Iconic Coventry bar re-purposed for City of Culture 2021

The former Drapers Bar is to be re-purposed as a temporary exhibition venue before becoming part of a wider Cathedral Quarter regeneration project.

Building which was previously home to Drapers bar

A landmark building in Coventry city centre has been given to the Historic Coventry Trust to help the wider regeneration of the Cathedral Quarter.

The Alan Edward Higgs Charity bought Drapers Bar and Kitchen (then Brown’s) on Earl Street in 2013 as part of a two-stage plan to restore the neighbouring Drapers’ Hall – which works are now underway on.

Under the Trust’s ownership, the bar will be re-purposed as a temporary exhibition venue during Coventry’s City of Culture year in 2021 and then become part of the wider regeneration project.

The nearby Drapers’ Hall is being fully restored as a new multi-purpose venue and will become the base for Coventry Music Service, who offer music education for Coventry’s schoolchildren, as well as provide performance rooms for a wide variety of arts and community events.

Historic Coventry Trust formally took ownership of Drapers’ Hall from Coventry City Council last year, and the £4.5 million restoration project is due to be completed in March 2021.  

The Charity’s vision was to integrate the Drapers’ Hall and Drapers Bar to create a music and hospitality hub. The Trust, expanding that idea, is now developing the project to become a major part of the city’s cultural offer.

Ian Harrabin MBE, Chairman of Historic Coventry Trust, called the formal transfer of the long lease of Drapers Bar a “generous gift”.

“Having this building under the control of the Trust means we can now press on with confidence on plans for the wider regeneration of this important part of the historic core of the medieval city.

“This is a key site with a lot of potential to add to the city’s visitor economy.”

It is thought that the project will form a significant element of the City of Culture legacy past 2021 by providing a permanent space for music to be celebrated.

Marilyn Knatchbull-Hugessen, Chair of the Higgs Charity, explained that the Charity “works to benefit the people of Coventry”, adding that they hope the project will provide “great facilities for the local community”.

Cllr Jim O’Boyle praised the “fantastic job” being done by the Historic Coventry Trust in “bringing much-loved buildings back to life and securing them for future generations”.