Blackpool Winter Gardens key venues to get major refurbishment and renovation

The Empress Girll and Cafe Mazzei will undergo big changes under the plans

Blackpool’s Winter Gardens has revealed proposals to upgrade its food and drink offer by refurbishing two key venues inside the historic building.

Plans have been lodged with the council to convert the art deco Cafe Mazzei into a lounge bar, helping take the pressure off the Galleon Bar when audiences flock out of the Opera House during intervals. The Empress Grill, which also opens out onto the Floral Hall, would then be used more widely as a hot food venue, with separate plans proposing the replacement of the current glazed wall with sliding glass doors.

A design statement accompanying the application says in the 12 years since the Winter Gardens was purchased by the council “some of that renewed infrastructure has begun to age and leisure markets have shifted towards more flexible models.”

It adds: “Creating a new bar in the former Mazzei Café allows for better interval service for show nights to reduce crowding and queuing times in the Galleon Bar. The nature of the set up in the new Mazzei Lounge also allows for greater flexibility in delivering food and beverage for major venue wide events, as it should be able to offer standard café facilities as well as cold drinks/alcohol at the busiest times.

“All of these changes will lead to a better experience for all the venue’s users. Café users get a better choice and range of food in a premium environment, whilst theatregoers and special event users see reduced queuing times for pre-show and interval drinks and more improved seating.

“Both of these projects contribute substantially to improving the quality of the food and drink offer as well as appropriate improvements to the historic environment that they sit in.”

It is also hoped the improvements will help boost revenue at the Winter Gardens which will be ploughed back into the maintenance of the venue. This year saw the opening of the new conference centre which is also helping to attract more events. The £28m new facilities can host more than 1,600 delegates – making it the largest venue of its kind in the north. This has brought the total capacity for the whole Winter Gardens complex to 7,000.


Shelagh ParkinsonLocal democracy reporter
  • 16:40, 8 JUL 2022

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