The £1m. redevelopment of a bar in the centre of St Peter Port is seen as a vote of confidence in Guernsey’s hospitality sector.
The Sarnia Hotel Group’s investment in JB Parker’s Bar & Cellar, formerly The Library Bar, at Moores Hotel follows £1.5m. spent on Copenhagen Restaurant and the kitchen and function room at Les Rocquettes Hotel over the last two years.
The six month project at Moores included opening up and refurbishing the traditional brick cellar underneath the hotel, with its iconic curved brick ceiling, to create a wine bar with a card-operated self-service wine dispenser and an area for private tastings.
The main bar has an open kitchen with a charcoal flame grill, a chef’s counter and a stylish bar top imported from France. The mosaic flooring is built from individual tiles and the wooden floor has been aged by local craftsmen while intelligent sound and lighting changes the mood to suit different times of day.
The bar has had a number of names over the years including The Almanac and The Pollet Bar. It has been named JB Parker’s Bar and Cellar, as a tribute to the late Jack Buller Parker who first leased Moores from Bucktrouts in 1956 – the first step in the founding of the group which is now run by his granddaughter Karel Harris.
She said: “I do have confidence in the hospitality sector, although it’s a very challenging period, but you can’t just stand still. You have to keep re-inventing yourself and you have to appeal to the local market as well as the visitor market.
“It was the Library Bar for 27 years, with a couple of facelifts along the way, and it was time to see something new.
“We were delighted that Heritage and the planning department were very quick to agree to us opening up the cellar and putting in the new windows and we’re grateful to our neighbours who have been very understanding during major work right in the centre of Town.”
Born in Bristol in 1900 Jack Parker, the second youngest of eight siblings, came to Guernsey in 1926 to take on the lease of the Golden Lion while his older brother Seymour ran The Swan in St Julian’s Avenue. In 1942 Jack was deported to Laufen in Germany where he remained until the end of the war.
Jack, his wife Ella, daughter Sheila and Austrian son-in-law Andre took on the lease of Moores Hotel, the beginnings of the family-run hotel group. He could often be seen smoking a pipe in the public bar, known as Jack’s Bar at the time.
Moores Hotel was originally the town house of the de Saumarez family of the Castel. It was not commandeered by the occupying forces during the war and the proprietor, Mrs Moore, offered accommodation to fellow islanders who had not been so fortunate.