GOODS | Katherine Huie’s Handcrafted Foe & Dear Sapphire Collection Now At Cavalier

September 19, 2014 

Cavalier is located at #217-207 W. Hastings St. in Vancouver, BC | 604-681-0047 | www.cavaliergastown.com

Cavalier is located at #217-207 W. Hastings St. in Vancouver, BC | 604-681-0047 | www.cavaliergastown.com

The GOODS from Cavalier

Vancouver, BC | Ready or not, Fall is here! Sapphires are the birthstone for September as well as the traditional gift for 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries. While blue is the gemstone’s traditional colour, they also come in stunning hues of pink, yellow, orange, purple, and even green. So if you’re in the market for a memorable gift, or just want to treat yourself to a fall statement piece, stop on by Cavalier to check out offerings from our handcrafted, ethically sourced sapphire collections. We are also featuring an exclusive Foe and Dear Sapphire Collection. Featuring rough blue sapphire gemstones set in 14K gold fill. Not only is each piece affordable, they are also unique and handcrafted by Vancouver’s own Katherine Huie. Read more

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS | Gastown’s Rowan Sky On The Hunt For Dedicated Shoe Lover

September 18, 2014 

Gastown’s Rowan Sky is located at 334 Cordova Street West in Vancouver BC | 604.568.2075 | www.rowansky.com

The GOODS from Rowan Sky

Vancouver, BC | We’re looking for a fashion savvy part-time sales associate who is detail-focused and passionate about footwear, bags, and jewelry. The successful candidate will be a self-starter who is motivated to achieve sales goals and has the capacity to work one on one and successfully in a team. Dedication to being on time and working efficiently are musts, as is computer experience (Mac OS, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.) and the ability to further our social media presence. You will also need to climb ladders and lift up to 25lbs. Extra languages spoken will be helpful. We can offer proper training to excel within our company and in the fashion business, sales incentives after probation period, employee discounts on all merchandise, and education on maintaining our blog and website. Pay negotiable based on experience. Send resumes to info [at] rowansky.com. Read more

HOODS | On A Gastown Walk With The Duo Behind Local Design Firm “Falken Reynolds”

September 16, 2014 

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by Luis Valdizon | Interior designers Chad Falkenberg and Kelly Reynolds, founders of local design house Falken Reynolds, recently took me on a leisurely Q&A walk through their Gastown neighbourhood…

Tell me about yourselves and your respective roles in your company? Kelly and I formed Falken Reynolds two years ago. We’ve been partners in life for almost nine years now and it was always part of the plan to work together. We both transitioned to being professional designers after having fairly colourful career paths. Kelly was a sailor in the Canadian Navy, a cop in the VPD, a flight attendant, and a hotel manager before making the shift almost ten years ago. I grew up spending summers on horse ranches in Texas and Arizona; studied finance and psychology; taught business at a university in Lithuania; and had an international marketing job before starting design school in Barcelona.

While one of us takes the lead on each project we rely heavily on each other for input, especially during the early conceptual phases. We share the same perspectives on design – that spaces should be relevant to both the people using them as well as the space’s context; that style is deeply personal and subjective and our role is to create a space that reflects what makes each client unique; and that design is constantly evolving and reacting to culture, which is why we travel to Milan each year for iSaloni, the most important event on the contemporary design calendar.

You work and live in Gastown. Why? We moved to Gastown eight years ago because we both craved the authenticity that comes from so many segments of society rubbing shoulders everyday. There is a freedom that comes from the diversity here. [It] stimulates creativity, collaboration, encouragement – all the ingredients that give entrepreneurs the support they need to be successful. Neighbourhoods and cities that aspire for too much homogeny can stifle creativity and draw a person’s focus more towards fitting in than finding their own way. So much of this atmosphere in Gastown stems from the architecture and urban planning of densely packed low-rise buildings with a mix of residential and commercial use. The streets are active and familiar because so many people live and work here – it feels really intimate and neighbourly because people are out and about doing their thing.

