New piano bar and speakeasy set to open on Abbeydale Road

A new art-deco styled speakeasy and piano bar specialising in French cocktails and absinthe opens on Abbeydale Road this weekend.

The Glass Frog is the latest independent venture by Karla Swindells and Chris Shenton, who will be well-known to locals as the owners of the new bar’s two adjoining businesses, craft shop Frippery and Nonsense and the next-door bar The Abbeydale Tap.

Karla told Exposed: “We own the two shops either side and we’d always said it would make an amazing bar, even when it was a hairdresser. When it became available in February, even though we were in lockdown, we thought it was a great idea.

“We’ve got the Abbeydale Tap next door, which is going to become more of a taproom, just serving beer, and this is going to be more wine, gins, rums and cocktails. We’ve got a license here until 11.30pm and next door is 1pm so they’ll complement each other.”

Karla Swindells in her new speakeasy Glass Frog, on Abbeydale Road

Chris added: “We just wanted it to be the opposite of the Abbeydale Tap, which is quite rustic, with a wooden interior, whereas this is going to have a more refined, decadent art deco feel. We’re going to have it French themed, with some French cocktails, based around absinthe and cognac.”

As well as great cocktails, the bar also has a piano, which Karla and Chris are encouraging people to play in exchange for a free drink. “We’re not talking chopsticks here,” explains Karla, “If you can play for half an hour, and we’ve got one of the big egg timers, you get a pint. We just thought that would be kind of a quirky thing and a bit of fun.”

The piano in new speakeasy Glass Frog, on Abbeydale Road

Another challenge for customers, is working out the meaning of the bar’s unusual name. “I’m not going to give too much away about the name,” says Karla, “but the whole bar is based on a very famous film and you wouldn’t know, unless you’ve seen the film, which film it was based on.

“It’s my favourite film, so anybody who knows me will know why it’s called Glass Frog. We didn’t want it to be as obvious as the name of the film, but there’s some really key features in here that if you know, you would know!”

New speakeasy, Glass Frog, on Abbeydale Road

Just a few days away from their grand opening on Saturday 25 October, Chris and Karla are feeling a mixture of nervousness and excitement for the big day. Chris said: “It’s the busiest it’s ever been at Abbeydale Tap, but there’s always a risk. We’re just looking forward to the opening now.”

New speakeasy and piano bar The Glass Frog opens on 25 September and for more details and updates, head over to their socials.

Karla Swindells in her new speakeasy Glass Frog, on Abbeydale Road

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