This morning (Friday 30th July, 2004)
the kitchen bar was finally demolished. Despite last
minute hopes of possible preservation the developers
finally knocked it down in the early hours, with a
minimum of fuss. Leave
your comments about the loss of the kitchen bar on
the Your Place and Mine Messageboard
Here are the latest photographs:
Kitchen Bar, just last week
Kitchen Bar on the morning of 30th July 2004
In July 2000 plans for Victoria
Square (central Belfast), submitted by a Dutch-based
multi-national development company M.D.C., were selected
by the Department of Social Development over 3 rival
Four years later, after many buts and
maybes, appeals and stern public opinion in favour
of the survival of the Kitchen Bar, the wrecking ball
Rita Harkin from the Ulster Architectural Heritage
Society said, "The demise of this 19th century
theatre bar is deeply infuriating, given the strength
and breadth of opposition.
What does it take to get the message across? Rare gems
like the Kitchen Bar should be viewed as assets."
The building work, or rather demolishing work, so far,
has left a huge, open expanse of mangled concrete and
leaves the area resembling a war scene.
|The site is opened
up so much that you can now see the buildings of
Victoria Street in the background.
buildings which faced Chichester Street are sliced
apart like the honeycomb chambers of a bee's nest.
|This is the view
from what used to be the corner of Victoria Square
retail centre and Chichester Street. The Kitchen
Bar was on the far left of the site.
can just make out the roof of the the Waterfront
Hall, far right. The Laganside redevelopment is
one of the reasons why the Victoria Square scheme
got the go-ahead.
|The Kitchen Bar
hides behind the heavy plant machinery awaiting
you turned the oven off?" Pat Catney, (on the
right) the bar's owner, begins the clear out.
Once a boarding house for young ladies working in
a nearby department store, The Kitchen Bar was opened
in 1859. The walls are full of black and white photographs
depicting the clientele from the Empire Theatre which
once stood next to the bar.
As well as hearty Irish grub like Roast Chicken dinners,
Stew and champ, the KBS - Kitchen Bar Special- also
known as the ‘Paddy Pizza’ was a firm favourite
with lunchtime punters. A huge slab of home made soda
farl was covered with tomatoes, onions, thick slices
of County Antrim ham and enough cheddar cheese to choke
a donkey. 'Quare packin'. If you had a a KBS (also served
with an optional side of sausages or an egg on top )
and a pint of stout you'd be well stocked up for the
The atmosphere in the bar is one of cigarette smoke,
banter and fine ales. The staff are very friendly, but
have a razor wit, ready to fire back a stinging retort
to any attempt at mockery.
|The business end
of the The Kitchen Bar . Many a hot whiskey and
stew have been ordered here on a cold day.
rear of the bar, towards the Parlour bar end. Note
the theatrical black and white prints on the wall.
A £300 million plan to regenerate Belfast City Centre
has been launched and the Victoria Square scheme will
consist of 500,000sq ft of retail space, 150,000sq ft
of leisure facilities, including a health club, cinema
and restaurants, and around 100 residential units.
The scheme will create around 3,000 jobs during the
construction phase, with another 3,000 created when
the scheme opens in Spring 2007.
NIO Minister, John Spellar added his seal of approval
“My vision for the future of Belfast is for a
city that is an attractive and vibrant centre for all
its citizens and one that can compete with the best
in Europe. This Statement will help to achieve this
by providing the momentum to regenerate the City Centre.
It will deliver an exciting package of new jobs, new
homes, new retail opportunities for investors and local
entrepreneurs and an attractive environment for everyone
living in the city"
At the time of writing (July '04 ) the Kitchen Bar
is to demolished within days and once the new Victoria
Square scheme is complete the bar's current owner plans
to re-locate nearby.
So, will a new look Kitchen Bar equal 145 years of
Irish pub authenticity? Surely the massive injection
of facilities in this area is more than able to replace
the benefits of a single pub ?
More pictures of the Kitchen
Watch the demolition
of Churchill House
Let us know your thoughts, fill in the form below or
start a discussion on the YPAM