The Coal Shed in Brighton by the restaurateur Razak Helalat has now had a refurbishment since it opened over 5 years ago. The exterior is painted a darker tone of grey and the planter boxes have gone from above the fascia making the shopfront look more simplified. The interior however has a transformation with the introduction of the same dark grey as the exterior brought in to paint the ceiling, dado height panelling and behind the bar.
The old chimney breasts and the vintage fireplaces that were once on show and stood out for all the wrong reasons have now been disguised by a sleek covering of black gloss tiles in vertical block arrangement. This inexpensive finish has really created a new focal point to the scheme. New window treatment of low height muslin curtains on a brass rails provide privacy between diners and the footpath and help to visually soften the environment.
Large dark coloured velvet curtains at the entrance have also been installed to keep draughts away from the diners and this is a great way to provide comfort without the expense and loss of space that a lobbied entrance requires. It is good to see that wall art has been uplifted and the new modern framed art comprising of architectural blueprints of the nearby hippodrome has been reworked to a unique monochrome black and white effect.
The rear banquette seating under the rooflantern has been reupholstered with a warm Laguna brown leather and buttons and the rear wall has been covered with an antique style hand silvered mirror which really makes this area the most desirable destination to dine in.
The bar now stands out as one of the main focuses in the interior scheme and the full height rear bar shelving display may not be fully useable but create an impact. The rear bar now has antique mirrored glass and grey gloss tiles below it which contrast with the new oak shelving and exposed black box frames.
The ceiling suspended gantry over the front bar is a lot smaller in scale and pretty unusable at that great height. In fact it could be lowered or even omitted as it interferes with the row of single pendant lights hanging in front. The main bar however has been finished with dark grey painted fielded panels to the front and side and the top is covered with dark timber lacquered finish.
The existing original timber floor has been retained but unfortunately the stairs to the first floor private dining area are still covered in a vinyl floorcovering and bulky stair nosing commonly seen in restaurant back of house areas. The new dark oak dining chairs are finished in lacquer and with colourful seat pad upholstery in either teal, yellow, black and tan. The dining tables have been revived with dark oak table tops and elegantly edged with a wide band of brass and countersunk brass screws.
Coal Shed restaurant architects improved the old lighting scheme with a lot more feature lights and also downlights to provide layers of moody lighting. In addition to the clear glass blown shade pendants over the bar, the nearby front window bay area has spun brassy metal shades of varying shapes and sizes and hung at varying levels. The centre of the ceiling is substantially covered with hung cut glass pendants that wouldn’t be out of place in a Victorian room.
Exposed bulbs on flex are commonplace in the leisure and retail designs of late and they have been adopted here too. They are wrapped around the exposed beam structure above the rear banquette area but this area could equally have a couple of classy wall lights and less pendants.
8 Boyces Street, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 1AN