You’ve taken a role as an IDSWest ambassador. How has the experience been? Talking about design is pretty natural for us so taking on the role of ambassadors has been a great fit. After ten years, IDSwest has become the anchor event for a month of design activities in Vancouver. When we travel to Milan one of the things that is so inspiring is the critical mass of people (350,000 this year) who are talking about how design impacts our lives – and that same energy is alive in Vancouver over the month of September. Craftsmen and manufacturers are all showing their latest designs and products and from that collective showing we can see the trend line of how society will be living in the years to come. Design fairs are a bit like seeing into the future, just like fashion weeks are – eventually all the custom, high end design trickles down to price points that are more affordable and available. The most exciting thing about IDSwest is bringing so many creative minds under one roof – over the years we have met countless people who we end up working with. There has been a real shift to designers being more open and collaborative (helped by a relatively strong economy and the internet) that we are starting to see how much more we can do when we work together.

We’re designing Shed, the central bar for IDSwest, presented by Caesarstone, and we are working with some of Vancouver’s best design companies to bring it together: Benson, Inform Interiors, And Light, Object Outdoors, Synlawn and Moosehead Contracting. Our taking off point for the concept was a garden party in an abandoned west coast back yard. A lot of the materials that will be used for Shed will be repurposed in the restaurant we’re designing in Chinatown, Sai Woo. It’s true to our perspective on being “green” – build with better quality materials that last longer and can be reused and recycled.

We have a few other things going in the show this year too – we’re designing a couture chair we’ve named Dauphine, for William Switzer, which will be exhibited along with six other chairs designed by leading interior designers. We’re exploring youthful west coast luxury – if Marie Antoinette moved to Gastown this would be her chair… We’re also speaking on the Gray Conversation stage about our career transition to design, as well as sharing our story of being shortlisted for two categories for Western Living’s Designers of the Year.

Who is currently inspiring you in your neighbourhood? We’re lucky to call a lot of our Gastown neighbours and colleagues our friends – so many great people giving 110% everyday and having success in Vancouver as well as an international stage. Their vision and determination for their own businesses has collectively elevated the neighbourhood and gained international recognition as one of the best spots to live and work. We know how lucky we are to be here and experience this moment. There are too many people to name everyone but here are a few that really stand out:

Niels and Nancy Bendtsen from Inform were pioneers in Gastown and have been so supportive to us and so many emerging designers – we have watched them in action in Milan where they are just as comfortable and recognized as they are in Vancouver.

The crew from Roden Gray has been on the cutting edge of mens fashion. Rob Lo is always working on a new and exciting project – we are always inspired by how they run their business and Rob has become a great friend.

The same goes for Jonathon from Litchfield, Paul from L’Abattoir and the crew at Timbertrain – They all work so hard at being excellent at what they do and it shows in the success they have with their business.

When Michael and Charlie from Bailey Nelson approached us to work on their Canadian flagship shop we jumped at the opportunity because we could all see the potential for the rather derelict site on the corner of Cambie and Cordova. They were able to see past the decades of decay and the crumbling building and then trust us to turn it into something fresh and welcoming. We are super happy with the result and hope it inspires other entrepreneurs to set up shop in the neighbourhood.

Name three of your favourite architectural or design landmarks that your neighbourhood offers? The digital photo of the Gastown Riot by Stan Douglas [Abbott & Cordova]. The roof at Inform Interiors – it’s a private gem and one of the best examples of how to keep the heritage of a building on the street and redevelop it for contemporary use. Maple Tree Square – there is so much potential with this space. Even though there have been many failed attempts at improving it, the bones of the square are intact. When the city takes another crack at improving it we’d love to part of imagining how to make it a better public gathering place.

EXPLORE THIS NEIGHBOURHOOD

VANCOUVERITES | 4 Minutes With Nancy Bendtsen Of Gastown’s “Inform Interiors”

September 12, 2014 

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by Grady Mitchell | In anticipation of the Interior Design Show West coming up September 25-28 at the Vancouver Convention Center, we met with Nancy Bendtsen from Inform Interiors to discuss the importance of design in everyday life.

