Darlington market will have a distinctly 1920s feel next weekend as its exciting new venue – a Prohibition-themed bar opens to the public.
Friday March 31 sees the much-anticipated launch of The Vault.
Oozing sophistication the bar will be home to everything from a grand piano to top quality craft beers, real ale, creative cocktails, small plates and charcuterie.
The launch weekend will also see those sampling the bar for the first time able to soak up an array of 1920s-themed entertainment including jazz singers, burlesque performances and flapper girls.
The bar, which opens from Thursday to Sunday 12noon until 11pm, is the centrepiece of the transformational works at the much-loved market and part of a successful blueprint from operators Market Asset Management Darlington Ltd and Darlington Borough Council for the venue to grow as a food, retail, and live entertainment destination.
Phase 2 of the redevelopment which began in August 2022 also includes revamped shop front fascia and entrances, a new shop floor café, new public and trader toilets on the ground floor and new toilets to the basement.
Impressed Councillor Jonathan Dulston, leader of Darlington Borough Council has visited the bar as the finishing touches were being put in place.
He said: “This is an amazing transformation and fantastic to see unused parts of this historic building brought back into use, adding to the appeal of the market for a wider variety of people.
“We’ve got an excellent bar and evening entertainment scene in Darlington and I’m sure The Vault will become a firm favourite for many.”
Market officials describe the bar as “a cavern of historic and industrial splendour offset with glamorous, velvet furnishing, softening the rough edges”.
A century-old Grand Piano takes centre stage, to be used by established acts and any passing musicians who wish to entertain the crowd.
As you would expect from a bar with a New Orleans-inspired jazz music vibe it will play host to live performances from jazz musicians throughout the year.
And its drinks menu is as impressive as the décor and furnishing.
The Vault will be offering a selection of 12 keg beers and four cask ales including a variety of styles, from pilsners and Weissbier to stouts and IPAs sourced from local producers, continental breweries, and a couple of more commercially recognisable products to cater for different tastes.
Officials said the bar also offers a “rather seductive cocktail menu” with a range of both classic and contemporary cocktails, along with a carefully selected range of whisk(e)y, gin, rum, tequila, wine, and more.
The market has remained fully open during the second phase of the development with minimum disruption to traders and shoppers.
Works have seen the exterior of the building revamped with a new black and cream colour scheme replacing the old green one complete with traditional handwritten signage lovingly crafted by local artist and sign writer Ste Robson.
An old walled-off area has been demolished to create a new glazed space which will be complemented with a new café next year.
New toilets have also opened and there will be more opening in the basement when the new bar opens.
MAM’s Darlington General Manager, Michael Harvey said: “The Vault is a fantastic addition and I know people can’t wait for it to open and sample its splendour.
“Balanced background music and a mellow temperament will make this the perfect hideaway to unwind with friends, chat with strangers, and let evenings get lost in good times. Every corner is littered with curiosities, history, and secrets waiting to be uncovered by those who venture into The Vault.
“It is a fitting centrepiece to the tremendous transformational works at the market as part of our unwavering commitment to ensure this is a place people love to shop, eat, drink and be entertained. As well as our amazing global cuisine and independent retail offering we are proud Darlington Market continues to shine as an events venue.”
The exciting new chapter follows the successful first phase of the revamp which opened to the public in August 2021.
It saw one third of the shop floor transformed into a street food scene with independent food traders offering cuisine from around the world from purpose-built units and a large communal seating area.
Doors open to the public on launch night, Friday March 31 at 6pm.
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