The Old Bar is Safe. I Promise!

So, the design and plans are now moving really quickly, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be any more opportunities for us to gather further feedback from our students. Last week we published sketches and mood boards relating to the Union Upgrade to prompt a further stage of student consultation and feedback. Thousands of students have seen the images and the reaction has come through loud and clear – in person and online. It’s great that we have so many students who value the opportunity to get involved, this is exactly what we wanted and needed, so thank you to each and every student who has participated so far.

The spaces we are asking for feedback on are: The Foyer, Riley Smith Hall, Raven Theatre, Raven Bar, Old Bar, the new Dance Studios, our proposed Market Square and Pulse. Each and every comment on the boards has been captured and fed back to the two interior design agencies working to shape the design of these spaces. The images produced by the agencies are a working impression of what some of the spaces may look like – just early thoughts to give you something to comment on.

In relation to the proposed upgrades to Old Bar, I am aware that there has been a fairly negative reaction to the images and design scheme drawn-up. I’d like to reassure students that we do not plan to remove the history or character out of Old Bar. Students have told us that it seems a bit grubby, which is fair – so we’re giving it a lick of paint, a new floor and some improved lighting – that’s about it. Oh, and we are updating the toilets! Old Bar has always been one of our most popular student spaces and there are certainly no plans to strip it of its atmosphere or take away from its cosy pub-feel. We always want to provide a variety of different spaces and the Old Bar must remain distinct from the Terrace, and also the newly refurbished Mine Bar once complete.

You are buying more food in the Old Bar than you ever did in the past, so in order to seat and serve so many more students we’ve had to play around with the layout and think about a slightly different furniture style. But, your feedback is clear – whatever we choose needs to be traditional and in keeping with how the Old Bar currently looks. We’ve listened and the team will be considering furniture options soon. The Old Bar along with the rest of the Union spaces are owned and run by students, so there has never been a better time to voice your opinion and have your say over how they look. I’ve seen all the feedback about adding more seating to chill and study around the Union too, so we are looking at how we can incorporate even more seating without compromising on space to mill around.

So, I promise you this – your Old Bar is safe. It is and will remain a good old fashioned pub, just the way you like it!

We’ll soon be announcing the last weekend of events leading up to the temporary closure the Old Bar at Easter and I expect this to be a great celebration of how much we all love the place.

I continue to be excited about the spaces and how they are going to come to life and getting student feedback is a massive part of that. Understanding what spaces mean to you, how you’ll use them and how they’ll make your time in the Union even better is the driving force behind this project and I can’t wait for the first brick to be laid!

Please keep an eye on the site and our social channels for more information and consultation opportunities.



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  • Lara

    ‘We do not plan to remove the history or character out of Old Bar’

    As a PhD student who also did my undergrad studies here several years ago, I can safely say that Old Bar has become pretty yuppified already. Please don’t just give us another Terrace.

    • H M

      Hi Lara,

      Thanks for the comment. We’re working hard to keep the character of Old Bar whilst we are doing some maintenance works in the space. The interior looks the same except we have opened up the space a bit by knocking through the corridor surrounding the bar. Do let us know if you have any more concerns.

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