Queen Mary Students' Union

reacts to an increase in high street competition

  From: Night Magazine Dec 2008
  Date: Dec 2008


With the students deserting the University for the lengthy summer period, Queen Mary Students' Union capitalised on the quiet spell to overhaul its social centre in a two-pronged strategy that has made the venue both functionally intelligent and more competitive. The days of student unions being able to compete on price alone are long gone, as increasingly unions have to challenge with high street brands, in an ever more competitive market place.

Commercial operations manager, Ethan James, explained the need for change: "It was a bar before, but it was a bar with a nightclub above it. The bar has a traditional pub feel, but we wanted to create something suitable and appealing for food during the day, which could be transformed at night into a clubby venue."

Inova Furniture Contracts has supplied a mixture of Italian, Swedish and British furniture, including banquet seating from Morris, pinch stools from Naughtone and bobbin armchairs by Connection.

Although the aesthetic is quite slick, it is clear practical necessities have had a strong influence on the choice of materials and ultimately the overall look. The infrastructure in the ceiling above the dancefloor has been left exposed giving a raw, industrial feel. Amongst the cable boxing, and air conditioning, the Nexo sound system installed by Viba Sound can be spotted along with Robe lighting and the customary mirror ball. Peter Kellet from Viba Sound explained the choice of sound system: "We specified Nexo PS 8 and LS 400 for its flexibility. We had to work with lower ceiling heights in the bar and main dancefloor so it was the perfect choice."

With a second room still to develop, the transformation of Drapers Bar will continue to evolve following this main refurbishment. In order to remain competitive, Ethan knows that the venue cannot rest on its laurels, as he explained: "We aim to be a good place to go; the atmosphere's good and the locality is convenient for our students. The most important thing is to keep on top of it and make sure it still looks new two years down the line."


Drapers Bar
Queen Mary Students' Union
432 Bancroft Road
Tel: 020 7882 8455
Owner: Queen Mary Students' Union www.qmsu.co.uk

Key Contractors

Interior Designer: HLM Architects / WDC
Main Contractor: H Peel & Son
Light, Sound and Visual Installation: Viba Sound
Bar Design: Interbar
Furniture: Inova Furniture Contracts
Flooring: Armtico / Architectural Ceramics
Epos Provider: Q Systems / Fidelity Systems
Refrigeration: Infrigo


Pouring brands: Smirnoff vodka, Gordons gin, Bacardi rum, Jack Daniels bourbon
Lead PPL: £2.10 (Budweiser) // Lead PPS: £2 VK // Cocktail list: Yes

Words: Michael Nicholson
Photos: Jim Ellam and Viba Sound
From: Night Magazine Dec 2008

Queen Mary University London Student Union
Queen Mary University London Student Union
Queen Mary University London Student Union
Queen Mary University London Student Union



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