Bethel Social Club: Lounge & Bar Refurbishment

Bethel Social Club, St Austell, Cornwall

A new lease of life in just 3 weeks

Bethel Social Club in St Austell is a popular local venue for family functions and live acts, but over the years its interior had become tired and dated. As part of the club’s strategy to attract younger members, they hired RRW to completely refurbish the lounge and bar, bringing it up to modern standards and giving it a contemporary, on-trend style.

A sensitive renovation for a multipurpose venue

Our ambition throughout the Bethel build was to breathe new life into the space without bulldozing the unique atmosphere enjoyed by its current members. Wherever possible, we worked with the existing layout of the lounge, liaising closely with the board of the club to deliver practical, safe and functional solutions that suited the club’s eclectic needs. The top priorities were to upgrade the much-loved lounge bar, replace the spillage-stained seating and replace the cigarette-stained ceiling tiles. We also included new lighting bulkheads, flooring and AV facilities in the final scope of work. We kept the colour palette muted, using a warm, rich grey that wouldn’t draw the eye or date the venue, and re-used as much of the existing materials as possible to keep the space feeling familiar.

Rescuing a much-loved members bar

The members bar is the focal point of the lounge, so we wanted to re-use as much of it as possible. We kept the bar’s vertical panels, stripping them back to the bare oak and respraying them with furniture-grade paint for a flawless finish. We removed the existing worktop and custom fabricated a new Hanex® solid surface alternative in an industrial granite style. The back bar got new mirrors, LED upstands and LED lighting, and the brewery supplied and fitted fresh bar pumps. The finished bar is still a familiar focal point for members, but we’ve made it more stylish, hygienic and fit for the needs of a contemporary local venue.

Future-Proof Electronics: New wiring, fresh lighting & the latest AV

When we opened up the ceiling we discovered some shoddy wiring issues which had to be put right. We re-wired the whole lounge with fresh cabling that keeps the premises compliant without compromising on function.

For the lighting, we replaced the lighting in the existing bulkheads with a bespoke new LED system, overcladding the existing timber to keep everything looking its best. We also installed new snooker table lighting and spotlights for the dart board.

Bethel also has three big screen TVs and a performance area, so they needed an AV control system that made life easy for the venue team without compromising on sound quality. We installed a brand new Audio Visual system that lets the bar staff run 3 separate sky® systems from one single control, with brand new speakers and audio racking for live gigs.

Handling surprises and keeping to deadlines

With a tight 3 week timeline we had to work fast, so we were hoping that the poor wiring would be the only structural problem we had to deal with. Unfortunately, as we stripped out the old fixtures and fittings, we also discovered a leaky flat roof and a badly damaged subfloor. We couldn’t ignore or patch these issues — they needed to be dealt with properly — but we also couldn’t extend our timelines.

We worked extra hours to get each issue resolved, and we managed to get the whole job done inside the 3 week window. It took a lot of work, but we’re proud to say that the new ceiling looks fantastic, the subfloor is solid and the luxury vinyl flooring that covers the whole lounge is stylish and hard-wearing. We also found the time to line the walls prior to decoration so that every square inch of the lounge can look its best.

Embracing the new without losing the familiar

Social clubs like Bethel are full of history, but that doesn’t mean they have to get trapped in the past. The new lounge is clean, modern and comfortable, and the members love it. The new AV & lighting makes it easy for the club to host live music nights, and we’re delighted to hear that they’re already getting new membership enquiries. It was a pleasure working with the Bethel board and we hope the club enjoys the fruits of our refurb for many years to come.


Client: Bethel Social Club

Designer:   Collaboration between RRW and the Club’s Board


Project Details:

  • Hanex® solid surface countertop
  • Karndean® LVT flooring
  • Alternative Karndean® dance floor
  • All-new AV system
  • All-new banquette seating
  • All-new suspended ceiling