Inside Durham's new £1million bar with 4 rooms of Instagrammable interiors
A new bar and restaurant in Durham City has the wow factor after creating four rooms of Instagrammable interiors.
The Curious Mr Fox has opened in The Riverwalk development on the road to Framwellgate Bridge and, just a week after opening, has already got people talking with its quirky interiors.
Featuring a bar and restaurant, spread over two floors and four rooms, the venue is the result of a £1million investment by Clearbell developments, The Other Group and licensee Trevor Davis.
Trevor has already had great success in the city with his Tin of Sardines pub, which has garnered international press as the world’s smallest gin bar, and Old Tom’s Gin Bar, which is also in The Riverwalk.
Like his other ventures, The Curious Mr Fox is full of quirky features and the businessman says it’s great to have been able to breathe new life into historic units which weren’t reaching their full potential.
"This is a beautiful space, with views of the river one side and Durham Cathedral on the other. There’s been different parts to it added over the years, some of which date back to 1800s, but I don’t think people really knew what to do with it because of its quirkiness and there are parts that hadn’t been used for 20 years,” he explained.
Over a three year refurbishment project, three centuries-old buildings were put together to create one venue.
There’s four rooms in total, each with its own name, theme – and even a different aroma in each.
Downstairs the Foxes Bar is an informal coffee spot and bar serving pastries and more, with outdoor seating that overlooks the Cathedral. Upstairs, The Ivy Room is in the oldest part of the building and has a garden theme. Next door, The Oyster Room restaurant has views across the city and a more upmarket feel.
And for premium bar snacks and drinks The Foxes Club lounge has been compared to private members clubs in Soho with its salubrious decor.
The same menu is served across the four rooms and is prepared by head chef Paul O’Hara, formerly of the prestigious Rockliffe Hall and Bistro 21.
Trevor said: “People have been gobsmacked when they come in and see how it looks now, compared to how it used to look. It’s been a lot of hard work by all the investors and we’ve opened in a pandemic, but it’s been great to have people in finally and enjoying the space.
"There’s a huge amount of investment in Durham with lots of new bars and restaurants opening and it’s great to be a part of that. Durham is very much a city that’s been built on independents, a lot of the big national companies, such as KFC and McDonald’s, aren’t in the city centre and it’s helped to create a great amount of choice for people.”
Trevor, his son Ben and Ben’s partner Beth Hardy are also in the midst of transforming the former toilet block in Roker, which will open this year as a sister venue to Tin of Sardines, serving gins with a view overlooking the pier.