Blacksheep design and branding studio has revealed its latest design for the new Red’s True Barbecue restaurant and bar, which officially opened in February in the heart of Manchester’s Albert Square.
With the brand already proving a big hit in Leeds, owners James Douglas and Scott Munro approached Blacksheep to design a new restaurant and bar that would reflect the character of the Red’s experience, a concept drawn deep from the love of traditional American low ‘n’ slow style barbecuing.
Tim Mutton, CEO of Blacksheep comments: “From the very first time I met James and Scott, I was taken with their passion for the concept, their obsession with low ‘n’ slow barbecue and their fun but fierce attitude – the whole experience was just infectious.”
The Blacksheep team approached the project by treating the 6000ft2 venue as a blank canvas for which they could communicate the world of Red’s True Barbecue, drawing inspiration from the brand’s traditions, values and beliefs.
The overall design puts theatre at the very heart of the experience, with the owners themselves likening it to a twisted fairground. The restaurant’s kitchen, covered with wire chain fence, is open plan and offers the ultimate sensory experience for meat lovers. Pitmasters can be seen taking meat from huge bespoke Oklahoman smokers and flame grilling burgers over the charcoal barata grill, building a sense of anticipation for the diner and inviting them to experience the joy of true barbecue.
Bright Yes/No neon signs are hung around the kitchen’s perimeter to communicate the availability of the food, smoked on site every day, to the brand’s hungry believers.
At night, the kitchen provides a backdrop to the bar, which showcases a bespoke feature light reminiscent of a fairground. The lit bar flaunts the vast selection of craft beers and cocktails on offer, whilst a raised pulpit-like DJ booth sits aloft, from which Red’s can entertain diners through their love of rock music.
The venue offers two enclosed dining areas to enjoy the Red’s True Barbecue experience. From behind the front kitchen sits a 48 cover room suitable for private hire. Using upholstered banquettes and blackened burnt timber panelling, the room reflects an unearthed burnt out pit and conjures up images of the traditional barbecoa method of cooking meat.
Another unique and dramatic space takes the form of the rub room. An almost hidden space, it again echoes the barbecue process whilst presenting the ultimate voyeurs experience offering a direct view into the kitchen and the action within.
The rest rooms also take inspiration from the brand’s ethos with cubicles in the style of confessional booths providing yet another surprise for the diner and a further insight into the world of the brand.
Jordan Littler, lead designer on the project comments: “Throughout the design religious iconography and messages converse with mortuary-like tables and butchers curtains to remind the guest of the journey of the product and the primal connection between man and beast.
“Reclaimed finishes, key clamp frames and exposed brickwork all enforce the raw nature of the product while neon signage and bespoke artwork layers to convey the attitude and distinct humour of the brand.”
A design not for the faint hearted, it is dramatic in its approach, in your face and fiercely intense, much like the brand’s promise itself.
James Douglas, co-founder at Red’s True Barbecue, says: “Based on our initial brief, the guys at Blacksheep took what was seen to be a slightly off-beat idea and turned it into what we feel is the best restaurant in Manchester!
“Together we managed to bottle the atmosphere and feeling of our first site in Leeds and faithfully re-create it, by injecting more punch and humour. Initial feedback from diners, both in person and on social media, has been incredible and that’s what it’s all about.”