A gin parlour and Parisian-style cafe is set to open in Northampton’s most fashionable street, in a building which has sat empty for six months.
Cafe C’est La Vie has been given permission to open in the vacant premises on the corner of St Giles Street and Hazelwood Road.
The cafe will operate during the daytime and offer local produce, an artisan bakery, free wi-fi and an all-day crepe bar.
By night the venue will turn into a gin parlour, and will be a members-only club, with doorbell entry.
The proposals were unanimously approved at a meeting of Northampton Borough Council’s planning committee on Tuesday.
The building has been vacant since Chanse Leathergoods moved to Abington Street in March, and the council said there had been “limited” interest in it.
Proprietor Sue Patterson said she was hoping to work with other businesses in the street and had already entered into a partnership with St Giles Cheese.
Addressing the meeting, Mrs Patterson said: “Northampton has lots of empty shops in the town centre and seven are in St Giles Street.
“The goal is to breathe economic and community life back into St Giles Street.
“Gin parlours are becoming very popular. It brings a certain sophistication to the way people indulge. They are about tasting, rather than being a means to a messy end.”
Speaking to the Chron after the decision, Mrs Patterson said: “I am a lover of gin, and thought, ‘why not bring it to Northampton?’
“A lot of the sessions will be taster sessions. It is really about educating people that there is more to their gin and tonic.
“Other gin parlours have had really great footfall.
“Following on from Mary Portas, it is about being different.”
The premises will only sell gin between 6pm and 11pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and will open as a cafe from 8am to 5pm from Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 3pm on Sundays.
Mrs Patterson is planning a variety of weekly and monthly activities, including book clubs and tasting sessions.
An increase in the number of independent gin makers in the UK over the past few years has led to reports of a ‘gin revival’, and Mrs Patterson said there were currently 20,000 members at parlours across the UK.