The Philharmonic renovations start to take shape

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Simon Little, Craig Davies and Nick Newman of The Philharmonic

The extensive £750,000 refurbishment of Cardiff’s beloved bar, The Philharmonic, is making swift progress as its much-anticipated spring opening date draws near.

Building work on the historic venue has been taking place since June 2016, though the past month has seen significant progress in the layout and design work being carried out across all three floors.

A lot of work had to go into the initial build to repair a lot of the remedial work carried out by previous owners and due to the complicated structure of the building.

Director of Croeso Pubs Ltd, which has bought the lease for The Philharmonic, Simon Little, said: “The refurbishment is going really well and we’re looking forward to seeing more developments in the next few weeks. The top floor is really coming together now with paint going on the walls and we’re really excited to see everything begin to fall into place.”

The renovations have uncovered many hidden gems in the building, including a lane through the middle of the building and an original tile floor. The latest find was one that threw up a few challenges as they knocked through a wall to create an entrance to the new basement gents’ toilets.

Croeso Pub director, Craig Davies, explained: “We had expected that knocking through a doorway of this size should take a day at most, though this particular passage ended up taking three days to break through, as the wall was around 3ft thick. It was a challenge for the builders, but they managed it.”

Directors Craig Davies and Simon Little, who currently run two successful independent city centre venues, Brewhouse and Retro, plan to keep a balance between preserving the history of the building and bringing something contemporary and exciting to Cardiff.

This week has also seen a 360-degree bar fitted as an impressive centrepiece to the bottom floor of venue. Simon Little added: “We’d like the front of house to be recognisable as the Philharmonic that we all know and love, and then we’ll be bringing in some new additions and a more current, present-day feel towards the rear of the building so that there’s something for everybody.”