The next best thing to sipping a cocktail is watching it prepared. In Barnstaple’s newest lounge and bar, seeing a ‘Smoke & Mirrors’ (served under a glass cloche smoked with Applewood chips to infuse the bourbon whisky), a ‘Vodka and Oreo Shake’ (made with real creo cookies) or a ‘Gin Scroppino’ (made with lemon sorbet and prosecco) being created is all part of the experience.
Bar62 is the latest offering from the multi-award-winning Brend Hotel Group which first opened a bistro in Barnstaple, North Devon, twenty years ago. 62, The Bank has proved a hugely successful venue ever since but, as there was no dedicated bar area, Director Matthew Brend and his team decided to develop one.
The building is listed and retaining its original character during the modernisation process was always considered a priority. Beautifully ornate cornices and mouldings have been carefully restored to their former glory whilst new wood floors and banquet-style booth seating – one bench spans half a wall and follows the room’s curvature – have all been installed. The bar itself has been designed and built by Chivenor-based David Glover Associates and features separate wine, prosecco and spirit displays set against antique mirrors and LED lighting.
“We wanted to give customers the ‘wow’ factor as soon as they walked in,” said Matthew Brend. “It’s taken a year from start to finish because of the planning process and the great attention to detail we wanted to achieve but the end result is something that we’re all really proud of. It’s all cost around £65,000.
“We held intensive staff training and practice sessions in the run up to opening and are continuing to hold them regularly to ensure everyone knows exactly what they are doing. The whole team have been magnificent and I’m very grateful for all the hard work they’ve put into making Bar62 the place to visit in town.”
No sophisticated bar would be complete without a range of deliciously imaginative drinks and there are currently 33 unique cocktails to choose from – all apparently tried, tested and tweaked! Some are based around a dessert like lemon meringue pie, whilst the ‘Sweet Shop Smoothie’ is said to provide the nostalgic taste of childhood. For those feeling a little peckish, a menu of ‘Grazing Crates’ allows customers to select three different tapas style dishes for £15.
Bar62 is open Monday to Saturday from 5pm until late and, from 5-7pm every week day, the price of two cocktails is just £12. For those wanting to try cocktail concocting for themselves, masterclass sessions for groups are available.