Bullhouse East provides a permanent taproom for a Belfast craft brewery within a formerly vacant retail unit in the east of the city.
A limited budget aimed to create an inclusive and convivial space, bringing life to a main arterial route between Belfast City Centre, the east of the city and the suburbs beyond. It contributes active frontage day and night to a stretch of road with limited footfall that has been shuttered during the evening for several decades.
Re–using the existing shutters and shopfront glazing, minor amendments were made to the signage fascia. Internally the floor was repaired and painted. The fixed benches and bar were formed using brick that was salvaged from the creation of new openings between the bar, beer garden and backstreet. Ash–veneered panelling from the previous retail fit–out was stained and recycled, and metal framing from the former fitting rooms was painted and repurposed to create a lighting feature.
The main project cost related to a new ventilation system that generates sufficient air changes to address building control requirements for the internal environment (taking post–covid concerns into account). Externally the beer garden provides seating and a wood–fired pizza oven and associated kitchen area.
Bullhouse East has been a huge success, drawing a diverse clientele of all ages, as envisaged by the client. It provides local employment and a much–needed social venue. In the medium term Bullhouse East has the potential to serve as a catalyst for further regeneration and business investment in the immediate vicinity.