A significant investment in a new Asian-themed bar in the heart of Belfast has created 100 new jobs and provided another welcome boost to the hospitality trade in the centre of the city.
Phase one of Shiro opened to the public recently in premises formerly occupied by Irene and Nan’s at Brunswick Street in Belfast’s Linen Quarter. Owned by the same group of investors who are behind top city venues, The Albany, El Divino and Filthy McNasty’s, the plush new bar is the first stage in a £1m development that will also see an over-25s nightclub and an exclusive private members bar opened on the site by the end of this year.
Work on the nightclub element will get underway as soon as the July holidays are over and the venue should be open for business by the first week in September. Speaking to LCN recently, Zoe Watson, marketing manager for Shiro revealed that the high-end club will be spread across two floors and will accommodate up to 500 people:
“Everybody involved in our team has nightclub experience in their background,” she added. “In terms of our new club, it’s going to be luxurious, it’s going to have two or three different VIP areas and we would see it as more commercial than its sister club, El Divino, although we do have plans to bring over some very big names in the future.”
The final phase of the development is a private members’ bar in the building formerly occupied by Bar Bacca. Work on that will begin as soon as the nightclub element has opened for business and it is hoped that the entire project can be completed by the end of 2014.
Speaking recently, Shiro director, Paul Langsford, said that he felt the venue was “one of the most significant investments in Belfast’s entertainment industry in the last few years”.
“The area that the venues are based in has some of the most sought-after restaurants anywhere in the UK or Ireland,” he said. “”Now with the completion of Shiro and the other two developments it will also have entertainment venues to match the leading nightlife cities of Europe, bringing a significant economic boost to the heart of the city centre bar scene.”
Shiro – which mean ‘white’ in Japanese – has been developed by hospitality specialists, O’Donnell O’Neill Design Associates and Zoe Watson said that she felt the new bar was a much more “feminine” proposition than the group’s other venue, The Albany, on the Lisburn Road:
“It’s very plush and very comfortable. You can have dinner and a few drinks and you’ll probably end up staying on for the rest of the night,” she added, “We see ourselves as catering to the quality restaurants that are around us, with people coming in here before or after they go there, and there are two major hotels very close to us as well.”
Visually stimulating and very atmospheric, Shiro has cool and inviting cocktail bar as its main focal point, offering views into a busy kitchen through the glazed back bar.
Diners are seated in intimate and comfortable booths on a raised level around the perimeter of the bar and guests also have access to the wonderful Asahi roof terrace bar accessible through the rear of Shiro.
The venue is open until 2amThursday, Friday and Saturday nights. It has an extensive cocktail menu and it offers a range of Japanese whiskies and Saki.
“We’ve had a very positive response, everybody has been very excited and I think that we have injected a very welcome bit of night life into this area of the city,” added Zoe. “Everyone around us has been very responsive and very welcoming to us. I think many people have been really pleasantly surprised when they walk in, it’s not really what they were expecting.”