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Meet Dundee's pub entrepreneurs aiming to recreate the magic of Tally's

Meet Dundee's pub entrepreneurs aiming to recreate the magic of Tally's

Tally's holds a unique place in the hearts of a certain generation of Dundonians.

It was once the centre of the city's nightlife and the only place to be seen on a Friday night out on the randan. But many were shocked when the window boards went up and doors remained closed one morning about four months ago.

  (STV)
via STV via STV

Entrepreneurs

Now two entrepreneurs have taken the reins of the Dundee institution and are aiming to bring back the magic. But they're making a few changes, like the name for starters. As of June 13, Tally's will be renamed The Tinsmith.

It's a tall order for Andrew McMahon, 34, and Jakub Zakrzewski, 30, but the two business partners are clearly not afraid of a challenge. The Tinsmith will be their third major renovation in the Westport area in just two years.

This is the same duo who are behind the popular West House cocktail bar and the recently opened D'Arcy Thompson restaurant.

Renovation

As you read this article, no less than a dozen workmen will be toiling away at what remains of Tally's, working on a major overhaul.

Andrew said: "Tally's always used to be a great pub and over the last few years it's really lost its popularity. So we felt that to try and bring it back to its former glory, we were going to have to make big changes to the place.

"We're dropping the windows to make it much lighter, we're knocking down the back wall of the bar and we've got a four-metre concertina glass wall going in. That means we'll be able to open the back section right up and have an outside area, inside the bar as it were, for when the weather's nice.

"We've also ripped out the old bar and we're moving it 90 degrees to the left so that when people walk past the outside, they can see the bar and they'll see right through to the beer garden as well. We're reinstating the fire so it'll have the warm homely feeling of an open log fire.

"We're redoing the kitchen so we'll be able to offer a full menu too. It'll be comfort food basically with things like pie and mash and other gastro-pub favourites."

One of the few things that the duo are keeping from the days of Tally's is the brick wall feature that lines one side of the bar and runs all the way to the back area.

Beer garden

"We're keeping the stone walls, they're quite a nice feature from the Tally's era, but we're totally redoing the area out the back," said Andrew.

"We'll have capacity for 40 people in the beer garden. It really is a sun trap round there, it gets the sun all day long.

"The problem with it before was that it was behind the pub and the only entry was a wee door through the back. No one really knew it was there.

"So by dropping the windows and dropping the back walls people will be able to see right into the beer garden from the front of the bar and it'll be a lot lighter out there."

  (STV)
via STV via STV
  (STV)
via STV via STV

Opening date

Andrew and Jakub began work five weeks ago and are playing a big part in the refit themselves, helping with the hard graft and dirty tasks required of any major renovation.

As we spoke to them there were still holes in the floor and several walls to be knocked down and rebuilt, but they are not daunted in the slightest.

"We're opening in two weeks on June 13," said Andrew.

"We know that's not a lot of time but we feel that we need to get open. The World Cup kicks off on June 12 so we want to be up and running for that and then of course, the week after, it's graduation so those are the big dates that we've got to look out for. We're planning a big opening party."

Art

The interior wall spaces will also be used to showcase the local art community and the new owners have already commissioned a graffiti artist and a print artist to produce bespoke pieces for the walls.

Even the sports-mad fans who think of the beautiful game as art will not be disappointed. The Tinsmith will screen Sky Sports and show all the big football, golf and cricket matches.

For Andrew, who grew up in Dundee and has fond memories of Tally's in its heyday, The Tinsmith is something of a personal project.

He added: "It's such as shame to see the way Tally's went because in my generation it was always the busiest bar and was known as the place to go in Dundee. It lost its way over the last five years so the current students don't really know it as a good bar.

"We're aiming to change all that. It'll look very different when we're finished but we're hoping it'll be as popular as Tally's. We really believe in the whole Westport area and are dedicated to making it a thriving hub again."

  (STV)
via STV via STV
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