History

We got the keys to 1120 South Street on Christmas Eve 2003. We started building work with the studios on the first floor and studio 2 doubled up as a cafe area for coffees, drinks, sweets and snacks & we rented the rest of the building out. We held our first dance showcases there, but after a couple of years we embarked on the next stage of knocking down walls and opening the ground left area up to house the cafe.

It was an expensive process, not least because that section of the building had been built to double as an air raid shelter during WWII and was nigh on indestructable. What was expected to take 2 days took 2 weeks. We hired in builders for the big jobs but the rest of the work was done by ourselves and the help of friends and family.

The cafe has a "Shabby Chic" style for a reason - mainly because everything is recycled because we were on such a tight budget and couldn't afford to buy new (quite handy having a scrap yard next door)! Not to say we weren't choosy about what we recycled - beautiful brass lights, steel table pedestals etc .... but it no doubt adds to the atmosphere of the place.

The dance floor in the cafe has a sprung floor with each board screwed into place, made of really tough Ybyraro hardwood - it had to be tough to withstand the Flamenco shoes. The walls & ceilings are plastered (some by Alexis) and varnished because we decided we wanted to keep that semi-industrial look. Thus the beams are painted but uncovered and tables hand built in many cases, the bar top is made of the same hardwood as our dancefloor. So recycled as necessity but still in keeping with design.

The business of getting completion certificates seemed endless and was extremely frustrating. Finally we got our licence 31st July 2008 and had not a penny to stock the bar! Again ... it was make a little then improve a little but when we got an outstanding review from Ron McKenna in the Herald Magazine we were taking by storm.

To Begin with Alexis and Karen with the help of 1 or 2 extra staff were doing all the cooking ... and we found ourselves running out to supermarkets to buy stock throughout that day .... on top of the fact that we had a Flamenco Show in the evening as part of the West End Festival which had sold out ... we just were'nt prepared for such a sudden influx of people.

Well we had to give in at one point and close the kitchen for a couple of hours to get food prepared for the evening. The next Saturday was a repeat performance for the kitchen by which time we had hired more help in, but with another sold out Cabaret Show on, we still had to close the kitchen for a couple of hours.

It's still very much a work in progress and of course the recession stopped any further improvements for the last couple of years. We used to joke that we had been in a credit crunch for years before it actually hit - but we weren't prepared for the huge effect it would have on everyone. ... But we're still here and it's a real labour of love and the support and encouragement we get from customers & friends who love our quirky little place is immeasurable, from helping to lay floors to more recently redesigning our cafe toilets.

 

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