Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

From ghoulish to ‘grammable’… Slains Castle pub to lose creepy look with complete Slug and Lettuce overhaul

Slains Castle could be rebranded as a Slug and Lettuce
RIP Slains Castle? The quirky Belmont Street destination could soon be a new branch of Slug and Lettuce

One of Aberdeen’s most distinctive bars could soon lose its famously creepy decor to become a haven for Instagrammers with its own “selfie wall”.

Slains Castle, named after the eerie Cruden Bay landmark that inspired Dracula author Bram Stoker, has been known for its gothic look for more than 20 years.

Stone busts of the fanged fiend and Vlad the Impaler welcome guests to a bar where toilets are hidden behind bookcases and the cocktail list is based on the Seven Deadly Sins.

Dracula and Vlad the Impaler might soon be looking for new homes. Picture by Jim Irvine

But owners Stonegate have now launched proposals to do away with the dimly lit surroundings to make way for a bright and breezy cocktail bar.

The firm wants to convert the Belmont Street institution into a branch of its Slug and Lettuce chain.

Bosses aim to swap the ghoulish for the glam – with a “selfie wall”, golden bar and trendy “birdcage” seating designed to generate a social media buzz.

Spooky seating would be replaced with a more upmarket decor. Picture by Jim Irvine

What will be changed?

Papers lodged with Aberdeen City Council detail a raft of changes to completely revamp the venue.

The existing twisty staircase will be torn out, along with the bars, fireplace, raised areas and all fixed seating.

Stonegate says “all existing fixtures and fittings throughout ground floor and first floor” will be removed, with the whole place being repainted too.

Raised seating areas like this one would be removed. Picture by Jim Irvine
Turning Slains Castle into a Slug and Lettuce will mean tearing down this winding staircase. Picture by Jim Irvine

There would also be a new “selfie wall” added to the interior, and the toilets would be “fully refurbished”.

Scroll back and forth to see the changes to the ground floor:

And here is how the first floor could be transformed:

Artificial cherry blossom trees will also be installed near the entrance, providing a colourful backdrop for photos.

Fans of Slains Castle might soon be drinking in this view for the last time. Picture by Jim Irvine
The council will decide whether the plans should go ahead. Picture by Jim Irvine

Design changes would make space ‘more appropriate’

The B-listed granite building dates back to the 1800s when it was the West St Nicholas Kirk.

Bidwells architects explain that the interior was “extensively modernised” when it was converted into the gothic bar in 1999.

Can you spot the hidden doorway in this bookcase? Picture by Jim Irvine

The firm adds: “The internal features are not original features of the listed building.

“The proposed alterations seek to make the site fit for purpose, bringing a new concept to Aberdeen.”

The internal alterations would allow the space to be more appropriate to the design principles associated with Slug and Lettuce bars.”

Dark references to “poison” probably won’t accompany the drinks selection at Slug and Lettuce. Picture by Jim Irvine

Slains Castle fans may oppose Slug and Lettuce transformation

Stonegate first lodged plans to reimagine Slains Castle in March 2019, with permission granted to replace the signs outside with Slug and Lettuce branding.

Permission has already been given to replace the Slains Castle sign with this Slug and Lettuce alternative. Supplied by Bidwells architects

Although the firm could not go into detail at the time, bosses indicated that a more comprehensive overhaul would be on the cards.

The idea sent shivers up the spines of many Slains Castle devotees, with 1,785 people backing a petition to save its “creepy aesthetic”.

Spearheading the campaign, Kathryn Symmonds despaired at it becoming “another generic establishment”.

Demonic statues like this winged gargoyle would not be welcome hovering over denizens of the proposed Slug and Lettuce. Picture by Jim Irvine

However, some welcomed the thought of increased investment in the city centre.

Speaking at the time, Aberdeen Inspired said the “significant” revamp would “enhance the area as a whole”.

Do you welcome the Slug and Lettuce makeover? Let us know in our comments section

What can we expect if Slains Castle becomes Slug and Lettuce?

There are presently just three Slug and Lettuce bars in Scotland – two in Edinburgh and one in Glasgow.

The Slug and Lettuce in Westminster, London. Supplied by Shutterstock / Xinyo

As well as its signature cocktails, the brand prides itself on “bottomless brunches” and afternoon teas during the day.

That may make it a big-name rival for local outlet Cup, just around the corner, or Books and Beans further up Belmont Street.

And its website boasts about its night-time transformation into “the perfect meet-up venue” with the “ideal atmosphere for a night of partying”.

How will it look?

A series of images sent to the council by Bidwells offer an indication of how Slains Castle could go from macabre to modern…

The Slains Castle bar might be torn out and replaced with a more photogenic golden Slug and Lettuce model.
Fake foliage could be draped over the timer raft ceiling design to brighten up the Belmont Street spot.
These birdcage booths could be in demand among brunchers.

You can see the plans here.