality empire with the late Tim Bacon .
“It epitomises what we want to do with the space: where Great Britain meets the Pacific, taking inspiration from the great hotels of the colonies - places like Raffles in its heyday - both in design and the all-day food menu.”
Designed by architect Edward Salomons, the grade II* listed building’s Gothic splendour makes an impressive, if imposing, canvas for interiors guru Michelle Derbyshire (Australasia, Artisan) to work with.
An enormous oak staircase swirls up from street level to the entrance hall on the first floor, where a statue of Gladstone stands guard at the door.
Behind it lies the magnificent dining room, where a pair of palatial fireplaces stand opposite the ornate windows that swoop right up to the pitch pine ceiling.
No wonder then that Living Ventures snapped it up within seconds of hearing Room had closed. Tim described it last year as the quickest deal they’d ever made .
“It’s a stunning space and it’s something that really excited Tim and his design passion,” said Jeremy.
“It’s going to be great to bring it back to life.”
Work will begin on the site this month and it is expected to open in spring 2017.
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