Newton Aycliffe gin bar installs helicopter as it prepares to reopen

A COUNTY Durham gin bar is aiming to impress after becoming the very first bar in the country to feature its own helicopter, complete with a disco ball.

Colin Scott and Wayne Richardson have again pushed the limits to the extreme after installing the former Eurocopter in their Aviator Gin Bar in Newton Aycliffe.

The huge aircraft, which was purchased in return for just six bottles of gin, was retired after almost three decades in service in August, last year.

SEE MORE: Inside the amazing Newton Aycliffe gin bar that’s made out aircraft parts

But after months in the planning, the helicopter was earlier this month given a new lease of life as it was carefully manoeuvered and lifted into its final home.

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The helicopter, formerly known as G-BTNC, being lifted in Picture: CONTRIBUTOR

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The helicopter, which originally cost around £4m, was craned into place above the bar area Picture: CONTRIBUTOR

Describing that they believed it was the only bar in the region, and even the country that had a full helicopter, Mr Richardson said its addition was integral to the experience.

He said: “We’ve been hoping to develop the bar, so when you sit down you’ve got somewhere swish to sit – we want to make it a really unusual experience.

“It was actually fair straight forward to install, if you can assemble the right team, you can do anything and that’s what we did.

“I’m lead to believe it’s the only bar in the country with a helicopter by several different aviation enthusiasts.”

The bar, which has already become well known across the region for its quirkiness, features tables, chairs and even the bar itself, from salvaged holiday jets.

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The helicopter took around eight hours to install Picture: JIM SCOTT

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The interior is made from salvaged Boeing and Airbus parts Picture: JIM SCOTT

Opening in July 2020, the bar has only traded for four out of twelve months due to Covid restrictions imposed throughout the year.

But despite not being able to open for much of that time Mr Scott, a retired GP and Mr Richardson, a pilot and electrician, have been focussing on making other improvements to the impressive venue.

Seating ‘pods’, which are made from the fuselage and interiors of Airbus A340s and a Boeing 737, have recently been renovated to include realistic backdrops.

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Seating pods feature airline seats, with this pod having a backdrop of Newcastle Airport on arrival Picture: JIM SCOTT

Meanwhile parts of the gin bar have been refitted to include huge designs, and further seating arrangements have been made ahead of their indoor-opening date of May 17.

But planning to reopen to customers sooner, in line with the Government’s expected roadmap announcement on April 12, Mr Scott and Mr Richardson have said a beer garden is in the process.

After receiving their licence to open an outdoor space, the pair will fence off the rear of the premises on Northfield Way in time for the date next month.

Mr Scott and Mr Richardson said: “We are developing a beer garden, it’s not in existence just yet, but it’s all planned and if you plan it correctly it will happen.”

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They have the licence to open a beer garden at the back of the premises on Northfield Way Picture: JIM SCOTT

The pair, who also run The Herbal Gin Company – distilling its range of gin from the premises, said they had a raft of further ideas planned in the pipeline.

Not ruling out that they may introduce parts of a jumbo jet, or some of the recently-scrapped Airbus A380, they added that “anything can happen.”

The Northern Echo | Durham