The Ivy has confirmed that it will open its doors to the public once again on Monday, 1st June. The restaurant closed in January for the first time in over 25 years, in order to carry out an extensive refurbishment which will see one of London’s most iconic restaurants enter a new chapter, ahead of its centenary celebrations in 2017.
The interiors, by Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, retain elements of the previous colour palette, but with contemporary additions. “The Ivy has been an integral part of London’s social history throughout the 20th centur,” says Brudnizki. “We instinctively knew that its new look had to incorporate the much-loved features that made it famous – the wood panelling, the harlequin stained glass windows and works by British artists. So we have tied these elements in with our new design to establish the restaurant and private room firmly in the 21st century, ready for the next 100 years.”
In April, many of the contents of The Ivy including artwork, cutlery, glassware and linen napkins were auctioned by Sotheby’s, raising over £1 million in aid of Child Bereavement UK. Everything from entrance doors to the ladies’ loo sign and the cloakroom tip tray went under the hammer – some indication of the extent of the re-design.
On entering, where the bar once stood, the restaurant now opens up, allowing a clear view of the whole space. The original stained glass windows are enhanced by the addition of silver mirrored panels, allowing more natural light by day and adding glamour at night.
In the centre of the room, a dining bar that mirrors the triangular shape of the restaurant will stand proudly, seating twenty diners on bespoke pink leather and mohair bar stools. Upstairs, the first floor provides private dining for 60 people. The baby grand piano remains in place, but the bar has been greatly enhanced.
Adored by many, with a special place in the hearts and minds of actors and the arts world in all its guises, the re-opening of The Ivy will herald a new era in the restaurant’s long and colourful history.
Fernando Peire, Director of The Ivy (and Maître d’ during the ’90s), comments: “to survive as long as it has, the restaurant has always had to remain relevant in order to appeal to the next generation. This has been achieved, I would say, through our young workforce, our enduringly appealing yet ever-changing menu and our sheer enthusiasm for what we do.
“Now we have the added bonus of a new interior and a fabulous bar. Some people use The Ivy to celebrate an all-important business deal, special anniversary or event; others for a regular catch-up with friends; some use it as their local canteen and might just pop in for a late bite and a Martini after theatre. We are, I hope, the restaurant for Everyman!”.