Upmarket bar 'will create up to 100 jobs'

The Advertiser Series: BRANCHING OUT: The Keys in Yarm. Another outlet is planned for Darlington BRANCHING OUT: The Keys in Yarm. Another outlet is planned for Darlington

WORK is under way on a seven-figure project to convert a 160-year-old grade II-listed building into an upmarket nightspot, which will create up to 100 jobs.

Mistell Limited, which owns The Keys in Yarm and Middlesbrough, is converting the former Mechanics Institute, in Skinnergate, into its latest branch.

Built in 1854, the building has been largely derelict since Retro nightclub closed in 2012.

Members of the Mechanics Institute Snooker Club found recently moved to new premises in Bondgate.

The Keys project has been dogged by planning issues, including a wrangle over disabled access, but these have been overcome.

Builders began stripping away the old fixtures and fittings in November, with bosses hopeful the venue will be ready to welcome its first revellers in September.

As well as a bar and restaurant, the venue will include a first-floor nightclub.

Vicky Powell, who runs Mistell with her father Alastair and brother Michael, said the Darlington branch would be similar to The Keys in Yarm.

She is pleased that the company is now able to move on from the "frustration" of the previous planning issues.

Miss Powell said: “I do not come out in Darlington a lot myself, but from the people I speak to, they seem to think there’s not really anything for the more mature crowd.

“In Yarm, we have a real mix of ages and we are hoping for it to be the same here.”

The refurbishment will be sympathetic to the building’s 160-year history and will see its ornate but tired restored to somewhere near its former splendour.

Paul Rowntree, who has worked as head chef in The Keys in Yarm, is one of those overseeing the project in Skinnergate.

He said: “Obviously, the building is just a shell at the moment, but it is progressing at quite a speed.

“Hopefully, in the next couple of months, we will start to see more progress, it is exciting.”

Mr Rowntree said the venue would eventually support between 80 and 100 jobs.

He added: “We would look to local people, people that know the area. It’s going to be important that we support the community with jobs and we are already getting inquiries on our Facebook page.

“It is a really exciting development for Darlington and it is great that people are keen to get on board.”

Mr Rowntree plans to hold a cookery school in the venue’s kitchens once it its up and running.

Comments (3)

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10:22am Wed 16 Apr 14

maw.si says...

They should make it a members only bar and nightclub. if they are looking for a more mature crowd then set a minimum age either 25 or 30. It would make it a safe haven for drinkers who just want good night out free from young drunken fools who seem to plague the town and cause nothing but problems.
They should make it a members only bar and nightclub. if they are looking for a more mature crowd then set a minimum age either 25 or 30. It would make it a safe haven for drinkers who just want good night out free from young drunken fools who seem to plague the town and cause nothing but problems. maw.si
  • Score: 18

12:12pm Wed 16 Apr 14

coops2404 says...

maw.si wrote:
They should make it a members only bar and nightclub. if they are looking for a more mature crowd then set a minimum age either 25 or 30. It would make it a safe haven for drinkers who just want good night out free from young drunken fools who seem to plague the town and cause nothing but problems.
Age isn't the problem - it's the attitude and actions of any given person. I know 18 year old kids that are more mature than some 30-odd year olds. Age discrimination is not the key - it's getting to know the troublemakers and barring them for life so as to create a friendly and welcoming atmosphere for the 90% of Darlington-folk who simply want to enjoy a night out without fear of verbal and physical abuse.
[quote][p][bold]maw.si[/bold] wrote: They should make it a members only bar and nightclub. if they are looking for a more mature crowd then set a minimum age either 25 or 30. It would make it a safe haven for drinkers who just want good night out free from young drunken fools who seem to plague the town and cause nothing but problems.[/p][/quote]Age isn't the problem - it's the attitude and actions of any given person. I know 18 year old kids that are more mature than some 30-odd year olds. Age discrimination is not the key - it's getting to know the troublemakers and barring them for life so as to create a friendly and welcoming atmosphere for the 90% of Darlington-folk who simply want to enjoy a night out without fear of verbal and physical abuse. coops2404
  • Score: 26

1:01pm Wed 16 Apr 14

cromwell1599 says...

Another bar, just what Darlington needs. Would have thought another bookmakers would have been more appropriate, after all there are only three in Skinnergate.
Another bar, just what Darlington needs. Would have thought another bookmakers would have been more appropriate, after all there are only three in Skinnergate. cromwell1599
  • Score: -7

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