Ivy will ‘bolster hospitality offering’ claims restaurant bosses

A restaurant beloved by the rich and famous will “further bolster” Liverpool’s “burgeoning premium hospitality offering,” bosses have claimed.

It was confirmed on Monday that the long-unoccupied former Bank of England building on Castle Street is to be brought back into life as Troia Restaurants has secured planning permission to bring the high-end Ivy brand to the city. The former bank building is now on course to be the Ivy’s third North West venue.

Ahead of the premium venue’s impending arrival, officials behind the Ivy have said it can only be a boost for the city’s food sector.

Plans to convert the former into a new dining venue were signed off by Liverpool Council’s planning committee last August with speculation rife over who would take over the location. The proposals are bringing the site back into life having been left vacant for the best part of two decades.

The new venue will be part of the Ivy Collection, a series of spin-off restaurants the firm has opened since 2014. The brand was first linked with a move to the city in 2022 when designs to take over a location at 7 Water Street fell away and became the home of Argentinian chain, Gaucho.

The Ivy Brasserie will occupy the site, opening seven days a week offering full service from breakfast to dinner. A planning statement said: “The menu will feature contemporary and classic signature dishes from the Ivy’s extensive menu and has been designed to meet the needs and desires of any occasion.

“The Ivy is a destination in itself. Customers will travel to Liverpool to visit the restaurant which will subsequently attract additional money, investment, and visitors into the city.”

The Castle Street bank building was famously occupied in 2015 by a group called Love Activists, who called for it to be used as a centre to support homeless people. Plans to convert the ground floor into a restaurant/bar use along with commercial kitchens were first submitted in 2022.

Troia Restaurants and its agents Pegasus Group visited the site with council officials in December 2023 and April this year to discuss changes to the building. According to a planning document, Liverpool Council welcomed the interest in the long-empty former bank.

It said, “Both the applicant and the council are keen to work together to ensure that the building is brought back into an active use whilst preserving, enhancing, and respecting the special interest and significance of the building.”

As The Old Bank of England building is a Grade 1 listed building, only certain alterations are permitted.

New documents indicate a new fabric awning embossed with The Ivy name would be installed, alongside a brass backlit sign and four planters. A free-standing menu sign would also be situated outside the building.

A spokesperson for Pegasus Group said, “Liverpool has an array of beautiful, historic buildings and we’re very pleased to have played our part in bringing 31 Castle Street back to life.

“The Ivy is much-loved across the UK and this new operation will further bolster the city’s burgeoning premium hospitality offering.

“We would like to thank the officers at Liverpool Council for being proactive both at pre-application stage and during the determination of the applications and will look upon the transformation of this building with particular interest and excitement.”

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