Life’s a beach at New World Trading Company’s Liverpool bar The Club House. Pictures by James Brown
The style and beauty of a beach house in Long Island’s glamorous Hamptons have come to Liverpool with the opening of a stunning new bar and restaurant. Covering 7,000 square feet, The Club House is the latest concept from leading operator New World Trading Company (NWTC) which is behind the likes of The Oast House in Manchester and the ever-expanding The Botanist group.
The new venue, part of the Liverpool One city centre leisure and retail development, is described as a “perfect getaway” and a “recreational retreat”. Like other NWTC bars, it has been designed by Paul Danson Imagineering, creating something with a strong stand-alone design statement rather than “just another chain roll-out”. Paul explains: “I thought about a building which had a connection to the close proximity of the site to the sea, something romantic and themed with a great history and strong storyline.”
Having visited The Hamptons – the glamorous getaway for the rich and famous – he came up with the concept of a New England house on a beautiful sandy beach. “A house perhaps that was once a water sports club in its early days, owned by a wealthy American family who converted it into their family summer retreat. The story unfolds that the New World Trading Company saw it up for sale and decided to acquire it and convert it into a stylish bar and restaurant, known as The Club House.”
Paul wanted people to feel, as they entered, that this was previously a home. The entrance foyer, with a striking chandelier made of wine glasses, leads to a grand staircase that might once have taken you up to the family’s bedrooms or lounge areas. As well as the bar and 200-cover split-level restaurant, there is a wrap-around first floor terrace and a private dining room for up to 15 guests plus a dedicated beer tasting room with self-service taps. A large outdoor area can cater for up to 400 covers, featuring an outside bar and barbecue, with outdoor events planned throughout the year. The Club House also hosts live music every day, with evening gigs and lazy Sunday afternoon sessions thanks to musicians on piano and guitar accompanied by a singer.
There is a femininity and elegance to the interior design, underpinned with strength in form through heavy-detailing doors. With surrounding white panelling at dado height, the well proportioned rooms and spaces allow people to pass easily through from the bar to the restaurant, ensuring all the areas feel connected. Low-level ambient lighting, designed by Tyson Lighting, complements the pastel colour scheme and seaside wall-painted murals, with clear glass pendants fashioned from natural materials such as wicker and neutral fabrics including hessian to reflect the sandy tones.
Tyson Lighting, which worked with Paul Danson Imagineering on the crystal glass chandelier above the staircase, also created another stand-out feature – a pendant light resembling a hot air balloon. Measuring 1.6 metres wide and 3.2 metres high, it features a basket made of rolled steel and decorative banding.
Props and dressings, sourced from suppliers and house clearance specialists all over the UK and Ireland, add to the residential feel. ‘’I wanted all the pictures on the walls to be as if the family had simply left them hanging and the dressings had been bought off the family who previously owned the house,” Paul explains. All the timbers were sourced in Ireland, especially the exterior cladding. “I always insist on using reclaimed timbers on a project like this, with coats and coats of paint on. You just can’t ever get that authentic look that the building has been standing for years with new timber. A decorator trying to make it look old is never the same – a mistake made by many.”
NWTC’s investment included £100,000 solely in pre-opening training for the team which is made up of around 100 staff. This is to ensure The Club House offers “first-class friendly service” to match the high quality of the interiors, food and drinks. As well as a good selection of wines and champagne, the bar offers a range of classic cocktails such as a Negroni and Sangria. Six classics are available on tap, for serving over ice, including a Mojito, Pina Colada, Strawberry Daiquiri and – of course – a Long Island Iced Tea and Sex on the Beach. The menu also features an incredible selection of bottled beers from around the world, from wheat beers, Trappist ales and blondes to IPAs, fruity brews and dark beers, matched by a strong selection of ciders.
Open seven days a week from noon to as late as 2am at weekends, The Club House offers all-day dining, focused on deli, rotisserie and barbecue-style food. Its arrival follows NWTC’s investment in The Smugglers Cove – home to over 150 rums – which opened in Albert Dock in 2013. “Following the huge success of The Smugglers Cove, we are massively excited to return to Liverpool,” says NWTC’s managing director Chris Hill. “The city is the obvious choice for this brand new concept and will be a great addition to what is already on offer at Liverpool One.”
The Club House, Chavasse Park, Liverpool One, Liverpool L2 9SQ
Tel: 0151 709 5366
Behind the scenes
Design: Paul Danson Imagineering
Main contractor: Charles Evans Shopfitters
Bar and kitchen: Dawnvale
Lighting: Tyson Lighting
Music: Genre Music
M&E: McInnes Consulting
Bar systems: ServaClean
Audio system: Adlib, Bose
With its variety of spaces, The Club House needed a sound system that delivered on coverage and quality inside and out while also being unobtrusive and complementing the quality of the design. NWTC brought in systems integrator Adlib which specified Bose speakers. Splitting the building into seven audio zones, the system has been designed to support recorded music for quieter times and live music during peak periods.
Adlib selected Bose FreeSpace 3 satellite speakers with concealed bass for the main restaurant space, Bose FreeSpace DS100F in the private dining room and FreeSpace DS100SE environmental speakers for the outside areas. The results meet the high standards of music consultancy Genre Music which is looking after music programming for The Club House. “The Bose speakers have given us fantastic audio coverage in the restaurant, private dining room and outdoor spaces,” says Genre Music’s managing director, Steven Walter. “I have had numerous comments from managers and musicians about the excellent quality of the sound.”
Originally published in the May 2016 print edition of Bar magazine.