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Last Updated: Friday, 21 May, 2004, 09:31 GMT 10:31 UK
Hirst's bar opens in Ilfracombe
Damien Hirst
Damien Hirst with one of his works, In His Infinite Wisdom
A bar owned by controversial artist Damien Hirst is set to transform a Devon town's image.

Hirst - the controversial British artist who pickled a shark and cows - has bought Number 11 The Quay, a former pub overlooking Ilfracombe harbour.

His new White Hart bar will be serving drinks and light food from Friday.

Ilfracombe traders are hoping the pub will help boost the town - in the same way Rick Stein's fish restaurant put Padstow on the map.

The town, with its dramatic setting, stunning views and grand architecture has some of the worst deprivation in the whole of north Devon.

Regeneration plans have been talked about for some time and Hirst's restaurant is seen as an important part of them.

Number 11 The Quay stands alongside traditional souvenir shops, chippies and ice-cream sellers.

Maybe Ilfracombe is on the up at last
Shopkeeper Steve Pudsley
Steve Pudsley from quayside shop Quay Value, said: "There seems to be a lot of interest and it can definitely only be good for the area.

"He has certainly made a good job of the building and it should draw all sorts of people in.

"Maybe Ilfracombe is on the up at last."

Hirst's business partner, Simon Browne said: "It's taken a lot longer to open than we had hoped, but I think the end result is way more than I expected.

"Most people pass by and say 'Good Lord, where did that come from? Outer space or something?'. But all we have done is take an old building and breathe some new life into it."

The Quay
11 The Quay overlooks the harbour
Ann Doody, chair of the Ilfracombe and District Tourist Association, said the restaurant would bring younger, more affluent visitors to the town which has faded into decline during the early 1990s.

She said: "Ilfracombe has been in all the national newspapers because of it.

"It will bring young people for the bed and breakfasts and the restaurant - if they can get in."

The restaurant opens in June, but the bar's menu includes tapas, mezze and sushi.

The opening of the bar is a low-key affair, but Hirst, who lives at nearby Coombe Martin, is expected to pop in.

Ferries plan to revive town
10 Jun 03  |  Devon
Stein's hotel gamble
17 May 03  |  Cornwall
Damien Hirst: Shockaholic
20 Sep 02  |  Newsmakers
Return to tourist town
04 May 01  |  UK News
Tough times in tourist town
04 Apr 01  |  UK News

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