Grout & About: Mart’s Brewhouse & Tap

Welcome to another addition of our sporadic Grout & About feature in which we visit some of our favourite bars, venues, and eateries and take an in-depth look at their unique interior style. This time round, we hot-footed it across town to Mart’s Brewhouse & Tap in Stoke on Trent, a place close to our hearts, not only because they used our Linear White and Linear Sage tiles in their lovely new bar/brewery, but because we really love their vast range of ales and beers! We sat down for a chat (and definitely didn’t have a beer during work hours) with proprietor Will Haywood to find out more about how Tile Mountain products put the finishing touches to this interesting city centre venture…

Can you tell us a little bit about how Mart’s Brewhouse came about? You’d been operating as an independent brewery (without a pub as such) for a little while prior to this new venture – was it always a burning ambition to open a brewery with on-site pub or was the venture the result of you seeing a gap in the market and simply going for it?

I’ve always liked the idea of doing everything under one roof. When we saw how Piccadilly was progressing and changing the landscape in Hanley, we decided to be a part of it.

Mart’s Brewhouse & Tap frontage, Piccadilly, Hanley, Stoke on Trent

What influenced the choice of location? Was it a case of a unit becoming available and you taking the opportunity or did you have your hearts set on a premises in the Cultural Quarter from the very beginning?

We looked at a few locations, but the Cultural Quarter really jumped out at us. We really liked the craft food and drink thing that is building in the area and wanted to get in on the action with our own individual offering!

The retained long bar with Linear White Gloss tiles on the back bar area

We understand that the building itself is quite old and has its own character – did this influence your decision in taking on the location at all, and did any of the fixtures and fittings survive and get incorporated into Mart’s Brewhouse & Tap’s interiors?

We had to do a lot of work to the place as it was in quite a state of disrepair, but we have retained the original French windows downstairs, opening onto the street and really giving the place a light and airy feel in the summer. We also maintained the original long bar.

Street cafe vibes at Mart’s with those lovely French windows

There have been quite a few independent, quirky little businesses popping up in that part of the city centre, all with their own unique style. Were you influenced in any way by these when plotting your interior design scheme or did you want to do something completely different?

We wanted to have our own feel, but also wanted to fit in with the other businesses on the street. There’s a similar vibe to Manchester’s Northern Quarter in the area now and we really wanted to build on that.

The brewhouse under construction, part-tiled with Linear White Gloss and Linear Sage

When planning the initial fit-out, did you know you wanted have tiled areas or did it only become apparent as the brewery area/bar developed?

We were 100% on having brick or metro tiles in the brewhouse from day one. As the work progressed, it made sense to do this behind the bar too.

The completed and fully functional brewhouse

Was your choice of decor & colour scheme influenced by the tiles you chose, or did you pick the tiles to fit in with a style you’d chosen for the rest of the premises?  

A little bit of both. We knew roughly the colours we wanted, but then matched the paint for the downstairs seating area to the tiles.

Upstairs seating at Mart’s

What made you decide that the tiles you chose were the right tiles for the brewery/bar?

We looked at metro tiles, but the slightly larger Linear tiles that we settled on are easier to clean.

Branded wall art in the brewhouse atop of our Linear White Gloss wall tiles

How long did the project take to complete and did you do the tiling yourself or hire a professional tiler?

We used a professional tiler (a guy called Tony Lavender) for the brewhouse. They got it all done in two days, which was a real mammoth effort. We did behind the bar ourselves as it was a much smaller space and required much less effort!

Proprietor Will and a band of helpers during the brewhouse construction

What part of the fit-out was most difficult and why?

The brewhouse installation has given us the most headaches – designing and implementing the plumbing was a huge undertaking.

More stylish Mart’s branding in the upstairs seating area

What advice would you give to any entrepreneurs considering undertaking a similar design/fit-out project?

Work out your budget really carefully. Then double it!

What would you say to independent business owners who are thinking about buying tiles from Tile Mountain?

Great service, great tiles. Really can’t recommend Tile Mountain enough.

Mart’s Brewhouse & Tap is situated in Stoke on Trent’s Cultural Quarter and is open Tuesday – Saturday from 12noon – 11.30pm and from 12noon – 8.00pm on Sunday. Visit www.facebook.com/martscraftbeer for details.

Here at Tile Mountain, we not only have a huge range of tiles to suit every purpose, we also have a wealth of tiling knowledge gained from over 30 years in the tile industry, (which we’ll do or best to share with you across these very pages).

Whether you’re looking for the perfect tiles for your next home improvement project, are searching for some style inspiration, or simply need a bit of help and advice, you’re in the right place.