M-Shed museum in Bristol could be getting a rooftop bar

By Tristan Cork

A rooftop bar could open on top of the M-Shed as council chiefs try to make some money in the face of swingeing budget cuts.

The idea is one of the proposals to add revenue to council coffers on a list of cuts and savings being proposed by the Mayor Marvin Rees and cabinet team, although no final decision has been made yet.

The M-Shed museum, on a prime site on the harbourside, opened a bar with seating area on the open space at Museum Square before the pandemic, and it proved to be a popular drinking space overlooking the Matthew and the water.

READ MORE: Bristol's free parking to be scrapped in some areas amid council tax hike

But the large M-Shed roof is accessible, and has been the scene of events before, and now Bristol City Council chiefs want to open a bar up there permanently, which would become a feature of city’s hospitality offering.

The area around the M-Shed has become one of the city’s most popular leisure venues, with the Wapping Wharf development offering bars, restaurants, cafes and specialist shops opening in the past few years.

The rooftop bar would offer panoramic views across to the amphitheatre, the cathedral and the Wills Memorial building beyond, and would be an earner for the council.

The proposal was made in a list of budget ideas - most of which were suggestions to save money or cut spending - by Cllr Craig Cheney, the cabinet member and deputy mayor responsible for the council’s finances.

It proposes that the bar would ‘raise additional income’ as part of a property and capital investment. The proposal suggests that the rooftop bar could earn the council £10,000 in the financial year from April, then £50,000 next year, and £25,000 the following year.

A spokesperson for Bristol City Council said the proposals, like all of those on the list, are yet to be decided on by Bristol City Council.

Bristol's mayor Marvin Rees last week revealed the city council needed to find £19.5 million in cuts and savings after big cuts to the amount of money coming from central Government.

A rise in council tax and an end to some free parking around the city were among the most impactful of the changes announced in the budget last week.

Bristol City Council has, in the past few years, lost £42 million on Bristol Energy, and the restoration of the Bristol Beacon concert hall has more than doubled in cost, to £107 million.

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