The first few bars in the restored section of Strait Street known as The Gut are expected to be open by September, with the majority scheduled to be open by December.
Andrei Imbroll, Chairman & Director at Valletta Boutique Living (VBL Group), confirmed to this news portal that the first bars and restaurants would be open by September, and that almost all would be in operation by December. “It will be a place where you can enjoy quality slow food and take your time over a cocktail or two. There will be a strong focus on live music, such as jazz and blues,” Dr Imbroll said.
Restoration work on The Gut was started by the VBL Group in collaboration with Chris Briffa Architects over two years ago, in June 2015. The structural restoration and the refurbishing of the facades cost €1.5m. The VBL Group owns all nine of the establishments forming part of The Gut, but the bars and restaurants will be rented and operated by different entities.
Dr Imbroll confirmed that all the establishments’ original names have been retained from the colonial era, but added that the operators will be able to use the glass front to put in their own logos and introduce new brands.
“In the last few days, the much-awaited timber shop fronts installation has been taking place and is quickly nearing completion, with the final touches being completed as we speak, including the installation of the old shop names. From the White Star to the James Bond, the New York and the Mae West, all the shops have gone back in time to the more glorious days,” a press release on The Gut’s website read.
It’s a far cry from the original version of The Gut, which was renowned for being the sleaziest and most dangerous part of Strait Street, but it’s a piece of Valletta’s history that certainly deserves the second lease on life it’s getting, after being neglected for more than half a century.