Top to toe refurbishment and reinvention of the original Popolo bar xsite designed for the same clients in 2005. All good things come to an end and having sold the Popolo name the decision was taken to make a completely clean break with the past and design two new bars and restaurant in the original basement and ground floor space on Newcastle’s Pilgrim Street. The offer focuses on Barbecue meat from the smoker, craft beer and cocktails, and the brief for the space was to create something clean, simple and distinct from its previous Polopo incarnation but every bit as convivial.
xsite worked alongside graphics and branding agency Dirty Hands and Furniture designers/makers RASKL in realising the space - the same team responsible for previous successful interiors for the same client at DATbar and 9Bar.
The principle ground floor bar space off Pilgrim Street was stripped back to simple neutral, natural finishes – painted timber boarding, vintage hardwood parquet block flooring and washed zinc pressed ceiling tiles – leaving the reclad and refurbished central horseshoe bar as the focal point. At its centre the ‘altar of beer’ an illuminated Krion clad tower housing 31 beer taps. Removing beer fonts and other clutter from the bar itself cleared views across the space and allowed for dining and drinking at the bar counter. The upper ground floor bar space was converted into a dining area with RASKL’s slatted Larch bench seats arranged around an open kitchen. A covered outdoor drinking and dining area was then created to the rear in a space formally given over to bin storage and service access.
Finally, in recognition of the role Popolo had as Newcastle’s favourite cocktail venue, the former basement kitchen was converted into a dark, intimate and very underground cocktail bar concealed behind a reclaimed timber prison door.