Work began on a reconstruction and new interior design for the Montague Arms Hotel Lounge Bar in Portstewart by architects Ian Campbell & Robert McKinstry back in 1965. The bar was featured in  a 1977 book called “An Introduction to Modern Ulster Architecture” by David Evans. Photos by Sean Watters.

“…carried out with verve, using curved forms with consistent elegance. The white walling has a farmhouse quality and the fireplaces are inventive revisions of the cottage hearth.”

Scanned by Brand New Retro.




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This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. i was born just up the road…portstewart is a lovely seaside town..two things set the tone of it..the first is that the railway carrying all the holiday boozers no longer passes through,and secondly,the big convent school which sits castlelike on the cliff edge painted smartly in a lovely soft shade of grey…the rolling stones and all sorts played the tiny ballroom in pretstewart during the early 60’s so cool to read your little piece on the the montague..i have to admit,it’s modernist edge was totally lost on me till was just sort of..always there…but now you’ve opened my eyes to what should have been obvious…love it.

  2. Thanks for that Mary, Hope to get up to Portstewart this Summer.
    I know what you mean about some things just being ‘always there.
    I picked up the book in Belfast a couple of months ago. Its full of great photos but this Montague piece just jumped out and deserved a post on its own.

  3. The photo of the guy at the bar is fantastic.
    It reminds me of one of those photos in a competition which just cries out for a ‘thought bubble’.

  4. My God!! Work began in 1965? That interior would look great even today, especially the fireplace. But what did they do to it in the meantime, with that grotesquely inept mock-trad frontage when the 1965 one was so cool, especially the sign?

    Interestingly, if you go into Google streetview and go a little “further back down the street” the image changes to September 2009 and the place is completely boarded-up and derelict-looking, with a sign showing that it was to be redeveloped: “luxury apartments, townhouses and retail units at this spectacular location”

    1. Looks in a really bad state when it switches back to 2009 in Google Streetview allright. Cool sign alright!

  5. The Montague was “The” Hotel during the thirties and forties
    My parents had their wedding reception in the Strand next to the golf club, but I have numerous photographs of other family weddings of the time outside the beautifully maintained exterior
    The new bar interior shown here wowed me as a callow 15 year old who would eventually go the architectural route for a career.
    To enter the bar from a cold 1960’s Prom and to be transported to LA was quite a trick!
    As far as I remember, it survived until the eighties when the place got one final poor makeover before it descended into dereliction.
    It was tarted up (painted)for the Irish Open last year but is reverting to its derelict state again.
    When you stand back and look at the entire assemblage of buildings that made up the Montague, it all looks so small.
    As a child, it had the vastness of Versailles!

    1. My parents owned the Strand. My Grandmother had it built and ran it til she died in 1955 and then it was my dads!

  6. Fantastic! Thanks for adding comment REMF.

  7. I sold the Belfast telegraph and Coleraine chronicle in the Montagu, public bar /lounge bar and the hotel !!! in the late 60s and early 70s, that’s where I meet the then bar manager John Campbell, one of the nicest human beings you could ever wish to meet.

  8. Played there for Ian Madden when he owned it..Great gig

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