Nancy’s husband, Niels, launched Inform half a century ago when he was just 19. At that time the Pacific Northwest was an epicentre for progressive design. Originally the store sold the handiwork of Niel’s father, who at 12 was pulled from school to apprentice as a Danish cabinet maker. Gradually Niels added other brands and designers, and now Inform, with its twin Gastown locations, is a touchstone of home design in Vancouver.

Like Niels, Nancy is genetically predisposed to be a design lover. When Allan Fleming updated the CN logo in 1960 – a long-overdue revamp that Marshall McLuhan declared iconic – Nancy’s mother found the sleek new lettering so alluring that she packed a young Nancy and herself into the car, drove to the nearest station, and took the shortest possible round trip, just to be on a train featuring the polished logo.

Later Nancy studied architecture at L’ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and at the University of Toronto. Architecture, she says, is less about schematics and flair than it is a general education. “You think over a lot of big things. It was more overall thinking; about humanity, about how people live.”

The things Nancy deems important are often small details that others overlook. “Everything you touch,” she says. “Door handles, cutlery.” Rather than a Dwell-ready house packed with curated spaces, it’s important to slowly collect pieces you truly enjoy, on both an aesthetic and functional level. “You don’t have to have a lot of stuff,” Nancy says, “just stuff you really love.”

As far as IDS West’s imminence is concerned, Nancy is excited for London-based lighting designer Michael Anastassiades, whose work she describes as “very architectural, geometric.” Rub shoulders with Nancy, Michael, and a host of other design aficionados at the Vancouver Conference Center from September 25-28 for IDS West.

GOODS | Gastown’s “L’Abattoir” Opens For Lunch, Launches New Private Dining Space

September 9, 2014 

L’Abattoir is located at 217 Carrall St in Vancouver’s Gastown neighbourhood | 604-568-1701 | www.labattoir.ca

L’Abattoir is located at 217 Carrall St in Vancouver’s Gastown neighbourhood | 604-568-1701 | www.labattoir.ca

The GOODS from L’Abattoir

Vancouver, BC | Originally offering an evenings-only menu, Gastown’s French inspired L’Abattoir restaurant will now be opening its doors earlier to include lunch during the week.

From Monday to Friday between 11:30 and 2:30 a simple and elegant menu has been crafted to please afternoon appetites. The classic and clean flavours that characterize L’Abattoir’s nightly fare have been carried onto their lunchtime menu. Highlights include Steelhead served with fried potatoes, dill and horseradish; a shrimp, tomato and potato frittata finished in creamy hollandaise and peppery arugula; and a beef dip with tongue, salad, thickly cut fries and jus gras for dipping. Diners can choose between a two or three course menu or select a meal a la carte.

Behind the bar, resident expert Shaun Layton has designed some new cocktail creations to compliment lunchtime dining. This includes the House Aperol Spritz, which bottles charged white wine with Aperol, seltzer and orange, as well as their daily feature Vermouth on the rocks served with a seasonal garnish. In homage to the power lunches of the past, a martini also graces the midday menu, made with Tanqueray 10, Dolin Dry and pickled onions. Non-alcoholic options include daily bottled house made iced teas and bottled cold brewed JJ Bean coffee.

Lunch aside; L’Abattoir is also pleased to announce the debut of their private dining room. This 1,200 sq ft. facility is situated just adjacent to the regular dining room and features historical architectural elements complimented by a contemporary design aesthetic. Exposed brick walls, beamed ceilings and steel framed windows speak to the history of the space while sleek glass, steel accents and custom chandeliers add a modern finish.

Entering through the kitchen the vintage Bonnet range oven takes center stage and denotes the quality dining experience awaiting guests. While large enough for 50 people seated or 80 standing, the room retains an intimate ambiance and a noise-reducing barrier blocks out the nightly hustle and bustle of the regular dining room. Basked in ample natural light, the private dining room at L’Abattoir is an elegant space with old world charm easily suited for any occasion, from private gatherings and celebrations to corporate functions and meetings. Read more

DIVE BARS | Sneaking Cheekies At “Gringo”, The Gastown Eatery That Can LOL At Itself

September 5, 2014 

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by Shaun Layton | “I’ll be back in fifteen, going for a cheeky…” is what you’ll hear in Gastown bars whenever there’s a lull in the action. In this job, we don’t get one hour lunch or coffee breaks. Because I don’t smoke, the only time I have for quick refreshment is after the dinner rush ebbs. The spot where I used to end up was Boneta (RIP). Now it’s around the corner in Blood Alley at a place called Gringo.

