Plans to breathe new life into former Alnwick bar

The former Oscars bar, next door to The Dirty Bottles, on Alnwicks Narrowgate.
The former Oscars bar, next door to The Dirty Bottles, on Alnwicks Narrowgate.

A former Alnwick nightspot could be reopened after six years and connected to the successful bar next door.

Oscars, in Narrowgate, closed in 2013, after part of the gable-end wall collapsed into Bow Alley following a night of heavy rain.

But now, plans have been unveiled to breathe new life into the venue, which was previously run by the late Derek Charlton, by refurbishing the existing bar on the ground floor and converting the first and second floors into boutique guest rooms.

There are proposals for a new shop-front as well as to create an opening at ground and first-floor level to connect the premises in question, 34 Narrowgate, with 32 Narrowgate – The Dirty Bottles.

Applicant Mark Jones has lodged an application to Northumberland County Council seeking listed building consent for the refurbishment of the ground-floor bar, internal alterations to the currently disused first and second floors, and the creation of an opening to link numbers 34 and 32.

A statement submitted with the plans explains: ‘In 2015, Collective Design was responsible for the renovation of The Dirty Bottles Bar and Restaurant, which continues to be a thriving venue in the heart of Alnwick.

‘A few years later, the upper floors were converted into four boutique guest rooms, which proved to be a great success, and are often fully booked for weeks at a time.

‘With this in mind, it is clear that the area is in need of more leisure venues with accommodation that are in keeping with history of Alnwick, something which is popular with both tourists and locals.

‘The introduction of this new venue will enhance the area, create jobs and develop a sustainable business.’

The design will be based loosely on a magical theme, given Alnwick’s ties to the ever-popular Harry Potter books through the nearby Alnwick Castle’s appearance in the first two films.

According to the design statement: ‘The main entrance on Narrowgate will have a new shop front by replacing windows, doors and painting the timber details.

‘In keeping with both buildings to the left and right, smaller glazing panels will be introduced which mirror the shop-fronts of Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter films.

‘New signage is to follow in a separate application once a name for the venue has been agreed.’

The building is grade II-listed and within the Alnwick conservation area, but the application explains that ‘the scheme hopes to maximise opportunities to sustain and enhance the significance of the heritage and deliver high quality in the design of new interiors within buildings and conversions reflecting the rich history they possess’.

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service