At 288m above sea level, this once run-down building has been transformed into a welcoming bar and restaurant with big ambitions, writes Tom Bradbury.
After a complete interior remodel, The Ponderosa, situated on the Glenshane Pass in County Derry/Londonderry, is back in business and aiming to become a must-visit attraction for Northern Ireland and the island as a whole. At 288m above sea level it is billed as the highest pub on the island of Ireland, and to make the most of this position the owners have invested in a fully automated audio system by ELAN and Niles.
In addition to a totally new bar, seating area and interior design, the restaurant also received some major behind-the-scenes upgrades. What was first intended as a small convenience shop has been turned into a much larger kitchen to accommodate more staff and more guests, while a high-tech ELAN g! music system was installed to offer the management control of 14 speakers in six zones.
According to installer Aidan McErlean of AME Electrical: “The owners wanted a simple system that would let them have precise control over the music in the kitchen, bar, sunroom, lobby, restrooms and outdoor patio seating area, and ELAN g! is the easiest way to do that. We set them up with access to radio, satellite radio and any music they want to bring in themselves, and they can control it all from an iPhone. Plus the main room has a new retractable separation wall, so if a group comes in for a private party they can have their own music separate from the rest of the bar.”
AME Electrical kept the job modest in size to meet the required budget, but made sure to use the best products available from Core Brands. In addition to the ELAN g! system and audio controllers, the Ponderosa has 12 Niles in-ceiling speakers and two Niles outdoor loudspeakers. Finally, all rack equipment is protected by a Furman power conditioner to ensure smooth operation and long equipment life.
The building where the Ponderosa now stands has been the site of a restaurant for more than 150 years. The original building structure has now been bought back to life and has been transformed into a one-of-a-kind environment boasting a restaurant, bar and shop, and crystal clear music.