Plan for 'glamorous' cocktail bar to replace former Red's True Barbecue restaurant in Nottingham

A general view of the former Red's True Barbecue in Queen Street, Nottingham city centre
The former Red's True Barbecue in Queen Street, Nottingham city centre -Credit:Joseph Raynor/ Nottingham Post

A stylish New York-inspired cocktail bar could replace a prominent Nottingham restaurant that closed its doors after business costs ballooned. The closure of Red's True Barbecue on Queen Street in Nottingham city centre in February last year prompted disappointment amongst fans of the meat-focused eatery, but a prospective new occupier has now put forward plans to turn the historic building into a New York themed cocktail bar.

ARC Inspirations, the venue operator behind Thurland Street's BOX sports bar, wants to set up another branch of its 'Manahatta' branded bars in the empty unit, according to plans submitted to Nottingham City Council. The themed bar, which was originally going to occupy the former French Connection shop on Victoria Street, would be a "glamorous New York inspired cocktail bar with an exciting party vibe", the firm's planning agents said.

The city council would have to approve the proposed change of use and refurbishment of the Grade-II listed former head post office for this to happen. ARC's previous plan for Manahatta to be brought to Victoria Street was foiled as it could not plan around the historic Midland Bank's listed status - with pizzeria Rudy's later moving into the building instead.

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The bar group said the old restaurant on Queen Street was an ideal location for a new bar, explaining it would not make any changes to the outside of the ornate three-storey property. Representatives did however outline the inside of the building would be changed to make it "attractive and efficient".

In a planning document, architects Firstplan on behalf of applicant ARC Inspirations, said: "The internal alterations will offer subtle enhancements to the unit, providing a high quality, traditional appearance, that reflects our clients well known branding and operational requirements. Importantly, the alterations are entirely respectful of the building's listed status and will ensure the historic significance of the grade II listed building is not compromised – and indeed that its historic grandeur and charm is sensitively restored and exhibited."

ARC claimed its BOX sports bar Thurland Street had been "hugely popular" since opening in November 2023, encouraging it to expand its presence in the city. The firm's planning agent argued planning permission for the new Manahatta bar would enable the space to be used productively and create jobs - with bosses having a "real drive to open a new bar as soon as possible".

The planning application is pending consideration by Nottingham City Council. Further applications will however be submitted in due course for the shopfront alterations and signage, ARC said.

The former restaurant unit was put up 'to let' in recent months. There was hope that it could reopen when, last June, Tokyo Industries made a licensing application to Nottingham City Council seeking permission to pivot the Red's True Barbecue business to help it survive. The changes would have allowed Red's to serve drinks to customers who didn't wish to eat.

However, last September the building was repossessed by the landlords.