Former Ladbrokes nears end of two-year conversion into new Hartlepool cocktail bar
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The Bank will open in Church Street on Friday, December 16, and aims to bring the buzz back to a night out in the town centre.
Operators had planned to be open for businesses around Christmas last year.
But work to convert the former bank and most recently Ladbrokes betting shop was delayed after break-ins to the vacant flat above.
On three separate occasions thieves ripped out piping for scrap metal causing flooding to the bar below each time.
Tom Cook, one of the partners for the new bar, said: “It completely flooded it and did a great deal of damage around half way through the project.
"It was heartbreaking.”
But the operators are looking forward to finally opening.
Tom added: “We started back in January 2021 just after my dad died. He gave us a lot of inspiration in what we were doing.
"We’re trying to arc back to a time when Hartlepool’s nightlife used to be buzzing. That seems to have slowed down in the last 15 years.
"We hope that with the redevelopment in Church Street we can rekindle that and bring back that bustle.”
The bar has a botanical design to it, and it will concentrate on serving up a memorable cocktail experience for customers.
"The process of making the cocktails is just as important as the taste,” added Tom.
The interior has been influenced by his dad, Tim Cook, who was head of art at Hartlepool Sixth Form College. Pieces of his art are on display.
Tim’s favourite musician Tom Waits and his album Heartattack And Vine is also referenced including the title of one of his songs spelled out in neon lights.
The venture is something of a family affair with Tom’s mum Fiona and younger brother Ted among the partners.
The building was last a bar around 20 years ago. It has created five new jobs.
Tom praised their landlord and the goodwill of tradesmen for their help in completing the renovation.
There are also plans to open an open fire restaurant in the basement early next year in association with Sea Shack which Tom is also part of.