Rochdale’s stunning old post office, in the heart of the town centre’s heritage quarter, is set to re-open this weekend as a café, restaurant and bar.
The man behind the restoration, John Stoner, who owns the Medicine Brewery in Whitworth, has invested £300,000 renovating the building, which was built in 1923 by the post service’s main architect, Sir Charles Wilkinson and features a beautiful Baroque-style façade.
He is planning to open to the public for a soft launch event on Saturday, 17 March 2018 and hopes his venture, The Medicine Tap, will be just the tonic for the rapidly regenerating town centre.
'£300,000 restoration has honoured the building’s many heritage features'
John Stoner said: “We’ve kept a lot of the original features, like the beautiful wood panelling and the old post boxes. We’ve also invested in vintage-style furniture, like Chesterfield sofas, to give it a cosy feel. It’s a spectacular space and will really add something to the town centre, which is hard to beat aesthetically. You’ve got the Grade I listed town hall right across the road and then Town Hall Square and the beautiful memorial gardens and cenotaph right next door.
“Rochdale is really on the up. The Riverside shopping and leisure development is a big part of the reason I came here. It was massively increase footfall and create a vibrant early evening economy which I see The Medicine Tap being a big part of.”
'New venture could benefit from the small business support package offered by the council'
And John is hoping to benefit from the council’s building renovation grant, which has brought 7 new businesses to Rochdale town centre, including the Wellington gastro pub, Marnie’s hairdressers and Petit Café. It's part of package of business support measures offered by the council, including business rates reductions, which have also brought 11 new businesses to the borough since 2015.
Following the public launch on Saturday, The Medicine Tap will open fully on Wednesday, 21 March 2018 from 9am to 11pm during the week, with a later finish at weekends. The coffee shop menu will be served from 9am to 5.30pm for the first month before a full evening menu is launched, with an emphasis on casual dining. Around 30 different beers will also be available, including 8 real ales and 21 craft keg beers, mainly from Belgium and Germany.
‘Investors like John like the way the town centre is going and want to be a part of it’
Leader of the council, Councillor Allen Brett, said: “It’s great to see this spectacular historic building being brought back into use. Creating a vibrant town centre and reviving our early evening economy is a major priority for us and we’re already well on the way to delivering this, with Rochdale Riverside set to bring a cinema and family restaurants. With this and other major openings in recent years, like the Wellington gastro pub, wine bar, Vicolo Del Vino and CockadoodleMoo restaurant, it’s clear that investors like John like the way Rochdale is going and want to be part of it.”
Paul Ambrose, Rochdale town centre manager, said: “The tide is really turning in Rochdale and high quality new businesses are popping up all the time. The Medicine Tap will be a fantastic addition to the town centre and I wish John every success in his new venture.”
Find out about council support schemes for new businesses setting up in the borough’s town centres: