Bar owner's plan to reinvigorate nightlife in Douglas

Monday 17th February 2020 6:00 am

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Nightlife in Douglas is the worst that one bar owner has seen in the last 10 years.

Phil Taylor of Rock Food Concepts (RFC), which runs a number of venues in the island, announced that the Bath and Bottle is revamping as an American diner.

Following the Douglas bar’s closure in January, the new format aims to attract more customers.

He said: ’What we were doing wasn’t sustainable.

’People are drinking at home more and the younger generation is not going out as much.

’It’s been gradually getting quieter and we felt it was time to try something new.

’We knew we needed to be food focused and wanted to open it up to a bigger audience.’

He previously said: ’The hospitality industry is tough at the best of times and trading conditions are the worst they have been in the 10 years Rock Food Concepts has been in business.’

The venue, which is on Victoria Street, will re-open soon if Mr Taylor gets the go-ahead from the licensing court.

’Dream Bird will be an 80s themed American diner, but we’ll be approaching it through the millennial lens,’ he said.

’We’ll be sourcing local beef, which we are going to grind ourselves, cheese from Isle of Man Creamery and our buns will be from a local artisan bakery.

’Cocktails are going to play an important role in the venue.’

Bath and Bottle not only served a range of cocktails, but also hosted numerous events.

He added: ’B&B was amazing. Trends change and new places open and close.

’We’re playing with something new and it’s exciting.’

If the licensing court gives the bar the green light, Dream Bird will be open every Tuesday to Saturday at midday-9.15pm for food and later in the evening for cocktails.

The venue would also be available to hire out for events, Mr Taylor said.

Meanwhile, it was bad news for pubgoers this week from the island’s biggest brewery.

Heron and Brearley is putting up prices on beer, cider and other products from major brands, such as Heineken and Carlsberg.

Manx brand Okell’s is to go up by 5p per pint.

A spokesman said: ’To be clear, this is not a self-initiated price increase by H&B.

’We are passing on price increases which have been imposed on us by external suppliers.

’Our policy is, as ever, to keep price increases to the minimum level.

’However, this means we remain sensitive to future cost changes, from suppliers, from duties or from the minimum wage.’

In the UK, the situation seems different.

Official figures showed the number of pubs has increased for the first time this decade.

The UK ended March 2019 with 39,135 pubs, 320 more than a year earlier, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures released at the end of last year.

It is the first net increase since 2010.

The rise marked a dramatic turn-around compared with the previous nine years, during which the UK pub network declined by an average of 732 each year, comparable data showed.

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