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Landmark Dundee pubs reopens after £630k transformation

The former Mercantile pub on Commercial Street opens its doors for the first time in four years this weekend with a new look and a new name following a £630k refurbishment by Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars and new licensees Tommy and Jacqueline Fox.

Now called The Barrelman, the Grade-A listed building2 has been transformed into a stylish bar offering outstanding food and drink and, when measures permit, great entertainment. Originally scheduled for April, the opening was delayed by lockdown. It is creating 25 new jobs.

The investment has given The Barrelman a stunning contemporary design with exposed brickwork, wooden floors and a glass stage plus a subtle nautical vibe in its quirky artwork and features. Spread over three floors, The Barrelman comfortably holds 120 even with social distancing.

The venue boasts a bar, dining area, zones with booth and soft seating and a mezzanine-level function space as well as outside café style seating. Other changes include new toilets, a new kitchen and massive floor to ceiling windows.

Tommy Fox said, “Local interest has been huge. It’s exciting to be finally opening. The Barrelman looks totally different to anywhere else in Dundee now. Anyone who comes is blown away; they can’t believe it’s the same place.

“The centre of Dundee is picking up again but with bars and restaurants operating at reduced capacity, it’s difficult to get into many places. We feel very fortunate that The Barrelman is such a big airy venue where customers can easily space out. It can accommodate 120, so people can safely enjoy drinks, a meal or a great night out in a fantastic atmosphere with a social buzz around them.”

The Barrelman will open at 11am. Freshly prepared food will be served all day, starting with brunch and using locally sourced produce from Angus farms and the city’s butchers and fishmongers. The menu will offer contemporary Scottish dishes, pub classics with a modern twist and a variety of small plates. The drinks range will span premium lagers and craft beers, a superb selection of wines, spirits and cocktails and barista coffee.

The Foxs have put a host of safety measures in place to keep customers and staff safe. Customers will be greeted at the door and shown to their tables, which will be sanitised between every use. Whilst booking is encouraged, there will be an allocation of tables for walk-in customers, too.”

Brian Davidson, Star Pubs & Bars operations director for Scotland, commented, “Tommy and Jacqueline are highly professional operators with great vision and we wish them well. The Barrelman is certainly worth the wait – it looks amazing and it’s totally unique. This is a major development that will really add to Commercial Street and the centre of Dundee.”