Sir Peter Blake-designed restaurant barge launches on Grand Union canal

JOnathan Prynn
Blake's barge: Sir Peter Blake and Prue Freeman at the newly-designed restaurant: Evening Standard/eyevine/Jeremy Selwyn

Two barges once used to ferry visitors to the Olympics have been converted into a floating bar and restaurant on the Grand Union canal next to Paddington station.

The vessels, called Darcie Green and May Green, have been painted by pop artist Sir Peter Blake - best known for the cover of the Beatles album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band - in a Sixties-style motif.

Australian born restaurateur Prue Freeman said it had cost almost £1 million to turn the dilapidated 50 ft long barges into the new dining and drinking destination.

They were hand painted in Somerset to designs drawn up by Sir Peter, who said he had been long influenced from the early days of his career by the colourful folk art painted on traditional canal narrow boats. He said: "I’ve used motifs such as diagonal stripes that I’ve used since my earliest pop-ups in the Sixties.”

The barges will open from around 7am to catch the first wave of commuters streaming out of Paddington who will be reach through a window to pick up their morning flat white or double espresso.

They will carry on serving dishes such as Szechuan soft shell crab and the giant chicken parmigiana and drinks through to the evening with a licence until 11pm during the week, and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

There will be 45 seats in the restaurant boat Darcie Green and 12 in the “drinking boat” May Green, which will serve a range of nine craft beers, with more space on their outdoor roof terrace space in summer.

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