Located in the atmospheric catacombs beneath Glasgow’s Central Station, the newly-opened Alston Bar & Beef restaurant is designed by award-winning interior design and architecture practice Jestico + Whiles for food and drink group Glendola Leisure.
This 80-seat destination restaurant occupies a set of forgotten arches in the catacombs below Glasgow’s Central Station and is so named after Alston Street, the main thoroughfare of Glasgow’s mysterious, forgotten Grahamston Village that stood at the crossroads of the main north-south and east-west axes of Glasgow, and which was built over in the late 1800s to create the station.
The restaurant, specialising in locally-produced prime Scottish steak is complemented by a bar displaying fine and specialist gins.
Jestico + Whiles’ design integrates the rich historic layers of the city while adding contemporary elements to create a brand new state-of-the-art venue that is efficient, innovative and highly atmospheric. The design draws on the rugged history of the station, along with the wider context of Scotland to create a calming retreat that is full of oblique references and layers of interest.
Visitors to the restaurant are met by a soaring mural of over-scaled native Scottish wildlife; magpies and hawk moths, playing against a backdrop of huge thistles. These interlayered illustrations produced by local design studio Timorous Beasties define a route down into the previously derelict undercroft of the 18th century station.
On descending to the foot of an industrial, blued steel staircase studded with underlit lenses, a zinc framed window and pass reveals glimpses into the kitchen, the heart of the restaurant. Three cast glass pendants made of old railway electrical isolators define the division between the kitchen and front of house service.
Beyond the kitchen, the subterranean setting of muscular brick arches and oxidised steel bracing of the robust, honest and workmanlike railway architecture has been enhanced by contrasting it with the careful placement of new elements. A clean, white marble bar, and sparkling chandeliers made from crystal decanters sparkle in the twilight.
James Dilley, head of hospitality and interior design at Jestico + Whiles comments: “Our design for Alston draws on the history of the station together with the wider context of Scotland to create a relaxed atmosphere. We have created a unique space featuring a dramatic interior environment and distinctive ambiance.
“This has been an exciting project to be a part of from our work on the interior design, right down to the branding and visual identity of the restaurant.”
Leather banquettes of teal and petrol-coloured leather viewed alongside a powerful star pattern mosaic characterise Jestico + Whiles’ modern interpretation of traditional brassiere motifs.
The materials and finishes have been chosen to bring together the restaurant’s distinctive blend of local cuisine and specialist gin selection.
The design signifies the timeless beauty of craftsmanship and impeccable detailing; a juxtaposition between the old and the new, where history merges with contemporary style presenting a stirring new spatial experience.