It’s been a long time coming but Shh! Bar at 48 Northgate finally opened for business a couple of weeks ago and is already firmly on Blackburn’s ‘must do’ map. Hidden behind its discrete and unassuming black shop front, is an intimate but perfectly flamboyant bar complete with cocktails, cake and a baby grand piano.
Owners Michael and Martin first told us about their idea of bringing the speakeasy trend to Blackburn almost a year ago. Taking inspiration from the 1920’s American speakeasy movement that flouted the law of Prohibition, the underground world of elusive retro bars with unmarked entrances is fast becoming the hottest new scene in cities across the globe. The idea of bringing speakeasy to Blackburn however, seemed a little risky but with years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality business, good local knowledge and their own distinctive personal style we knew Michael and Martin were the perfect candidates to pioneer the idea.
With a bit of support from the Council in the form of a small property improvement grant and lots of encouragement from the Townscape Heritage Project, the guys set to work to make it happen.
Refurbishment work of the Council owned property started the day they got the keys. The property had some asbestos that needed to be removed and new customer toilets were also installed.
Where possible they recycled material, upcycled furniture and became connoisseurs of the vintage and retro.
Although the bars décor was kept pretty hush hush, glimpses of its distinctive and glamourous style started to appear. The sight of a baby grand piano being wheeled down Northgate created a bit of intrigue………and then there were the feathers!
After a few teething problems with the fire alarm and Wi-Fi, on Friday 24th November the bar formally opened and customers got to see and experience Shh! in all of its glory.
The story doesn’t stop here. We’ll continue to work with Michael and Martin in the New Year, to develop a Townscape Heritage scheme to renovate the property further, restoring some of its original features and hopefully bring the upper floors back into use as a Shh! bistro.
For now, you can enjoy coffee, cakes and cocktails from 11am daily with live piano music 8-10pm on Friday and Saturday nights.