Barrio East, the company’s third site, which follows those in north and central London, is due to open its doors on Shoreditch High Street next week, but founder and director Ferdie Ahmed told BigHospitality he and his business partners Sat Ghuman and Ani Kyriacou did not plan to stop there.
“We plan to accelerate the number of openings and currently have an option on a fourth place with a view to getting five Barrios by the end of 2013,” he told BigHospitality.
“We’re looking specifically at South London (Clapham) and a Barrio West in Notting Hill which would nicely pick-off all the points of the compass.”
The first Barrio bar opened in north London in 2007 following, then IT consultant, Ahmed’s decision to change career.
Inspired by his travels to Latin America and his passion for music Ahmed came up with the idea for Barrio, which merges cultures from across Latin America and serves food and drink inspired that served in south and central American countries. Quirky, brightly-coloured interiors are also key to the brand.
"Barrio has always resisted categorization, it's not a Brazilian bar, it's not a Mexican bar, it's a clash of Latin cultures," said Ahmed who hates the term 'theme bar'.
"The Barrio Bars mission statement is to deliver inspirational venues that invite, excite and reward. The personality and soul of a venue needs to shine through. I feel the look and feel of a venue is one of the fundamental pillars of a great bar together with staff, customer service and product".
So far the business has grown organically using only funding from Ghuman and Kyriacou, who came on board in 2009, allowing Ahmed to open a site in Soho’s Poland Street before securing his third in Shoreditch.
Barrio East, which will open on the site of the former Avalon club, will be split into two parts – Barrio Downtown and Barrio Uptown, the latter to be used for DJ nights or private functions.
Group head chef Omar Romero has devised Barrio East's food menu, which includes the Mexican breakfast dish Huevos Rancheros, and the Argentinian Empanadas & Chimichurri and the opening of the venue will also coincide with the launch of a new cocktail menu across all Barrios.
Taking inspiration from music, the cocktail menu will be divided into ‘New Releases’, ‘Remixes’ and ‘Greatest Hits’ with each cocktail paired with a suggested song track to ‘combine harmoniously’ with it, such as the Gingerbread Colada, a blend of Santa Teresa Anejo rum, Koko Kanu, coconut rum, pineapple juice, cream, gingerbread syrup and lemon juice – paired with ‘Coconut Woman’ by Lloyd Price (Remixes Section).