Smack bites: the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards

Smack in Leamington Spa
A club in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, beat off competition from venues across the UK to be named best bar in the annual Restaurant & Bar Design Awards last night. The striking black-and-white interiors  of Smack impressed judges to also win the category for best independent bar or club.

Smack was designed by Steve Smith who has owned the venue for 12 years. After launching it as Sugar in 1999, he refurbished the venue and changed the name to Smack in 2007. It was completely revamped last year with new interiors designed by Steve, with support from architect Adrian Baynes of Baynes & Co. The concept is described as “shock and awe”, with graffiti-like writing on the walls, floors and ceilings, illuminated floors and walls plastered with Polaroids of customers, plus a room where LED lighting creates spectacular, dizzying effects around the bar.

The Bar at Coworth Park
The award for best multiple bar or club went to The Grosvenor Café which was opened by operator G1 Group at The Grosvenor cinema and music venue in Glasgow’s West End in the former site of The Loft. The brief for Glasgow-based practice Surface-ID was to transform the staid, under-used cavernous bar into a multi-functional flexible venue with a real focus on good food, live music and customer choice.

The best restaurant or bar in a hotel was The Bar – one of several bars at Coworth Park, the five-star hotel opened by the Dorchester Collection near Ascot in Berkshire. The cocktail bar was designed by Fox Linton Associates with an elegant and refined feel, reflecting the hotel’s mix of classic and contemporary interiors. It uses English smoked oak timber floors, natural stone and decorative etched mirror panelling.

The Barbican Lounge
Best restaurant, bar or club in another space – in other words, not stand-alone or in a hotel – was the Barbican Foodhall, a restaurant and shop developed as part of the revamped interiors of the Barbican Centre in London. The challenge was to create a new and contemporary space that integrated with the original architectural style of the complex that opened in 1981. It was designed by SHH which also won the award for best independent restaurant for the striking Barbican Lounge within the same building.

The award for best pub went to Stravaigin, an award-winning bar and restaurant in Glasgow’s West End since 1994. Last year, it doubled in size and underwent a major refurbishment, designed by Surface-ID. The new space reflects the “eat global, think local” ethos of the restaurant and used salvaged materials.

Grosvenor Cafe
Reflecting the international scope of the awards, there were 10 bars shortlisted from all over the world. The eventual winner was the Tazmania Ballroom, an exclusive bar and club opened in the LKF Hotel in Hong Kong’s Central district by entrepreneur Gilbert Yeung Kei-lung. It was designed by Tom Dixon’s Design Research Studio and lead designer Helene Bangsbo Andersen, with a brief to hint towards James Bond and the associated retro high-tech references. They created a glamorous space that combines a pool hall with a nightclub and bar – the golden pool tables are lifted up to the ceiling to make space for dancing.

The Restaurant & Bar Design Awards were held at the East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf, London, attracting many of the world’s leading designers and architects. The attendees at the awards ceremony enjoyed cocktails made by bartenders from consultancy Shaker, with Gin Mare, Ketel One vodka, BrewDog beers and The Macallan whisky as key partners. The canapés were served on trays designed in collaboration with shortlisted designers such as Lifeforms Design, Fusion DNA and SHH.

The awards attracted more than 300 entries from over 40 countries. The winners were as follows:

Best bar
Smack in Leamington Spa, designed by Steve Smith

Best restaurant
Busaba Eathai in Bicester, designed by David Archer Architects

Independent bar or club
Smack in Leamington Spa, designed by Steve Smith

Multiple bar or club
Grosvenor Café in Glasgow, designed by Surface-ID

Restaurant or bar in a hotel
The Bar at Coworth Park, designed by Fox Linton Associates

Restaurant, bar or club in another space
Barbican Foodhall in London, designed by SHH

Best pub
Stravaigin in Glasgow, designed by Surface-ID

Tazmania Ballroom
[/captionInternational bar
Tazmania Ballroom in Hong Kong, designed by Design Research Studio

Independent restaurant
Barbican Lounge in London, designed by SHH

Multiple restaurant
Busaba Eathai in Bicester, designed by David Archer Architects

Café or fast food
Costa Coffee in Great Portland Street, London, designed by Stiff + Trevillion

Best lighting
Chan at The Met Hotel in Thessaloniki, Greece, with lighting by Andy Martin Studio

International restaurant (joint winners)
Look Out Café in Niseko, Japan, designed by Design Spirits
Cave in Sydney, Australia, designed by Koichi Takada

Identity and web design
Dock Kitchen, London, with design by Here Design

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