I was at the opening of Si! in Irvine nearly ten years ago, and the bar and restaurant did stand the test of time. However SimpsInns have now decided to give the ground floor a new identity and have transformed the venue and created The Potting Shed, a bar and restaurant which is very much of the moment.

A293A771-3000-48F9-8253-04B68FE9E034The Potting Shed seats up to 90 people in the completely reimagined new space, which includes a dedicated dog-friendly area, and some relaxed and informal seating areas too.

The £250,000 makeover was led by Glasgow interior design company, 3 Design Scotland. Says designer Suzy Kingswood, “For the makeover of the venue we drew inspiration from current interior design trends but also from classic café chic design, relaxed dining, restaurant and bar interiors. We wanted to create a chilled out yet welcoming area incorporating lots of greenery. Additionally we focused on zones for snug private dining and also sociable areas which could be used for work lunches or a group of friends meeting up.”


Even before you walk in the difference is apparent. There is a faux Potting shed outside and a small wheelbarrow filled with colourful flowers at the entrance. The exterior of the building is now clad in sage green stained wooden panelling and the outside area is substantial.

As you walk in the immediate impression is of greenery and pops of colour and lots of plant pots. Shelving on either side of the entrance is filled with gardening bric-a-brac and there are plants everywhere – hanging from the ceiling, gracing the top of the booths and even on the shelving beside the open-kitchen.

The ceiling itself is a real talking point with a multitude of lampshades ranging from hanging baskets, to wicker shades, and glass shades too. To the left as you come in there is a large posing table beside the window, it could take eight people possibly ten. Along the wall the old fixed seating remains but it has been reupholstered, and at the rear there is a slightly raised area which features two oval tables, and elongated curved fixed seating. This area also boasts some comfortable looking sofas.


Jack Simpson, who has managed The Potting Shed refurbishment, says, “We have repurposed a lot of the furniture and reupholstered where we could. We even moved the large booth which was previously in the middle of the restaurant and re-purposed it.”

7BEE0769-D608-424F-9881-C98238AD9F79This private-like booth has been moved nearer the door and has been clad in timber with a deluge of plants around the perimeter. It is very private but also has a view out the window. Antico floor in the main walkway, and beside the bar, has replaced the previous tiles and the timber floors have been refurbished and polished.

Timber has also been used to clad the bar which has the name of the venue etched in black on the frontage, while the open kitchen features a striped canopy. Large statement arched glass mirrors as well as a The Potting Shed neon sign and lots of artwork fill the wall space, while an ecletic range of cusions are loosely arranged on the sofas and chairs.

There are also a variety of rugs from jute rugs to patterned which add warmth and homeliness. As you wander through the venue large floor to ceiling windows let in lots of light, and the dining areas to the far side are semiprivate and have a shed like appearance complete with wooden struts.

Says Suzy, “The addition of the timber sheds to create zoned dining spaces has been really successful in giving the Potting Shed its new identity. We have, where possible, used reclaimed materials but also upcycled as much of our clients existing furniture pieces as possible to balance the old with new which is effect on a design level but also an ethical level too.”


These shed-like areas are open to the main dining area but there is a degree of privacy between the areas, making them perfect for dining with friends and family, or even business colleagues.

Jack concludes, “We’re very proud of this fantastic new venue. “With a newly trained team of 30 hospitality professionals at The Potting Shed, we’re committed to exceeding our guests’ expectations. We continually invest in our hotel and leisure facilities to make them the very best they can be.”


SimpsInns will also open The Terrace, a new bar and restaurant experience on the upper level at Si!, later this year. The Terrace will seat diners, both inside and on the heated outdoor balcony. This will be a social space for any time of the year and a place to kick back in long summer evenings. I look forward to seeing it.




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