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Harveys Cellars – of Harveys Bristol Cream fame – has relaunched as a bar-restaurant serving a range of sherry options, including Harveys’ VORS collection and sherry flights, with tapas pairings.
New owner Clinton McLeary told Square Meal: ‘I have spent a lot of time in Spain and have become very accustomed to the whole tapas concept. There was no way I could have taken over such a famous building and let the sherry heritage disappear from Bristol, so pairing the sherries with tapas seemed natural.’
The venue was previously part of the Harveys Bristol Cream cellars, which date to the late 1700s. From 1964 it was run as a restaurant, latterly under Michelin-starred chef Daniel Galmiche, until it closed in 2003.
For this new venture, the interior has been modernised with an island bar, VIP area, live-music room and private room, although a few nods to the history of the building are evident – including a small museum area tracing the history of Harveys, sherry barrels for tables in the VIP lounge, and the restaurant’s original baby grand in the music room.
London saw an explosion of tapas-and-sherry bars in 2011, including destinations such as Capote y Toros, José, Bar Pepito and Copita, and interest in the drink is increasing, with the UK just behind Spain in terms of consumption. Bristol’s historic ties with sherry see it following the trend set by the capital.
Buoyed by renewed public interest in sherry, McLeary plans to roll out the concept across the UK.