Now one year old in the space formerly occupied by Sean Heather’s Judas Goat, Gringo is now bursting at the seams on most late nights. It was started by Vancouver service industry vet Shoel Davidson, and the “Queen of Gastown”, Christina Cottell.

From where I stood, it looked as if the little lighthearted Mexi-Cali hole-in-the-wall sort of stumbled out of the gate. I think it took people (including myself) some time to understand where they were coming from and what they were trying to do. They didn’t spend a cent on PR, so it’s been a word of mouth trade to date. Online and print reviews – some funny, others scathing – probably helped, too.

“I always believed that if good people came in and enjoyed themselves, then they would tell their friends and so on,” Shoel says. “Now, low and behold, we have an ever-increasing circle of incredible patrons. It’s they who’ve really given Gringo its fun and laid back vibe.”

Speaking personally, the thing that keeps bringing me back isn’t the nachos or the slim draft beer options ($3.50!), it’s the great staff that Shoel has put together. They always remember me by name, and they know what I like to drink. While it’s true that I know nearly everyone in the industry hereabouts (which is to say that I sometimes get extra special treatment), I’ve been in a few times when a new guy doesn’t know me yet, and I’m still greeted with an introduction, a handshake, and a warm welcome.

I think this comes from Mr. Davidson’s hospitality background; he manned the wood at The Irish Heather for several years. “Treat people like people, not like a number. Especially in Gastown, which has such a tight-knit community” he says. Shoel’s also a clean freak, which I respect. He once sat and watched us clean down the bar at L’Abattoir one night and was the only bar nerd not admiring our Amaro selection. Instead, he liked how we scrubbed our stainless.

I hope that didn’t sound too creepy…

The branding (Christina’s department) literally shines. I see the bright neon trucker hats stumbling all over Gastown, and the staff all wear them with pride. They also have coasters with bad reviews printed on them — I love it when a place can LOL at itself like that. The music they play can be anything from rock ‘n roll to old school stuff like A Tribe Called Quest. There’s also a TV set showing some seriously arbitrary shit (I walked in one night and Star Wars was on).

I’m not going to talk about the food (monster size tacos, beer-friendly bites, etc) or the simply made, easy-drinking cocktails. The truth of it is that I’m there to drink beers after the rush. It’s the leading spot in the hood for kitchen staff, so that tells me the food is good enough. One thing to take special note of is Gringo’s ever-increasing bar of “haute” hot sauces. It’s similar to our collection of exotic tall boy beer cans at L’Abattoir, so if you want to drop them a bottle of something rare or interesting they’d likely be appreciative.

MORE VANCOUVER DIVE BARS

IMG_6220Shaun Layton has helped to maintain a top notch bar scene in Vancouver for ten years, and since day one at Gastown’s L’Abattoir, where he is the Bar Manager. He also runs his own consulting company, designing bar programs and training staff locally and as far away as St.John’s, NFLD. Layton has competed and travelled throughout the USA and Europe, touring distilleries, breweries and bars. He was recognized in 2012 as the Bartender of The Year by Vancouver Magazine.

GOODS | Gastown’s Pourhouse To Celebrate “Aperitivo Hour” Specials Starting Sept. 8th

September 5, 2014 

Pourhouse is located at 162 Water Street in Vancouver, BC | 604-568-7022 | www.pourhousevancouver.com

The GOODS from Pourhouse

Vancouver, BC | Starting September 8, on Monday – Friday from 2pm – 5pm, Pourhouse will be featuring a special Aperitivo Hour featuring 3 different aperitifs for $4 each and 3 cocktails for $8 each. There will also be a trio of special menu items only available during this time. Details:

aperitivo m apéritif; n. an alcoholic drink taken as an appetizer before dinner. to open a meal [Late Latin apertus, past participle of Fr. apéritif, to open] | the name for both the ritual of going out for a pre-dinner drink, as well as the sort of drink that you would likely have at such a ritual.

