November 26, 2014 3.01 pm This story is over 82 months old

New lease of life for Lincoln estate restaurant and cocktail bar

Fresh start: A former Carlton Centre restaurant has completely rebranded, proving it more popular then ever before.

Residents in the Carlton Centre area of Lincoln looking for a place to dine and relax at any time of the day can now do so at Number 9 — a restaurant and bar brought back to life.

Number 9 on Alexander Walk was originally the locally loved Alexander’s restaurant, located to the back of the Carlton Centre.

However, after eight years, co-director of the premises and chef, Sandy McFarlane, decided it was time for a refresh. The venue closed for eight days to allow for a complete revamp and fitting of the shop.

He said: “Things need to change from time to time, and I think you can learn a lot from other businesses — they rebrand occasionally — I’m a little bit old school, so it needed some fresh eyes and some ‘ommph’ bringing in.

“Most of the design decisions were made by our younger two directors (who are much funkier than I am!) with a little bit of guidance from me. we were also lucky to secure the services of a local shop fitter and joiner who guided us quite a bit through some of the changes, and was fantastic.”

The new restaurant features a new menu, using a lot of locally-sourced produce, and many items baked in-house that morning, such as the Lincolnshire Spiced Bun, made with orange and ginger. Diners can choose from a range of set meals or tapas.

The A La Carte menu features choices such as Confit Gressingham Duck Leg, Chestnut Mushroom Risotto with Chaource French Cheese and the popular Twice Cooked Blade of Beef.

The menu will be altered on occasion, such as an opening menu variety, a Christmas menu, and then on to seasonal refreshes throughout the year.

There is also a generous but not expansive wine and cocktail menu, chosen by a cocktail expert, featuring a range of classic cocktails with a Number 9 twist to each.

The venue can seat up to 60, with drapes to split the diners from those coming in for the bar, and the premises can also be booked out for events.

The revamp also lead to the creation of new roles, due to the demand requiring more full-time staff.

The directors feel that Number 9 is very much influenced by the local community, which had a positive response towards its rebranding.

Nicola Smith, co-director and front-of-house manager, said: “We’ve had a brilliant response from the estate. It was made for the estate; we spoke to people about what they would like as their place to relax, and we had a huge response. The main aim was to give the immediate local area something to come to that they would use after work, for drinks and food.”

She added: “Our opening event was fantastic. We invited the estate, which meant we were full on the dining side, we had a local singer playing who’d we like to get a regular spot for when we do more live, local music events come January, we also had loads visit to the bar side. We made a lot of cocktails — we also have Frizzante, a type of Prosecco, and we’re the first in Lincoln to have that, that went down really well.”

The venue will also be hosting a range of live events, with upcoming events being a Gary Barlow tribute, Michael Buble tribute and a Motown evening.

Nicola Smith said: “As well as the much-loved tribute acts from January we will offer free, local music events for people looking to come down and have a drink. We hope to have an open mic night soon too.”

“We’ve had a big turnaround. It used to be heavy in the day and light in the evening, but once we’ve had the revamp it’s got much busier in the evening.”

Sandy McFarlane added: “We’ve had a complete revamp, people don’t recognise us as the change if dramatic. It was nice before, but it’s different now.

“It’s been worth it as we’ve just had our best week of the year. When it was Alexander’s, I would be at home waiting for a phone call asking to come in and do some work, but I never got one. Last Wednesday I was sat watching TV, and I was called and asked if I could come to work because it was really busy. There’s more people in, there are younger people in, it’s a whole different place.

“That’s the idea though; before it was bumping along, stuck in a mould, and it’s been revamped to become a whole new place with a whole new vibe. It’s fantastic.”

Contact Number 9 on 01522 538818, or email [email protected]

Spotted an error? Please notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.