New Derby bar to focus on cocktails, craft beer and spirits

Orange tree cocktail Scott Choucino

A former bar in Derby town centre is being completely revamped into a new destination for cocktails, craft beers and premium spirits including an extensive gin selection.

Owners Ben Hings and Gareth Smith are due to open The Orange Tree in George Street on September 23 after a complete renovation of what was known as Bar 5.

Dating back to 1911, the building was originally built as offices for the local gas works and will see a return of some of its post-Victorian charm.

Split over two floors, it will open during the evenings with a heavy focus on cocktails using only premium spirits plus craft beers and an extensive gin selection.

Downstairs, cosy booth seating and snug areas aim to give it the feeling of stepping back in time, like a low-lit private members club, with lots of sumptuous velvet and historic quirks.

The upstairs space, with exposed beams and a second bar, will be ideal for private parties and functions, with room for up to 100 people. There is also some outside space.

The drinks menu, including cocktails (pictured), has been designed by general manager Patrick Bogie, who was previously assistant manager at Ben and Gareth’s popular late-night venue The Kelso in Loughborough.

Patrick said: “I’ve loved being able to get involved in the planning stages of the Orange Tree and have been able to build a cocktail menu from scratch.

“In keeping with the building, it features lots of classic vintage cocktails such as the Negroni which is a gin-based drink, in this case using local distillery Burleighs London dry gin, but I’ve also added some unusual and very modern options such as the Pineapple & Sage Margarita.

“There will be a good selection of beers too, with local ale and craft on offer, and a wine selection created by Leicestershire-based Matt Francis Fine Wines too.”

Ben and Gareth have been friends since meeting at college over 30 years ago and opened their first bar, The Orange Tree, in High Street, Leicester, in 1997. They have gone on to successfully open and run six venues across the East Midlands.

Gareth said: “We have been looking for a new bar to add to the group for over a year now and have long had our eyes on Derby. We were actually viewing somewhere else in the city when we came across this place and just fell in love with the building.

“It’s going to be a really great addition to our business and will hopefully be somewhere the people of Derby will love to visit.”

Ahead of the launch of its website, visit Facebook for updates on the bar at

Photograph by Scott Choucino.

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