A grade II-listed fire station in Bingley in west Yorkshire has undergone a million-pound transformation into FirePit Smokehouse & Sports Bar, reports Jackie Annett. Photography by Adam Johns
Transforming a grade II-listed building in Bingley, near Bradford, into an American-style diner and sports bar is no easy task. But the designers of the FirePit have managed to enhance the building and its features bringing the fire doors from the old station back to their original red gloss, exposing the steel beams and making a feature of decorative trusses to the first floor. Inside, quirky design features include a car which has been converted into a raised DJ booth and a custom-built Airstream-inspired retro caravan which provides private diner seating.
Retaining its existing glass frontage and distinctive tower, FirePit is the latest concept to be launched by Ormsborough, the parent company of Potting Shed Trading which already owns Potting Shed bar and gardens in Bingley.
General manager Benjamin Comstive said he wanted to keep some of the original features of the previous fire station while still having fun with the fire theme. “Because it’s the old fire station, this place is a real landmark in Bingley so we’ve kept lots of original features, inside and outside, and we’ve added some quirky touches like fire hoses and ladders to the decoration so there will be plenty of talking points and things to keep people interested as they go round the building.”
Interior designer Hannah Joseph from JS Design Partnership in nearby Shipley was brought in to help bring the vision to life. “I came up with some design ideas, sourced images from diners in America – red leathers, shiny metalwork – and then gave the venue a British industrial twist by adding mesh, reclaimed timbers and galvanized metal,” she says.
The old fire station is a grade II-listed building which was a challenge as it meant that designers couldn’t make drastic changes but had to work with and enhance the building and its features. The fire doors from the old station had been painted black, so designers brought them back to the original red gloss, exposing steel beams, and making a feature of decorative trusses to the first floor.
“One of the main pieces we were keen to use was an Airstream-style caravan which we had specially made,” Hannah adds. “I found images of caravans used in America. We developed a design based on those and then decided to fit it out inside with leather booth seating to make it into a private dining space.
“We had a specialist shopfitter, Peter McCarrick from Adept Retail Solutions, make it, and it was pieced together on site because it was too big to take up the stairs. We also converted the front of an original Chevrolet into a DJ pod, and used parts from American cars including original hubcaps and number plates sourced online in the interior design.”
The finished look can only be described as an Americana industrial grunge look combined with original fire station features. The bar offers American-themed cocktails and US beers as well as cool craft cans. The food offering includes a barbecue smokehouse menu, food that can translate into a diner restaurant, and American bar food like tacos, wings, nachos. They are looking to introduce special midweek nights such as Rib & Bib Monday, Taco Tuesday and Hot Dog & Wings Wednesday.
After the success of this first outing for FirePit, Ormsborough has is now preparing to open a second site for the concept in the Flemingate Centre in the centre of Beverley, near Hull, bringing its American flavours to east Yorkshire.
FirePit Smokehouse & Sports Bar, The Old Fire Station, Market Street, Bingley BD16 2HP
Behind the scenes
Interior design: JS Design Partnership
Shopfitting: Adept Retail Solutions
Originally published in the May 2017 print edition of Bar magazine.