Graze, Bath

Frances Taylor Photography Graze Bath barBath Ales has opened its third Graze bar and restaurant as part of a new development in central Bath

For its third Graze bar and restaurant, Bath Ales has taken inspiration from New York. After opening the first in Bristol in 2009 and a second in Cirencester in May last year, the latest opening in Bath is the brewer’s biggest site for the concept, covering over 5,000 square feet.

Graze takes up the entire first floor of a new food quarter that has been created in and around the arches of the 19th-century Bath Spa station built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. It combines a bar with a 140-cover restaurant specialising in steaks plus – for the first time – its own microbrewery. “We’ve taken inspiration from the great bars and chophouses in London and New York to give this bar its own unique character,” says Bath Ales’ retail director Robin Couling.

Graze has two large terraces for alfresco drinking and dining in a city where outside dining is rare. New York has also provided inspiration here: the trackside terrace has been broken up into more intimate areas with high rusted metal tanks planted with a range of grasses, recalling Manhattan’s High Line – a former elevated railway transformed into a long narrow public park. Scattered about Graze’s “post-industrial garden” are life-size white sculptures of farmyard animals, reflecting the meaty food menu and tying in with Bath Ales’ tongue-in-cheek marketing.

As with the other two sites, Bath Ales has again worked with hospitality specialist Simple Simon Design and its two creative heads, Simon Jones and Ben Rolls. The layout of the interior has been kept intentionally low level wherever possible to emphasise the floor-to-ceiling glass walls that line its longest sides, offering views across Bath on two sides.

Ben says: “To capture the essence of Bath Ales’ vision we have introduced a meat locker visible from the restaurant, counter dining rarely seen in the UK outside London, and a central island bar to maximise service potential on busy days. Despite this open layout, there is a sense of intimacy introduced by a selection of pendant lighting styles and by a variety of seating.”

Internally the whole space is tied together under a sculpted ceiling raft of timber fins, which allows maintenance access to the services that run the length of the building. There is an abundance of wood, including dark-stained industrial timber flooring, rough-sawn oak walls and stained ash for the bar fronts. The dining counter is finished in Graze’s signature blue brick tiles, set off by a flash of polished copper immediately beneath the two-tier counter and repeated in the polished pendants hanging above.

With Bath city centre having a history dating back to the Romans, any construction is a planning challenge. Simon adds: “We have worked closely with the local authority to gain their trust, enabling us to fulfil the building’s potential and to install exterior signage on the doorstep of a Unesco world heritage site, and on the face of a grade II* listed building.”

The microbrewery at Graze was due to produce its first bespoke beer at the end of February, but the bar serves Bath Ales’ full selection, including the flagship Bath Gem. There are also seasonal brews and other craft beers from around the world, plus an extensive range of wines from boutique producers and premium spirits and liqueurs.

Building on the reputation of Graze in Bristol and Cirencester, the new Graze Bar, Brewery & Chophouse sources high-quality British meat, cooked in a Josper charcoal oven. There is a particular emphasis on dry aged steak, but there is also a selection of small plates, fish, shellfish dishes and vegetarian options as well as seasonal specials. “This is a very exciting development for Bath Ales,” Robin says. “It will deliver what we are best at – a great pint of cask beer and the best-quality dining under one roof.”

Graze, 9 Brunel Square, Bath BA1 1SX.
Tel: 01225 429 392

Frances Taylor Photography Graze Bath

Who did it
Design: Simple Simon Design
Contractor: Applied Heritage
Patterned floor tiles: Structural Skins
Pendant lights: Original BTC, Cecilie Manz
Chairs and pedestal tables: Warings
Ventilation systems: Chapman Ventilation
Kitchen counter tiles: Solus Ceramics
Python tubes: Resurgem Engineering

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