Café to put fizz into Town Hall

PUBLISHED: 10:51 27 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:05 06 May 2010

Signing the lease

Signing the lease

GLASSES were charged to toast a new agreement for a café at St Albans Town Hall - although a nice cup of tea might have been more appropriate. The Merchant Tea and Coffee Company has signed on the dotted line to open a flagship café in the large ground-fl

GLASSES were charged to toast a new agreement for a café at St Albans Town Hall - although a nice cup of tea might have been more appropriate.

The Merchant Tea and Coffee Company has signed on the dotted line to open a flagship café in the large ground-floor room of the Town Hall, previously occupied by the Tourist Information Centre.

The new café will have outdoor seating and will be alongside a new coach lay-by where tourist buses can stop in the heart of the city.

Dan Bright, chief executive of The Merchant Tea and Coffee Company, said: "We are excited to open in this magnificent building in the important historic city of St Albans."

As part of its contract with the district council, The Merchant will sub-lease the ground-floor foyer area, the upstairs ballroom/assembly room, bar, toilets and the old Mayor's Parlour to STARTS - St Albans Arts - which will provide a diverse programme of arts events and let out the various areas for functions, concerts and business use.

Richard Brown, chairman of STARTS, said: "This is a stunning building and our intention is, whenever possible, to showcase the work of local and national artists, filmmakers, musicians and performers to make St Albans a focus for art of all kinds in the northern Home Counties."

The refurbishment of the Town Hall has cost the council about £1.5 million and it will manage the historic courtroom and cells at the back of the building. It will be hired out for film locations and used for heritage tours and educational visits.

The refurbishment of the external underground toilets has also now been completed and they will be open seven days a week with longer opening hours on market days.

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