Kuckoo Sheffield – Cocktail Bar Opening Night
Kuckoo is an independent bar that was created in 2010 by Richard Powell, an entrepreneur that had a vision and saw an opportunity of how he feels a good cocktail bar should be. Opening his doors to his first bar in Preston, it was an instant success which led to an expansion in Chester. The concept was to create a bar like no other. It had to have the best bartenders, the best music and the best atmosphere. Fast forward to 2017, and here we are seeing Kuckoo expand it’s concept to Sheffield arriving in Leopold Square.
In Richard’s own words, Kuckoo is not a bird, it’s not a word, a cuckoo itself can be a bit crazy! It can however also be an amazing cocktail bar and when you see Kuckoo with a K you know that brand, you know it’s that place that sells amazing cocktails!
It sits above Zizzi’s situating where the Brazilian restaurant Tropeiro’s used to be. My first impressions when I walked in was mixed. I felt overwhelmed by the red focus in the bar at first, but after about 10 minutes I settled into this red lighting world, relaxed and started to enjoy what the bar and atmosphere were all about. You walk up the steps to the bar, and the first thing that hits you is a huge red focus. The bar is lit up red, the counters in the middle of the room are all red and the seating is red leather and velvet around the perimeter of the place.
Because this is such a strong colour, associated with danger, with power and energy, I felt it was a very brave move to create an entire room focus on this one colour, but when you spend a little time there you realise all that colour energy mixed with all the energy from the bar staff and the music pulls it altogether. It kind of feels like a cocktail within itself, mixing up your visual senses with sound and then the vibrant energy coming from the dedicated bartenders means it does feel like a whole new experience. In all honesty, in the first 5 minutes I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, but within half an hour I knew I wanted to come back, I want to experience this all again and actually can’t wait to be there on a wknd night and see the whole bar in action.
The counters that sit in the middle of the bar are made of Onyx with a red lighting placed inside to create the red glow. Imported from Italy to create the look and adding huge gold chandeliers to hang perfectly above these counters gives a very visual focus. Adding to that the tin ceiling which is gold, and then red neon makes a very interesting and individual look. The flooring is a shiny black granite and compliments the overall finish the owner wanted to achieve.
Sitting talking to Richard, I found out that he had done all the interior design for the bar himself. This is no small task and I realised how brave he had been to pull off such a striking design and look for this bar.
Richard is now 34 and you can tell by speaking to him that he has a very good work ethic. Having worked from a very young age he knows about hard work, he has spent many years working towards what he has achieved in Sheffield. I asked Richard if it was watching Cocktail the film as a teenager that encouraged him to want to open such a vibrant bar, and he laughed. I did think this was an honest fair question having seen that film more times than I care to remember 🙂 His response was that he started his first job in a bar at 19, and loved the experience. When Living Room opened in Manchester on Deansgate in its first year, Richard was there to serve drinks plus learn the tricks of the trade. Serving drinks to David Beckham, and the Manchester United players on his first ever shift was such a buzz to young 19-year-old from a sleepy little village. Learning from a very young age that he had a passion for doing things right it gave him the drive to achieve the successful business he has today.
Music is a huge passion of his and he remembers his first ever gig he went to see in a small venue and the band was Cast. Richard loves Indie bands, he loves Rock bands and he also loves new, up and coming bands that have talent and are trying to get signed. He said the power of music is so good it can lift your soul, turn a bad day into an incredible one and loves putting Oasis and the Stone Roses on in his car, he just loves music full stop.
Putting his love and great taste in music into a bar and adding the best bartenders, who can only work there if they choose to be a bartender and mixologist as a career choice, means they are as passionate about creating the best night for their customers as much as Richard is passionate about creating an amazing bar. Working on a manager-less system means the bartenders get a better wage, they all manage the bar together, they have fun and they certainly look like they love what they do.
All around the walls there are band posters made into pictures by using gold frames that coordinate with the gold ceiling, this gives a pretty focus and gives an interest to the eye, it also draws you to find if one of your favourite bands is up there.
The cocktails I had were…….
Tinkerbell’s Tutu – Stoli Citrus Vodka, Chambord, fresh Lemon and Lime juice and Fair Dust.
Porn Star Martini – Stoli Vanilla Vodka, Butterscotch, lemon Juice, Whites, Passion Fruit and a shot of Prossecco.
Strawberry Marshmallow Shhhwing – Beefeater Gin, Luxardo Limoncello, fresh Strawberries, Strawberry Bon Bon Syrup, and fresh Lemon Juice, topped with toasted Marshmallows!
Find out what might be happening in the latest trends for cocktails here.
The music was just brilliant with the likes of the Cure, Arctic Monkeys and the Stone Roses playing, It is one of those places where you want to stay for the next song! I love music so much, I listen to it every day. I listen to new music thanks to my son who shares what he loves, and I listen to my favourites, my staples if you like. I can’t survive a day without Prince, Simple Minds or The 1975. Doing this post I have listened to Tears for Fears – Woman in Chains, Japanese House – Face Like Thunder and The Hunna – Bonfire (my new favourite).
There is no beer on draft but they do sell beer by the bottle, and if you fancy something other than a cocktail they sell Wine and Champagne too.
Kuckoo opens Wednesday the 12th April from 5pm, it looks like it is going to be a fab opening night 🙂
Check out their website to get an idea of the venue and look at the cocktail menu. You can book a booth by looking on the website too and reserving a space for you and your friends.