Bar gives glimpse into social distancing revamp with private pods

A Glasgow bar has given a glimpse of its dramatic revamp in a bid to comply with social distancing measures when it is allowed to reopen.

Licensee Neil Douglas has renovated the Ardnamurchan in Hope Street to create 21 private dining and drinking spaces.

Perspex screens divide the tables of the restaurant and line the bar with Mr Douglas hoping the measures meet health and safety consultant approval.

Bar
Neil and Julie Douglas at the bar with Perspex screens (Gibson Digital 2020/PA)

The venue will have a one-way system, infrared taps and toilet flushes plus hand sanitisers in place for customers who can continue to walk in off the street and pay by cash – or pre-book online and make contactless payments.

Mr Douglas, who also owns two Mediterranean restaurants in Glasgow, said: “We’re fortunate to have a large venue.

“We’ve taken out a third of our seating to separate customers and the layout will work whether people have to maintain a one or two metre distance.

“The private spaces work really well and people will be able to pre book the one they want.”

He added: “Having tried them out with my own children, I know they’re perfect for families – they give the kids a bit more space than usual and naturally encourage them to stay close to their table.

Ardnamurchan
The Ardnamurchan in Hope Street, Glasgow (Gibson Digital/PA)

“For those customers wanting to sit at the bar, there’s a discrete Perspex screen to divide them from staff.”

Mr Douglas also owns Basils in Newhaven, Edinburgh, which was refurbished in 2019, and hopes both venues will be among the first to open in Scotland when given the go-ahead.

The 17 Ardnamurchan and 11 Basil staff – who have all been furloughed – have been given online training and will receive inductions before doors open.

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The bar features a one-way system, infrared taps and toilet flushes plus hand sanitisers (Gibson Digital/PA)

Mr Douglas said: “We got on the case and ordered quickly and I’m glad we did as there’s such a high demand it has taken more than a month to get the Perspex in.”

He added: “Our aim is to keep all the character and ambience of the venues and maintain a great experience for customers while providing the safety measures that many will want.

“We’ll be ready whenever the go-head to reopen comes.”

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