Slate Bar is fast becoming Kendal’s trendy go-to place for a lunchtime coffee or cocktail after work. Tucked away down Wainright’s Yard, although dinky, Slate packs a punch when it comes to showcasing fabulous gins, cocktails and food.
I popped in one evening last week to meet with Manager Adam Thorpe who set aside some time to chat through what Slate is trying to achieve in central Kendal. Having just finished hosting a young entrepreneurs after-work do sponsored by Lift Financial, he managed to whip up a couple of great artisan gins and food platters, for which they are fast becoming well-known.
Slate makes no allusions about its status as a bar first and foremost. Groups of lads seeking a selection of lagers and bitters won’t find their fix here but, as Adam rightly points out, there’s already a good choice of ‘pub’ pubs in the town centre that will cater for them.
The emphasis here is on great cocktails and a unique selection of over 30 crafted gins – the list is pretty impressive, from the the usual tipples of Bombay Sapphire and Plymouth to the little-known West Winds Cutlass and Warner Edwards Rhubarb… all served with the mandatory high-end Fever Tree Tonic.
The focus is on creating a great gin and tonic made from fresh botanicals and fruits. My tipple of choice that evening was the Gin Mare from Barcelona served with a refreshing slice of lemon, a sprig of rosemary and an olive – very Mediterranean and a surprisingly excellent mix of flavours.
The bar has a relaxed feel with soft velvet benches downstairs and laid-back settees on the first floor. The lighting works well with hanging filament bulbs making a statement on entering the bar with under-stated sparkly lights on the stairs and overhanging gallery.
Adam is keen to point out that Slate pays as much attention to the quality of its coffee as to its alcoholic beverages, serving up the fabulous Carvetii Coffee I discovered at the Taste Cumbria festival a couple of weeks ago in Cockermouth.
To say that Slate serves food within it’s means is an understatement. Most small establishments would struggle to offer the quality food that Slate Bar has on its menu. Adam offered me a mix of cold cuts and fish across two platters as an overview of the variety of nibbles that you can choose from. He was keen to point out the local producers who contribute to their menu. The smoked salmon and fish etc provided by The Sands Smokery near Kirkby Lonsdale; charcuterie, cheeses and olives by Silver & Green and the delicious sourdough and baguette bread by Simon Thomas from The Staff of Life Bakery. The strength of their food menu lies in quality ingredients. There’s no time wasted on hot food which means that Adam can focus on sourcing decent artisanal products that taste great.
Slate Bar may stand apart from the other more traditional drinking holes in Kendal, but since their opening just over a year ago in July 2015, they’ve strived to get involved as much as possible in the local community, raising over £6k through a variety of charitable contributions to key charities such as Macmillan, Children in Need and the local Oaklea Trust and Sight Advice (if you saw a crazy Batman flying through Kendal early this year that was just another day in the life of Adam Thorpe, raising money for the flood funds).
Not just a swanky cocktail bar then… if you’ve walked past Slate before without entering, make sure you pop in next time you’re down Wainright’s Yard. You’ll be met with super friendly staff, and a great choice of drinks including the indomitable Carvetii coffee. Oh, and you’ll also see our shiny new sticker taking pride of place on their glass door 🙂