Blues Kitchen in Shoreditch revives tradition of faience fronted bars

The Blues Kitchen Shoreditch has recently opened, complete with a vast, four square, Victorian-inspired, ceramic tiled fronted bar. UK specialist tile company Craven Dunnill Jackfield was responsible for the project, from design to hand-manufacturing the tiles and then factory-mounting the tiles onto panels for rapid installation on site.

The Blues Kitchen faience tiled bar front was manufactured by Craven Dunnill Jackfield in keeping with the historical tradition which dates to the 1880s. It is opulent and rich in style, with a central motif which features a mythical lion’s head, embellished with swags and fruit. The deeply textured relief tiles are made using hand carved plaster moulds and decorated using metal oxide glazes which craze upon firing to create an authentic aged effect. Special moulded external corner fittings were designed and made, to allow the highly decorative and ornate patterning to flow seamlessly around the external corner of the bar front.

The lead time for the project was short – less than four months from the initial conversations to the installation of the faience bar front, back bar wall tiles and floor. Having agreed the design, Jackfield created CAD drawings, before plaster moulds were made for each tile element. The whole project required meticulous planning and outstanding ceramic expertise, for which the Jackfield team is widely recognised.

In order to meet the planned opening schedule, the Craven Dunnill Jackfield team explored options to reduce the time required to install the tiles and overcome issues associated with fixing heavy, ceramic tiles to a vertical surface. The solution was to supply to the contract pre-tiled modules that were assembled on site and grouted in situ for a purely professional finish.

The bar installation was completed on time and is a stunning piece of ceramic craftsmanship, authentic to a Victorian bar from a bygone era. It is robust and hard-wearing and able to withstand the hustle and bustle of a busy, stylish themed bar.

The Blues Kitchen Shoreditch is part of the Columbo Group. The spacious diner with dance area and stage boasts an impressive bourbon collection and Texan food. The eclectic interior style successfully combines a rusting, panelled ceiling, multi-coloured tables made from wood, garage forecourt accessories and exposed brick walls adorned with atmospheric publicity material, featuring Fats Waller, Mary Williams, BB King and the like. The tile fronted bar dominates the interior and measures around 35 linear metres.