The latest high-quality drinking and dining destination in Newcastle’s up-and-coming Bigg Market area has officially opened its doors.

Operators Viehard Leisure has combined the upper ground floor of the listed Sunlight Chambers building on High Bridge with the former The Gentleman bar to create Hibou Blanc, which features an elegant 70-cover brasserie, stylish bar area and a smaller study space designed for private dining function and other events.

Around 25 jobs have so far been created at the new venue, with a team of expert mixologists being recruited to develop a range of bespoke Hibou Blanc cocktails.

Newcastle-based Abbey Electrical & Mechanical Engineering acted as lead contractor on the project, while North East commercial interior specialists Collective Design developed the concept for Hibou Blanc.

Features in the new venue include a 19 metre long horseshoe bar, two Russian chandeliers and a baby grand piano, while a new kitchen and bathrooms have been installed within the restaurant area.

Nicola Tiffen, partner and head of the commercial property team at Hay & Kilner Law Firm in Newcastle, worked with the Hibou Blanc management team on the legal aspects of the new venue’s development, including consolidating three different leases.

Stevie Pattinson, who has developed the project with business partner Richard Nellis, says: “We wanted to create a destination venue in which customers would feel comfortable spending plenty of time with their friends and we’re extremely pleased with how this vision has been realised.

“We’ve been able to incorporate many of Sunlight Chambers’ existing features into the Hibou Blanc design and have created a wonderfully elegant location that oozes old school style and glamour.

“The brasserie is focusing on classic British dishes cooked in an unfussy style with the very best ingredients, while a lighter menu is available in the bar, and we’ve assembled a terrific team which has the skills, creativity and knowledge to deliver the memorable customer experience that we want to provide.

“With all the investment being made in the area, it’s the right time for us to be getting into the Bigg Market and to be playing a big part in the exciting evolution that’s happening there.

“I’ve worked successfully with Hay & Kilner for many years, and while bringing the different lease agreements together made this a complicated project to complete, Nicola and her team delivered as they always do.”

Nicola Tiffen of Hay & Kilner Law Firm adds: “Hibou Blanc is a real stand-out venue in an area that’s changing extremely quickly and we’re very pleased to have been part of creating something which we’re certain will be extremely popular and successful.”