Smiths bassist opens ve­gan cafe in ex-pub

Bangor Mail - - NEWS - Domu Kafe in Ban­gor, and be­low, Dale and Svet Hib­bert

AFORMER mem­ber of The Smiths who be­came a gourmet ve­gan chef is open­ing a café in a well known former Ban­gor pub.

Dale Hib­bert, bass player with the orig­i­nal Smiths line-up, snapped up the former Kings Arms (O’Shea’s Irish Bar) at auc­tion – the day af­ter first see­ing the site.

The mu­si­cian turned chef and his wife Svet have trans­formed the run­down build­ing – in­vest­ing £150,000 in buy­ing and do­ing up the prop­erty.

They have now re­opened as ve­gan/veg­e­tar­ian cof­fee house, Domu.

Dale said: “Some­times you know as soon as you walk into a place it is right – you just fall in the love with it.

“That is what hap­pened here, even with all the mess around. There was some­thing about the place that was spe­cial.

“We saw it on a Sunday and bought it at auc­tion on the Monday.”

He added: “We had been look­ing for a place af­ter selling our café in Todmorden (York­shire) and our house in the same week. I love buy­ing at auc­tion be­cause of the speed of it – there is no mess­ing around.”

The cou­ple have been amazed at the in­ter­est in the site, which is on the high street close to the city’s cathe­dral.

He said: “Every­one knew this place as a pub.

“I have not spo­ken to any­one in this area who has not been there at some point and doesn’t have some mem­o­ries from there.

“We have changed it but I think peo­ple are pleased that the build­ing is com­ing back into life and it’s an in­de­pen­dent run­ning it rather than say a Café Nero or some other chain.

“This is a very im­por­tant build­ing in Ban­gor – we are re­al­is­ing that.”

Dale will be head chef at the cafe with Svet front of house, and new staff have been taken on to sup­port them.

The mu­si­cian, who has been a veg­e­tar­ian from the age of four, says ve­gan cook­ery has come a long way since he started a veg­gie cafe in Man­ches­ter 20 years ago.

He said: “When I was younger veg­e­tar­ian food was ba­si­cally just some­one scrap­ing the meat off a meal and serv­ing it.

“It has changed so much and now you have Miche­lin chefs fo­cus­ing menus purely on ve­gan food. We think this is a mar­ket that will keep on grow­ing and we think we’ll do well in Ban­gor.

“This is such a great lo­ca­tion near the cathe­dral. Like lots of high streets, Ban­gor’s has lost a few places and we hope we can help bring peo­ple back.

“There is also a restau­rant due to open op­po­site so we can start to cre­ate a nice lit­tle area. High streets are chang­ing and are now more about the so­cial ex­pe­ri­ence and we can be part of that.”

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