Pub of the week: Banco Lounge

11 07 2012

In the midst of economic doom and gloom across the world, a chain of bars from Bristol is enjoying enormous success. The Loungers chain, set up by three friends a decade ago, has won the backing of private financiers in a multi-million pound deal. There are currently 24 Lounge bars across the South West, but plans are in place to open a whopping 250 new outlets.

According to this story last week in The Post, there may be soon a new Lounge bar in Portishead and another bar in Bristol, with Manchester and Liverpool cited as ideal cities into which to expand.

“In spite of the worst recession in more than two generations, the company has seen its profits rise by more than 27 per cent, to £3.14 million,” The Post reports.

“At the same time, the company’s turnover increased by a staggering 38 per cent, to more than £15 million… Managing director and founder Alex Reilley is confident that the firm is on the brink of creating a nationwide brand.”

The Banco Lounge in Totterdown was the fifth Lounge to open in Bristol, in June 2006 in what had been a YMCA since Lloyds Bank closed their branch. Banco’s beer cellar is housed in the old bank vault, complete with original safe door.

The Loungers website describes the Banco Lounge as having “arguably the most character” of any of the Lounges. This statement is definitely a possibility, as the sandstone front of the old bank remains, giving the impression that the Banco Lounge was not simply converted from the bank, but instead just began to inhabit and grow from within.

The Banco is one of the smallest Lounges in Bristol, but this isn’t necessarily to its detriment, as the closeness creates a sense of homely snugness only added to by the dim lighting that comes on as the sun goes down.

As in all the Lounges, Banco has a wide selection of coffees and teas, as well as a selection of the stronger stuff; no Guinness, but Bath Ales Dark Side Stout, and this substitution gives you an idea of the local vibe the Loungers tend to push.

The Banco Lounge caters to the customer, and not the other way around, and that could be the secret to their continued success.

By Oscar Taylor-Kent

Banco Lounge, 107 Wells Road, Totterdown, Bristol, BS4 2BS. 
Telephone: 0117 908 6010
Twitter: @BancoLounge



One response

11 07 2012
Mark Barry

Bland environment, formulae food accompanied to the ping of the micro wave. Safe and full of those middle of the road sorts who prefer this bland chain to anywhere selling proper food with good ingredients. You get a better service and breakfast from the Art Cafe up the road and a much better value for money deal.

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