Getting on

Today I attended the grand opening of a new venue near Canal Street. Richmond Tea Rooms is the latest addition to the numerous bars, clubs and restaurants in the area.

Interestingly, Richmond Tea Rooms isn’t the only new place to have popped up this week as today also sees the return of the “pub in a window”.

Between them, these two places represent polar opposites, in terms of their contribution (or exploitation) of place.

Let’s start with the pub in a window, so called because a small non-discript terraced house ‘transforms’ its front room into a pub, which serves customers through the window, for 4 days a year,

Transforms is in air-quotes because the only visible difference is that the net curtains come down and the window gets opened.

The only reason that the pub in the window exists is to exploit (in marketing terms) the demand for alcohol at this weekend’s Pride event.

The rest of the year the house stands empty. Even the 4 days it’s ‘open’ you can’t actually go inside. So tough luck if it’s raining or you need the loo. It is the licensed bricks and mortar equivalent of a burger van.

Richmond Tea Rooms stands in sharp contrast.. Its transformation is a result of months creating a traditional (ok slightly camp) interior, with chandeliers and doilies etc.

Richmond Tea Rooms are trying to create something different from the 18 hour drinking dens that have proliferated around Canal Street. Now, those that know me will know I like a drink or three + but being residents we must get at least two copies of licence applications a month. Either for new bars/clubs or for an extension of hours to existing premises. In my mind there’s no doubt that more hours and places to drink has led to a change to the feel of the area (and a rise in anti-social behaviour and more serious crimes).

Richmond Tea Rooms offers a different sort of space. One where you can think, chat and one the owners hope can offer a bit more of an opportunity to “get on” with people (rather than just “get off” with them?)

Whilst I don’t want to come across of some sort of restaurant reviewer I really like Richmond Tea Rooms and I think it has the potential to build more of a community spirit amongst us. The owners plan to open a local deli next, so I wish them the best of luck with that as well.

Cathy had two pints of lager and lime, half a bottle of champers and an assortment of miniature sandwiches, scones and fancies. Then another pint or lager.

3 thoughts on “Getting on

  1. All power to anyone who wants to improve the quality of environments like Canal Street and create places for being rather than just for selling. As town centres continue to feel the crunch there’s an opportunity for new thinking – some initial thoughts in response to the Mary Portas review are here: http://urbanpollinators.co.uk/?page_id=1028

    That said, your last paragraph did leave me feeling somewhat queasy…

    1. Hi – thanks for the link…what do you think of the recommendations now they’ve been published? Sorry if the last paragraph made you feel sick…but I bet you didn’t feel as bad as I did the next day!

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