Jestico + Whiles create subterranean speakeasy and restaurant below historic Corn Exchange

Our design draws on the history of the Corn Exchange together with the wider context of the city to create a unique space
– James Dilley, head of hospitality and interior design at Jestico + Whiles

After transforming a historic Scottish bank building into a bar, architecture studio Jestico + Whiles have unveiled their latest hospitality conversion project: a steak and gin restaurant built within Manchester’s Victorian-era Corn Exchange.

Conceived as a hidden speakeasy serving 60 types of gin, Alston Bar & Beef will see diners must enter via a discrete entrance into a modest lobby, which is decorated by a large hand-painted mural created by street-artist Tank Petrol.

“From here, an industrial, raw steel staircase studded with etched glass lenses delivers guests to a hidden, subterranean hall, crisscrossed by a web of original and new structure, expressing the complex building above,” explained the firm in a design statement.

“A bar carved from a block of solid marble glows against a backlit screen of glass in medicine bottle amber on which are mounted apothecaries flasks, dispensing bespoke gin infusions. A high-spec show kitchen, with lots of fire and flame, terminates the long views across the dining room.”

Describing the concept for the 160-cover restaurant, James Dilley, head of hospitality and interior design at Jestico + Whiles, said: “Our design draws on the history of the Corn Exchange together with the wider context of the city to create a unique space featuring a dramatic interior environment and distinctive ambiance.”

The practice previously designed The Shilling Brewery Company pub within the former home of the Commercial Bank of Scotland, stripping back the 1920s interior features to highlight the building’s 20ft (6m) high coffered ceilings. They also created an Alston Bar & Beef restaurant in the historic vaults beneath Glasgow Central Station.

Future projects include the forthcoming Edinburgh St James scheme, which will include a striking W Hotel; a highly sustainable five-star hotel resort in Zanzibar; and a leisure district in Oxfordshire created in a disused American air base.

Jestico + Whiles  Corn Exchange  Manchester  Alston Bar & Beef  James Dilley 
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After transforming a historic Scottish bank building into a bar, architecture studio Jestico + Whiles have unveiled their latest hospitality conversion project: a steak and gin restaurant built within Manchester’s Victorian-era Corn Exchange. Conceived as a hidden speakeasy serving 60 types of gin, Alston Bar & Beef will see diners must enter via a discrete entrance into a modest lobby, which is decorated by a large hand-painted mural created by
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Conceived as a hidden speakeasy serving 60 types of gin, diners must enter Alston Bar & Beef via a discrete entrance / Jestico + Whiles
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