A popular Chester restaurant has closed its doors – ahead of a £1.1m refurbishment that will transform it into a trendy cocktail bar.
Gin Rickey’s and Luke’s Eating House on St John Street has now closed after two years in business, and will re-open as upmarket food and cocktail venue The Alchemist this July.
It will be the company’s tenth site, following in the footsteps of branches open in Manchester, London, Leeds, Birmingham, Liverpool and Alderley Edge.
Simon Potts, managing director of The Alchemist, part of leisure company Living Ventures, said: “We’re incredibly proud to be opening our tenth site, just six years after the brand’s inception.
“When we launched in Spinningfields back in 2010, we looked to push the boundaries of the Manchester drinking and casual dining experience through theatrical cocktails, engaging service and interesting spaces.“
He added: “We’re now establishing ourselves as one of the most talked about bar and restaurant brands in the UK, and we are delighted to open in Chester and intend to bring something different to its food and drink scene.“
Gin Rickey’s and Luke’s Eating House has been a popular nightspot in Chester since it opened in January 2015.
Run by young chef Luke Thomas, it boasted a specialist gin bar downstairs and a separate upstairs restaurant.
Luke told The Chronicle: “After two successful years supporting & working with Odysian Ltd who own Gin Rickey’s, the venue and the 21-year lease has been sold to The Alchemist.
“It was great spending time close to home and working with Odysian on this project, I enjoyed working with a really incredible team that launched the venture along with the many local suppliers in all aspects who supported the business,” he explained.
“With the sale of the lease, this now allows my time to be focused on my International ventures such as Retro Feasts Dubai and launching my own concept Bar & Restaurant in London this year.
Luke added: “The Alchemist is a fantastic brand & a great addition to Chester, and I wish their team the very best of luck in continuing to serve Chester from this brilliant location.”
Hailing Chester as a city ‘rich in heritage with a bustling nightlife’, Simon said the opening of The Alchemist demonstrated the dedication and commitment of the team.
“2017 is set to be our most exciting year yet, as consumer demand increases for richer, immersive and shareable bar and restaurant experiences,” he added.