Drink specials will include the “aperitivo” (cocchi americano, carpano bianco, dolin blanc – $4) and Negroni, Milano Torino, and Shrub cocktails for $8. Discounted food items include Oysters Rockefeller and brussel sprouts ($4) and Pourhouse Dogs ($8). Read more

YOU SHOULD KNOW | About The Kind Of City Vancouver Nearly Became In The 1960s

September 5, 2014 

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by Stevie Wilson | The story of Vancouver is one of continuous development, and despite our city’s relatively short history it nonetheless features more than few unusual, unexpected, and straight-up odd chapters.

One fascinating example of what could have been is Project 200, an ominous-sounding urban plan from the 1960s that sought to wipe out much of the waterfront in present-day Gastown to make way for a re-imagined pedestrian plaza and, of course, a massive freeway.

Following WWII, many cities across the world began planning their reconstruction and rehabilitation with an optimistic eye towards the future. Despite not having endured the catastrophic physical destruction that took place in most European cities, Vancouver (and indeed Canada as a whole) was still very much in the throes of post-war redevelopment thought.

The aforementioned eight-lane freeway was one of numerous infrastructure proposals in the late 1950s intended to stimulate business and expedite traffic through the downtown area via large Autobahn-like trenches. The Georgia Viaduct – through the destruction of Hogan’s Alley – was built as part of this larger vision.

Freeway planning in Vancouver was nothing new; the 1928 Bartholomew Plan had also envisioned widening and expanding vehicle access to the downtown core. Project 200 – named for its initial $200-million price tag – was to span from the CPR Pier (near present-day Canada Place), across the waterfront to approximately Abbott St. and up towards Dunsmuir. The introduction to the proposal eloquently explains:

The citizens of Vancouver have long had a great love for their harbour and a desire to be at the water’s edge and part of the busy scene. The realization of this desire and at the same time the redevelopment and revitalization of the downtown business and retail centres is the challenge of Project 200.

Canadian Pacific Railway, department store giants Woodward’s and Simpsons-Sears, Marathon Realty, and Grosvenor-Laing Investments all championed the large blueprint, which was estimated to encompass around 8-million square feet. Big money, no doubt, but the project was ultimately tossed aside when financing became contentious and plans for the freeway were abandoned.

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However, perhaps the most interesting bit about Project 200 is that a few of the proposed structures were actually built. Circa 1969, architect Francis Donaldson designed the Canadian Pacific Telecommunications Building at 175 West Cordova, a monolithic example of bold New Formalist architecture. And in 1973, Donaldson completed a second building proposed by Project 200: the nearby Granville Square at 200 Granville (home of The Vancouver Sun and The Province newspapers).

This towering concrete building was the tallest reinforced structure in the country at the time of its completion, and is the only skyscraper to have been realized from the plans. The large open design of the plaza demonstrates the post-war emphasis on accessible pedestrian/gathering spaces, while traffic was to be segregated to higher-volume thoroughfares out to the suburbs via the freeway(s). It planned to include “a large shopping centre […] parking for 7,000 auto-mobiles, and a residential high-rise and townhouse complex”. One could almost confuse it with a contemporary development proposal…

The Project 200 concept reveals much about the mid-century fascination with vehicles, efficiency, and the desire to connect, but it’s probably for the best that the plans never fully came to fruition. Take note of these neat structures on your next trip down to Gastown and around the waterfront, and try to imagine how different it all might have looked.

The Project 200 brochure and photos for this piece came courtesy of Tom Carter and Jason Vanderhill. You can view the rest of the document here.

