Mahiki & Whisky Mist duo to open Tonteria Mexican cocktail bar in Chelsea

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Distilled beverage, Tapas

The 200-capacity Tonteria will serve an eclectic selection of authentic and innovative cocktails alongside a variety of Mexican tequila at a 4.5 metre long bar
The 200-capacity Tonteria will serve an eclectic selection of authentic and innovative cocktails alongside a variety of Mexican tequila at a 4.5 metre long bar
Tonteria, a new Mexican-inspired cocktail bar and restaurant, is set to launch in Sloane Square this autumn from the team behind London nightclubs Mahiki and Whisky Mist.

Guy Pelly, who was also behind the recently closed Public nightclub in Chelsea, will open Tonteria in October with fellow nightclub entrepreneur and business partner Marc Burton. The pair have hopes to expand the concept, potentially into an international hotel brand.

“If Tonteria is the success we hope it will be, it really is something that we would love to expand over the next five years and team up with an international hotelier to do so,” Pelly told BigHospitality.

“Marc and I realised that Tequila in America is massive. If you go to bars or nightclubs over there, they are more advanced than the UK - but we noticed it’s getting bigger over here.

“We saw this increase happening and we were also influenced by our time together at Mahiki, which is still a big success, and that got us thinking about doing something that was Mexican and tequila-inspired. Once we’d found the right venue, Tonteria was born.”

Tequila & tapas

Situated in a 2,350 sq.ft basement, the 200-capacity venue will serve an eclectic selection of authentic and innovative cocktails alongside a variety of Mexican tequila at a 4.5 metre long bar.

There are a further 11 tables in the site - approximately 70 covers - with a small food menu featuring Mexican tapas dishes and sharing platters.

Tonteria’s interior evokes a traditional Mexican hacienda with a twist. The area features distressed décor, Mexican foliage and plants, hand-painted decorative Mexican tiles, colourful chairs, seating booths and hammocks.

Pelly, who is a close friend of Princes William and Harry, believes that a Mexican and tapas food concept is the perfect combination of two current restraint trends, having taken inspiration from a number of popular new venues already in the capital.

“We’ve learnt from other relatively new places like Burger & Lobster and MeatLiquor,​” he said. “They just focus on doing a few things very well, which is going to be our ethos with the food here, and the Mexican theme suits that very well.

“I’ve being doing lots of research prior to the opening and a descent Mexican restaurant can provide such a fun night. Tapas has been big for a long time; customers like the idea of being able to choose smaller dishes and share with friends.

“The drinks, from the frozen margarita to the tequila cocktails, will complete a great night.”

The 'Wow-factor'

Pelly was forced to close his first solo venture, Public, in May of this year due to it being labelled a crime generator for the area. Tonteria’s other co-founder, Burton, was previously the director of luxury lifestyle group, Brompton Brands, which runs Mahiki, The Brompton Club, Whisky Mist, the Punch Bowl and The Rose Club.

Speaking of the potential for Tonteria to evolve into a similar high-profile London hotspot, Pelly added: “Our ethos is just about creating an amazing product. We aim to create places that will become successful without the need for PR, just from word-of-mouth.

“We’re so excited about the unique selling points of this place, there’s going to be quite a wow-factor with it.  The location is perfect, so we will aim to be quite a high-profile place, but that will hopefully just gradually develop from the product that we create there.”

Earlier this year, the owners of The Sugar Cane cocktail bar in London’s Clapham Junction officially launched Kona Kai​– a Polynesian-style destination bar located on the Fulham/Chelsea border.

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