Sign of the times – Shh! Bar set to expand into restored premises

Published Wednesday 22 June 2022 at 16:52

The secret is out! Shh! Bar has been officially revealed as the new tenants of a restored Blackburn public house.

The bar, well known for its striking 1920s, speakeasy décor, will move across the road later in the year to 35 Northgate.

Just a stones throw from King George’s Hall, the 19th Century building – formerly the Ribblesdale Hotel, Gladstone’s and then Baroque, is undergoing a £350,000 transformation.

It’s part of the Townscape Heritage Project in the Blakey Moor area – a new cultural quarter for the town.

On Tuesday, a brand new Shh! Bar sign was erected confirming the move much to the delight of owners Michael Mohan and Martin Booth-Morton.

Michael, who performs as Tinker Paradise at Shh!, said:

We are excited and terrified in equal measures!

This is one of the most iconic and beautiful buildings in Blackburn and we can’t wait to get in.

Of course, we’ll be keeping the iconic Shh! Bar look that our loyal customers love and I’m sure Tinker will be making an appearance more often.

We’ve been absolutely overwhelmed with all of the support we’ve received – including from the council’s Growth and Development Team and fellow bar owners in the town.

The completion of the restoration to this building and the work to Blakey Moor Terrace is creating something really special in this area.

We love Blackburn – it’s just fantastic to see it on the up!

Blackburn with Darwen Council bought the Northgate building in 2014 to help secure its future.

Sadly, its poor condition prevented its immediate reuse, but its architectural significance and prominent location made it a perfect candidate for a Townscape Heritage project.

Funding was secured through the National Lottery Heritage Fund for the external works with the council contributing towards that and the internal works along with the new bar owners.

Councillor Phil Riley, new Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, added:

Shh! Bar has brought something really different and successful to Blackburn and this is a fantastic move for them and the town.

We’re working hard to create a really strong cultural offer in that area of Blackburn with work also underway to restore neighbouring Blakey Moor Terrace.

Growing the town’s nightlife and offering a good selection of places to eat all in close proximity to King George’s Hall and the new Reel Cinema is key to the success of that and this is an exciting development.

Of course, we also have the £250m masterplan for the former Thwaites site and surrounding area too – the biggest plans for town centre regeneration in the whole region.

Someone said to me a few weeks ago, ‘when has Blackburn ever been so good’ – it really does feel like there’s a buzz about what’s happening here!

In the future, the larger Shh! premises will provide Michael and Martin with the opportunity to expand their established bar offer to include bar snacks on the ground floor and more formal dining on the first floor.

For all the latest updates on the progress and opening dates, follow Shh! Bar on Facebook.

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