MORE VANCOUVER HISTORY

GOODS | Gastown’s “Notturno” Serving Up New Plates & Cocktails Through September

September 2, 2014 

Notturno is located at 280 Carrall Street in Vancouver, BC | 604-720-3145 | www.notturnogastown.ca

Notturno is located at 280 Carrall Street in Vancouver, BC | 604-720-3145 | www.notturnogastown.ca

The GOODS from Notturno

Vancouver, BC | The arrival of September brings with it new food and cocktail menus. It also means that Fall is right around the corner. Sorry, but it’s true. We miss Summer already, so we thought we’d share some of our favourite highlights along together with our new menus. We landed a sidewalk patio (better late than never), celebrated our 1-year anniversary (of awesomeness), launched our cask-aged cocktails (and they disappeared fast), brought back some of your favourites (Beef Carpaccio), and brought back some of our favourites (sautéed woodland mushrooms with garlic, olive oil, egg yolk and Maldon salt). We’d love to hear how your summer was, too, so drop by and share a story or two. Details and full menu and cocktail additions after the jump… Read more

GOODS | Music Direction’s Late Summer Playlist For New “Kit And Ace” In Gastown

September 2, 2014 

Scout Series | Kit+Ace | from Music Direction on 8tracks Radio.

The GOODS from Music Direction

Vancouver, BC | The playlist designers over at Music Direction share their late summer tracks that are part of Kit and Ace‘s branded soundtrack. A gorgeous room filled with Technical Cashmere clothing, art by Andy Dixon and fresh tunes? What’s not to like? Their music program – featuring Rufus, Kygo, and more – will make you want to linger. Tracklist after the jump… Read more

VANCOUVER LEXICON | Table 111

September 1, 2014 

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Table 111 | Code/Place | The black three-seat bench out front of L’Abattoir restaurant in Gastown.

Usage: “Let’s meet at Table 111 and then make a plan from there…”

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The Irish Heather

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DETAILS

210 Carrall Street | Vancouver, BC
Telephone: 604-688-9779 | Email: info@irishheather.com
Open Mon-Thur, Sun 11:30am – 12:00am | Fri-Sat, 11:30am – 2:00am
Web: www.irishheather.com | @TheIrishHeather

GALLERY

ABOUT THE IRISH HEATHER

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Located in the heart of historic Gastown, this GastroPub has garnered many accolades for its service, food, alcohol and ambiance. The Irish Heather is also home to the Shebeen Whisk(e)y house and the Salty Tongue Cafe, which serves as the dining room for the Irish Heather in the evening and home to the famous Long Table Series.

In a world filled with “Plastic Paddy” establishments, the Heather stands out as a beacon of authenticity. An Irish House that is owned by Irish people who actually work there.

Shebeen Whisk(e)y House

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DETAILS

210 Carrall Street, Vancouver BC
Telephone: 604-688-9779 | Email: info@irishheather.com
Tuesday to Thursday 5pm-12am | Friday & Saturday 5pm-2am | Available for private events
Web: www.shebeen.ca | @TheIrishHeather

Gallery

About Shebeen Whisk(e)y House

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Home to one of BC’s largest selection of Single Malt, Bourbon, Rye, Scotch and Irish whisk(e)y, the Shebeen Whisk(e)y House houses just under 200 different labels and is a must see for whisk(e)y lovers. Located in a heritage building, across a private courtyard, situated behind the Irish Heather in the heart of historic Gastown. Shebeen has its own front door, bar, bartender and space for 60 guests.

This one-of-a-kind space is the perfect venue to sneak away to with friends for a quiet dram, reserve space for a party or book the whole space for a private event. Whether you are new to whiskey or count it as a dear old friend, the knowledgeable Shebeen staff are happy to guide you through the list.

Rainier Provisions

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DETAILS

2 West Cordova St. | Vancouver, BC
Telephone: 604-558-2473 | Email: info@rainierprovisions.com
Open Tuesday to Friday from 11:30am | Saturday from 10:30am
Web: www.rainierprovisions.com | @The_Rainier

Gallery

About Rainier Provisions

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Part carefully curated deli, part specialty coffee shop and airy eating establishment; the 102-seat Rainier Provisions gives the nostalgic concept of ‘provisions’ an edgy makeover for its historic Gastown location. Locally-made charcuterie, sausages, Italian extra-virgin olive oil and British cheeses can be bought at the deli or enjoyed as part of the classic dishes and carvery that are served up for lunch and dinner. At the bar guests can select from over 18 types of bourbon, six on-tap beers or cult coffee from Matchstick Coffee Roasters.

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