A new bar and pizzeria concept has arrived in the UK – and it has its first outing in Warrington in Cheshire.Alongside freshly cooked Italian food, Baffito’s serves up an extensive range of cocktails, beers, spirits and wines in stylish Italian-inspired surroundings. Another 10 sites are planned over the next three years, but managing director Peter Thompson says they started by looking specifically at Cheshire towns.“Once we have proven the concept and have significant pilot results, we will expand our horizons and look to enter bigger cities and roll out further afield. Rather than starting in London and then rolling out, we plan to do it the other way round.”
Baffito’s Bar & Pizzeria has been created in the former site of Bar Tempo in the centre of Warrington, designed by R2 Architecture whose extensive portfolio includes Alma de Cuba,The Noble House and Leaf in Liverpool. It is divided into two elements, Frank’s Bar and Alessia’s Kitchen, based on a romantic story of an English bartender, Frank, and his Italian wife,Alessia – all cooked up as part of the brand with agency SB Studio.The interior fit-out was carried out by hospitality specialist Dawnvale.
The interior design was inspired by traditional Italian “culture” rather than traditional Italian design, according to R2 Architecture’s director Richard Eastwood. “Through the interior, we set out to capture the gregarious public life of an Italian family, hence the decision to divide the space up into a range of clearly defined zones, each with their own character and sense of place.”
The romantic indoor Garden zone has booth seating framed with a pergola dressed with potted floral displays and trailing ivy, while the Piazza area mixes farmhouse-style furniture with zesty bright colours, laid out on a floor with a checker board design.The large-scale hand-drawn illustrations on the wall tell the Baffito’s brand story alongside inner-city graffiti from Naples.The laid-back Café area has caged light bulbs, customised chairs and olive leather booths, away from the bustle of the Trattoria where communal bench- style seating, on a glistening quartz terrazzo floor, encourages shared dining. Customers can also eat sitting on high stools at a bar counter made of distressed steel, with views into the kitchen with its stone hearth oven.
Peter says they are attracting customers who are looking just for a drink as well as diners.“The clever zoning means you will find somewhere to enjoy a romantic dinner for two, a meal with mates, a party, or even a lads or girls night-out. Some of our customers choose to eat, others just want a good night-out in our sophisticated bar.”
He says the mission is to be the best- stocked bar in Warrington, led by general manager Craig McGarvie and bar manager Jake Davidson.The signature cocktails are the Salerno Sunset, made with limoncello, gold tequila, pineapple juice and grenadine, and the Vesuvio, an extra-hot Bloody Mary with plenty ofTabasco.“We use a thicker Mediterranean tomato juice with herbs giving the impression of molten lava over the crushed ice, seasoned with cracked pepper to represent the volcanic ash,” Peter says.“The logic behind these two cocktails is that Mount Vesuvius is located in Campania the home of pizza, and of course our own Alessia is from outside Salerno which is also in Campania.”
The bar also has a comprehensive selection of spirits and liqueurs, with Italian wines dominating a list that stretches across Europe and the New World.There are six beers on draught, ranging from Peroni Nastro Azzurro to Boddingtons, with more in bottles including Birra Moretti. “Frank’s Bar is all about giving people a great night- out, serving the coolest cocktails, coldest beers and widest range of spirits,” Peter adds.