Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Belfast nightspot Lily's gets new lease of life as The Albany

Former club Lily's to be relaunched in £700k overhaul by Drinks Inc

Graham O'Donnell of O'Donnell O'Neill Design Associates, with Eve Wallace, marketing manager of    The Albany and Steven Young of McCue's Fit Out
Graham O'Donnell of O'Donnell O'Neill Design Associates, with Eve Wallace, marketing manager of The Albany and Steven Young of McCue's Fit Out

A landmark pub and restaurant in south Belfast is to be renamed, renovated and relaunched with the creation of 50 new jobs.

Lisburn Road nightspot Lily's has been christened The Albany by new owners Drinks Inc, which acquired it last year from the hospitality group led by Harry Diamond.

The venue, which started out as TaTu under the ownership of Bill Wolsey in the early 2000s, and was then renamed Monzu, will receive a £700k overhaul and extension, including a licensed patisserie and roof-top garden in an empty shop next door already owned by the company.

A spokesman for the new business confirmed that Calla House Ltd is the tenant of The Albany, supported by private investors, while Drinks Inc is the landlord.

Paul Langsford, a relatively new name to the licensed trade in Northern Ireland, is the director of Calla House and will oversee the new development.

Mr Langsford said: "This bar has enormous potential and our team is investing considerable time and expertise in developing an atmospheric environment within our exciting new venue, which provides a real alternative to the city centre bar scene."

Mark Beirne, a familiar name thanks to his input into Belfast nightspots Milk, the Potthouse, House, Filthy McNasty's and El Divino, is employed as a consultant for Calla House.

Mr Beirne was recently disqualified as a director for eight years over his conduct at the helm of Life Inns Limited, Sketch Developments Limited and NI Leisure Limited. However, the disqualification does not impinge on his eligibility to continue working in the trade.

Twenty staff who worked at Lily's are thought to have lost their jobs when the pub closed.

Designers O'Donnell O'Neill Design Associates have been recruited to restore the property – and build on the original "striking architectural design" of TaTu by creating a bar within a bar.

The new bar will open in September before phase two of the project involving the construction of the patisserie and rooftop garden.

Former Tatu owner Bill Wolsey recently unveiled plans to open a new bar, The National Grande Cafe Bar, on High Street in the city around the corner from his flagship Merchant Hotel.

He will also open a patisserie next to the new pub.

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