Leeds’ business district is a fusion of past and future. Gleaming modern towers sit side by side with Victorian brick. Right in the heart of the district is Leeds Postal Service, a bar that draws on Leeds’ history and brings it bang up to date.
Creative director Barry Darnell explains. “The main postal sorting office used to be on this site, until it closed down in the 80s. We wanted to capture a little slice of that history, creating the idea that a small part of that old workplace survived to this day.”
The interior has been designed to recreate the look and feel combining authentic period furniture alongside carefully chosen modern equipment.
“We have three main areas,” says Barry. “When you first walk through the door you pass through our self-contained off licence, where you can pick up a beer to drink in or take away. Through a large glazed door you’ll find the Postal sorting office, which is purposely meant to feel a bit rough and ready. It’s got a concrete floor, tin top tables, everything looks aged and well used. This is where the workers would be. The final area is the Postmasters Office, which has parquet flooring, plush sofas, games consoles and more, the idea is being it’s the perfect space for the boss to relax in, while keeping a watchful eye on his staff!”
Refrigeration plays a more central role at the bar than usual, and Barry knew they had to have something special for what they were planning. “You don’t normally think about the fridges when you come to a bar. Or even see them! But we knew we wanted to make a focal point out of them.”
One of the unusual features at Leeds Postal Service is that it is self-service. Customers can admire their range of craft beers close up, before picking out what they want themselves. “We knew we needed equipment that looked amazing while fitting in with the concept,” says Barry.
In collaboration with project managers W&D Studio, they considered their options. “Initially we were considering finding vintage American fridges, but W&D pointed out that servicing them would be a nightmare – even if we could locate spare parts!” Luckily, W&D had the perfect solution. “They told us about Retro Refrigeration from Precision, which was exactly what we were looking for.”
Precision’s Retro Refrigeration combines fifties styling with the latest technology, creating a modern, high performance refrigerator. With electronic controls, sensors and zero ODP injected polyurethane insulation, it’s capable of operating in high ambient temperatures up to 43°.
Leeds Postal Service has the optional clear glass doors in order to showcase its range, but solid metal or ridged glass are also available. Interior LED lighting ensures the product is visible, while reducing energy use to a minimum.
The metal exterior is designed to be easy to clean, while the stainless steel interior and adjustable shelves allow for great flexibility. “It’s been very easy to use,” says Barry. “The controls are simple to use, and it’s maintained its temperature perfectly – complete peace of mind!”
It’s also possible to customise Retro Refrigeration units by painting it to match your décor, simply by providing Precision with a RAL number. “We had our unit painted what I call Canteen Green,” says Barry. “It’s a beautiful, light green. It looks very authentically 1960s, straight out of a school cafeteria. It looks amazing.”
With projects like this, it’s all about getting the details right. “We had a lot of fun at my branding agency, Made By Analogue, sourcing key pieces,” Barry explains. “We have some beautiful Venetian plastering, genuine Victorian tiles, our moving neon sign – and the fridge was one of these strategic purchases. It fits in perfectly alongside the genuine retro pieces.”
Toni Dixon of W&D Studio adds, “The retro refrigerator was the perfect fit for the scheme, offering not just a great display for the off licence section of the bar, but also a focal point and a first impression of what the bar has to offer.”
“We couldn’t recommend Precision strongly enough,” says Barry. “They’ve guided us through every step of the process, helping us pick exactly what we need, choosing the colour, delivered it exactly when they said they would – the service has been fantastic.”
“Plus, it’s made in Britain. It’s great to see something of this quality made here, and it’s a good feeling supporting a local company.”
The Retro fridge was supplied by CHR Equipment, for more information visit www.chrequipment.co.uk
For more information about W&D Studio visit www.wadstudio.co.uk