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Royal Albert Hall increases public access during the day

31 May, 2013

Completion of refurbished Meitar Porch and Foyer creates a new Café Bar within the Grade I listed building

Following major reconstruction work, the Royal Albert Hall re-opened its refurbished South entrance today, now renamed The Zvi and Ofra Meitar Porch and Foyer, in recognition of the generous support towards its restoration by Zvi and Ofra Meitar and their family.  The space includes a redesigned Box Office and brand new Café Bar, making the iconic Grade I listed venue more accessible to the general public and London tourists during the day, in time for summer and the BBC Proms.  Delivered on time and on a budget of £2.2million, the reconstruction has taken six months to complete.

The new space, designed by  architects Originate and delivered by principal contractor 8build, features a revamped foyer which includes a new box office, Café Bar and a retail outlet, open seating for visitors and a space to meet and gather for public tours of the building, making this the perfect space for people to visit the building during the day, even if patrons don’t have a ticket for a show.
The newly created Café Bar becomes the venue’s 6th dining space and 14th bar and will be operated by the Hall’s in house caterers ‘rhubarb’. It will be open seven days a week and accessible to all, serving breakfast and lunch including a delicious range of freshly baked pastries, gourmet sandwiches, toasted paninis, soups, vibrant salads and range of homemade cakes. With such a fantastic offering available, the new Café Bar is the perfect destination for food on the go, a quick bite to eat or something more leisurely.  In the evening, and in conjunction with our ever-changing daily show calendar, the space converts to a bar for both guests attending a show and patrons just wishing to soak up the atmosphere and ambiance of the Royal Albert Hall.

Artists have been commissioned to create artwork for the walls of the new space, to tie in with the history and archive of the Hall, with Hugo Dalton providing work for Café Bar and Sir Peter Blake for the main foyer. As well as that, the original heritage floor tiles that can be found in other entrance foyers in the Hall have been introduced in the space as part of the refurbishment.

Commenting on the renovation, Chris Cotton, Chief Executive Officer at the Royal Albert Hall said: “As a charity it is important that we have an open door policy, allowing the public to easily enjoy the venue and its attractions as well as advance this magnificent Grade 1 listed building, through the funds that we generate, for the public benefit. Prince Albert’s original vision for the Hall was to offer the public access to the arts and 142 years on we’re ensuring that is still the case.”

The renovation also sees the ground floor Amphi corridor in the Hall link up to form a full circle for the first time. This corridor host the Hall’s reflect exhibitions, which in the past have showcased artwork by the likes of Sir Peter Blake and the Royal Watercolour Society, to provide a chance for non-ticket holders to enjoy a visit to the world famous venue for free.

Cotton comments: “Making changes to a Grade I listed building isn’t easy and we had to go through the Planning and Fabric Committee to ensure we were renovating the building in the public’s best interest. We’re delighted with the results and the opening of a new catering space within the building for anyone to visit or enjoy, even if you aren’t seeing a show here, and look forward to offering more people than ever before, access to one of the world’s most iconic buildings”


For further details contact:
Hannah Hayes, 0207 861 3176,
For Royal Albert Hall contact:
Sean Carrigan, 020 7959 0531,

Note to editors:
Café Bar
Open 7 days a week: 7.30am (Monday-Friday), 9am (weekends). Open late for selected events. Access through Door 12 at the Meitar Porch and Foyer.

• Free coffee of your choice when ordering food, available 7.30am-5pm (valid until 30th June)
• Coffee and lunch loyalty stamp cards: Enjoy your 6th coffee and 10th lunch absolutely free, available 12-2pm Monday - Friday
• 10% student offer with presentation of NUS card, available Monday-Friday, 7.30pm-5pm

Box Office will be open 9am-9pm

Royal Albert Hall:
The Royal Albert Hall is the world’s most famous stage. Its breathtaking auditorium hosts over 370 shows a year by the world’s greatest artists. The magical atmosphere combined with inspired artists creates legendary events.

Opened in 1871 as part of Prince Albert’s vision for a centre for the Arts and Sciences, the Hall is a registered charity which operates without public funding, remaining true to his founding ambitions within a modern context. Extending the brand with 200 events outside the auditorium, the Hall has broadened its appeal to younger, diverse audiences whilst still engaging its existing customers.

The Hall also offers the Elgar Room, a state-of-the-art small-scale performance space which hosts performances of classical music, jazz and world music, comedy, dance and hush, a series of gigs for just signed bands throughout the year. In the main auditorium, it offers the Albert Sessions, an initiative that encourages up and coming acts to play at the Hall by offering reduced rental fees to promoters and lower ticket prices to encourage younger audiences to visit the Hall. It also works extensively with schools, young people, disadvantaged groups and partners such as Music For Youth through its Education programme, reaching over 100,000 participants each year as part of its extensive public benefit remit. It has also been appointed by the Arts Council as one of the country’s regional music education hubs.

For more information, please visit  
Registered charity number: 254543

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