The Grapes

Roscoe Street, Liverpool

The Grapes public house sits on the corner of Roscoe and Knight Street and consists of the only remaining terraced buildings that originally lined both streets. The site for the extension was the external yard adjacent to the pub which was formerly used as a beer garden. We designed the extension as a lean-to volume after carrying out a series of massing studies which showed that this option gave the best solution to ‘terminating’ the terrace. It was our intention to integrate the extension aesthetically into the elevation of the existing buildings and to retain the character of a traditional pub inside by creating an extension that would increase the volume of the building in a seamless way.

The pub was originally three properties which had been combined into one over the years. Internally the plan was of a U-shaped configuration and divided into three main areas. In assessing the existing layout we found that the distinct drinking areas created by the various historical modifications contributed to the quality of the experience and that to combine them into one large room, although potentially more efficient, could destroy the character of the pub. With this in mind, our main task became to design an additional drinking area that could develop its own character over time and which would not compromise the other spaces.

To the side of the building was an empty plot where the adjoining terraced house once stood. This plot provided a small external yard in the space left over from previous single-storey extensions for the male and female toilet blocks. We proposed to relocate the male and female toilets to the rear of the extension so as to be able to position the new bar room to the front of the building with windows facing onto Roscoe Street.

Traditional materials were used throughout the ground floor to tie the new extension with the existing building in a common palette - solid oak floor boards to the bar and quarry tiles to the toilets. The knock-through opening linking the extension to the existing pub was kept to reasonable size so that the space can still be read as a series of individual rooms. A new staircase was positioned directly in front of the existing entrance door to provide access to the first floor of the new extension. On the first floor, a new roof terrace was created with a covered loggia featuring a bull’s-eye window to the street. An internal space was also created to the rear for a future kitchen fitted with a dumb-waiter lift connected to the ground floor preparation area.

An external space that can be used as a beer garden is a great asset for an inner city pub and the proposal to relocate the ‘yard’ to the first floor got the support of the Landlord straight away. We aimed to keep the traditional backyard aesthetic - exposed reclaimed bricks to the walls and concrete paving flags to the floor.

Taking inspiration from existing stone copings noticeable in the surrounding Georgian Quarter and our own interpretation of traditional pub facades as being quite flamboyant, we proposed to design the front wall of the lean-to annex as a ‘dutch-gable’ facing Roscoe Street. We located an external pendant light fitting directly behind the hardwood circular window to suggest that the space behind might be internal. The glazed brick detail to the head and cill of the ground floor windows to the new extension was developed to acknowledge the long-standing tradition of using glazed tiles, or bricks in the facades of public houses.

As part of the remedial works to the elevations we designed a new shopfront with more detail and relief than the previous one and specified a new lime render to the external walls to allow the old building to breathe again and alleviate current dampness problems in the walls of the first floor accommodation. New metal rainwater goods were incorporated all around the building, including to the new extension where the downpipes are recessed into the wall, protected from pavement foot-traffic around the pub.