New bar focusing on whisky to be created in hotel revamp

1269 Restaurant & Bar

A new bar and dining destination is being created in the Buckinghamshire countryside as part of the £20million transformation of a hotel into a Crowne Plaza.

1269 Restaurant & Bar (pictured) is due to open in the autumn at the 138-bedroom Crowne Plaza Gerrards Cross Hotel, formerly The Bellhouse, part of Newcastle upon Tyne-based Cairn Hotel Group.

The bar will include an area called the Whisky Vault (pictured below), where regulars can keep bottles of whisky they have bought, and a drinks menu with over 69 whiskies, focused on bourbon which the owners say will “rival any London bar”.

The restaurant will specialise in local livestock, game and butcher-style preparation using unique ingredients such as their own cured salmon and 35-days-aged Himalayan salt rock Glenarm organic steak.

The focus on local livestock has inspired the new-look interior which has been designed by SuperFutures, the interior design agency behind restaurants Chotto Matte and Barrafina in London.

It has also inspired the name which is the year that the neighbouring town of Beaconsfield was first given a charter allowing an annual market for trading livestock.

The hotel’s general manager David Jones said: “We wanted to create a dining and bar experience which would appeal to locals as well as our international clientele.

The design of 1269 Restaurant & Bar will provide multiple choices from having food freshly prepared at the chef’s table to more intimate alfresco-style dining but also serve the practical requirements demanded of a restaurant within a hotel.

“I think the local market and regular guests will also enjoy the addition of a whisky vault, where favourite bottles of whisky can be stored after purchase and brought out for special occasions.

“We also plan to create a champagne bar, cocktail mixology classes and a few surprises, so watch this space.”

Ben Webb, director of Superfutures, said: “Our research revealed there were no meat specialists in the local area, despite the area’s rich livestock heritage, so we saw an opportunity to create a fun and fresh offering that would turn the restaurant into a destination and a place to be seen.

“Our brief was to create a space that would provide an open and relaxing atmosphere that would bring to life the dining experience. A meat ageing room and a giant marble slab, positioned next to a Josper Grill, will be the main focal point of the restaurant.

“During the day, the marble table will be used as a serving counter and in the evening it transforms into a chef’s table for up to 10 people, providing a more intimate culinary experience. We plan to run charcuterie and ‘meet the butcher’-style classes once established.”

There is also an “indoor/outdoor-style” area which breaks out on to the terrace for alfresco dining in the summer.

“One of the design challenges we faced, was the long space within which to install the restaurant and bar areas,” Ben added. “Thematically the perfect bedfellow to the restaurant’s livestock theme had to be bourbon, but the areas needed to blend as well as retain their independent identity.

“Our solution is to add gradient lighting. Upon entry into either area, the guest is greeted in bright light which then gets darker as they move across the room and creates a buzzy atmosphere.

“In the bar area, we will install an onyx panel which glows orange and sets the ambience for the space. A glass whisky vault will adorn one of the walls so that guests who have purchased a special bottle of whisky can store it and drink it as and when the moment presents itself. It also makes a great area to host private meetings in an informal setting.”

Under award-winning head chef Dean Crews, previously of the Charing Cross Hotel in London, signature dishes will include Josper-roasted Buccleuch Estate Beef, aged for 28 days in 1269’s in-house ageing room, and salad of Denham Wood Pigeon, choucroute, parsnip and speck ham.

1269 Restaurant & Bar Whisky Vault

Previous The Pogues and West Cork Distillers launch Irish whiskey in UK
Next VIDEO: Bartenders enjoy a 'Working Week' at Hudson distillery