A new city centre bar will create more than 70 jobs, according to its operations director Rob Green.
The Establishment, was officially opened by the mayor of Wakefield Coun Harry Ellis on Wednesday. It is on the corner of Bank Street and Westgate in what was formerly Buzz Bar and a part of Unity Hall.
Unity Bars and Clubs, the company behind The Establishment, has worked closely with the Heritage Council and spent months sympathetically restoring the Grade II-Listed building, opening up rooms, uncovering brick walls, refurbishing cobbled streets and finding hidden doorways.
The furniture and fixtures have an industrial theme to reflect the building’s previous use as the headquarters of the local Cooperative Society and one area has been styled to recreate a Victorian street scene.
Mr Green said: “We wanted to create somewhere for the more mature drinkers of Wakefield, somewhere they can meet friends in a nice atmosphere without crowds of people and music so loud they can’t have a conversation.
“We will have live music every weekend in the back room but it will be acoustic and reflect the musical tastes of our customers.” The first event tonight is a Michael Buble tribute and regular poetry nights are also planned in the new year.
An innovative wall-mounted glass-fronted cellar dominates the main room and there’s an authentic pizza oven in one corner of the bar.
Mr Green added “We’ve invested a lot of money in this new venture and once we’re fully up and running we’ll employ upwards of 70 people and will be open seven days a week.”
Poet Ian McMillan was commissioned to write a poem to celebrate the opening of the bar. Called I’m In The Establishment, he can be seen and heard reading it on The Establishment’s Facebook page.