The Rickety Press


This independent pub is just around the corner form the Oxford University Press and the client aimed to reposition the venue as a casual dining and drinking bar for the employees, students and young professionals who live in the area.

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Dodo Pub Co / Arkells

The current layout involved a defined dining room that would become dead space once food service ceased and the client wished to make the whole pub a more useable multi-purpose venue at all times of day. The main requirement was that customers could feel at ease eating or drinking anywhere in the pub from breakfast through ‘til late.

There was also a need to encourage late night trade by being able to accommodate live music and DJs and update equipment to improve speed of service in addition to launching a new cocktail list

The Dodo Pub Co took a very active part in the design providing a great eye for detail and a strong sense of how the decoration and upholstery should work together. There was also the bonus of an Aladdin’s cave of bric-a-brac and light fittings in their garage.

The overall interior design scheme has transformed the pub into a single venue with a quirky industrial theme. It was important that the scheme didn’t ‘try too hard’ and the venue has maintained its relaxed, welcoming feel, serving customers across a broad range of occasions.

The scheme is a canvas of dark and moody shades, reclaimed timber and corrugated metal accented by striking sections of bright red and orange with a liberal helping of vintage style and panache.

The client already had a huge amount of vintage light fittings some of which were re-wired to light up the venue. Also put to good use was their collection of vintage artwork and bric-a-brac with some additional key pieces were selected from The Revivalist warehouse.

The furniture in the main bar has been reborn with Harris Tweed cloth and vibrant leathers. New pieces have been added to the mix including a section of high fixed seating constructed from reclaimed pallets and finished with bright leather under subtle checks and complemented by vivid metal stools. The area is wrapped with a 1920’s newspaper, an era that is celebrated through posters and artwork in the scheme.

One of the most important areas of the scheme was the bar and serving area itself. The client specified a more independent feel including a new configuration to allow faster service and new product ideas.

The bar top was stripped and stained a deep red tone with the front painted in a high gloss finish. A new back fitting of glazed ceramic and copper was added and this houses stylish chrome taps with brand names hand painted onto the tiles. Under the counter the stainless steel structure was rebuilt and two sleek copper cocktail stations added to increase speed whilst enhancing the theatre of the cocktail mixology in full flow.

A simple transition area leading to the back lounge allowed the addition of two new booths and the original dining room now has three large booths and a mix of loose furniture that encourages more casual use. The fixed seating element has been cleverly constructed to move to one side for bands, DJs and other events, thus adding greatly to the flexibility of the venue.

The lounge has many eclectic features, in one corner a mysterious vintage door houses ‘the magic cupboard’, a secret waiter station that becomes a sealed doorway to the unknown once food service ends. To the right a gallery of feature wall finishes includes a large bespoke mural by Sheffield artist Ian Hudson and the final touch is a bespoke neon light illuminating the distinctive logo of The Dodo Pub Company.

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