Plans for tapas bar and Orwell-themed cocktail venue in Wigan railway arches
The transformation of the arches beneath a Wigan railway station continues apace as two new businesses are seeking premises licences.
The entrepreneurs behind Spanish eatery Plata Tapas and George Orwell themed cocktail bar 1984 have submitted applications to Wigan Council to open up underneath Wigan North Western.
Other news: Horror smash on busy Wigan road: Three arrested after mobility scooter rider diesIf successful they will join a thriving corner for eating and drinking establishments as they will be next door to new wine and gin bar Hideout Wigan and long-established award-winning real ale haunt Wigan Central.
Businessman John Brearley is also bringing the Swan and Railway pub, just around the corner on Wallgate, back to its former glory.
Plata Tapas is the brainchild of Ashton resident David Davies and his business partner David Brunt, while Wiganers Michael Brennan and Sam Taylor have come up with the idea for 1984.
Neither pair of entrepreneurs are fazed by opening in an area with numerous other establishments and indeed hope they will all support each other to draw residents out of the town centre to that particular spot.
Sam, who has a decade’s experience in bar and catering work, said: “We’ve been and spoken to the owners of Hideout and he gave us some really good advice about opening our first business and how they dealt with any problems they came up against.
“It’s a case of us all working together and making it a destination for people to go out in Wigan. It’s for people who fancy some cocktails on a night out as opposed to the carnage of King Street.
“I think there will be pretty much something for everyone there.”
David, who has long nursed an ambition to open a tapas eatery after 21 years working in the optical industry, said: “This seems like the right time to open Plata because of the other places opening up where the arches are.
“It seems like that area is having a change with some nice bars going up.”
Both premises are seeking permission for alcohol to be supplied on and off the site and for regulated entertainment, with Plata also looking for approval for late-night refreshment.
The tapas venue wants to remain open until 2am on New Year’s Eve and 1am on the Sunday before a bank holiday.
David is bringing his deep love of the food of southern Spain and particularly Andalucia to the borough and says his tapas venue will be an authentic slice of Iberian life.
He said: “It’s going to be as authentic as possible. It did enter my head to do a Wigan tapas with mini pies but maybe I will use that for a special occasion one day. It definitely won’t be on the menu.
“I love eating tapas and have been to lots of different places around Spain. It’s a nice, informal way of having something to eat and drink with friends. I think it will catch on in Wigan and fit in well with what’s already there at the arches.
“This is completely new to both me and David, whose background is working as a director of a printing company in Manchester. I’ve done 21 years in my current industry and wanted a complete change. This has been in my head for a few years so I thought I would give it a go.”
If the application is successful David says he will be doing the cooking while his fellow entrepreneur looks after the business side of Plata, which means silver in Spanish and is a light-hearted reference to David’s hair colour.
Businessmen Michael and Sam, meanwhile, have chosen a chapter of Wigan’s history for their cocktail bar by basing the idea around one of the most famous books by George Orwell, an author inextricably linked to the borough.
Michael has previously run a cocktail bar in Lancaster and he and Sam, who both now live near Trencherfield Mill, are planning a rather cool, chic nightspot which is still affordable.
Sam said: “Michael recently re-read 1984 and as we’d been talking about setting up a bar we ran with it.
“We want the interior to have lots of dark wood and propaganda posters on display.
“We also want to do a personalised gin called Victory, which they drink in the book.”
Michael said: “It’s going to look very industrial. We want to get that more upmarket clientele involved but the places to get a cocktail at the moment are expensive so we want it to be affordable as well as catering to the higher market.
“We want to draw people down to our end of town.”
The closing date for comments on the licensing applications for both Plata and 1984 is March 8.
To look at the applications visit www.wigan.gov.uk/Business/Licensing-Permits-Registrations/Entertainment-Alcohol-Late-Night-Refreshments/Premises-Pending-Apps.aspx