Entrepreneur Mark Cutler, a former leisure property agent and founder of Notting Hill’s Supperclub, told BigHospitality ‘the sky’s the limit’ for his New York-inspired restaurant and bar brand.
“Honky Tonk has really flown, it’s already become a bit of an institution in Chelsea and we’re really happy with it,” he said. “The idea has always been to roll out a group, I’m looking for four or five sites a year.”
Cutler has taken an assignment of a 25-year lease on the former Underdog Bar venue on Clapham Common Southside, with a rent of £100,000 a year - ‘a very shrewd move’, according to David Rawlinson from Restaurant Property, which advised on the deal.
Honky Tonk Clapham Common will open at the beginning of August, offering around 150 covers, a private room with space for an additional 30 and a separate bar area.
The menu will be the same as the one in Chelsea, offering a range of all-American dishes such as ribs, mac’n’cheese with porcini béchamel, slider burgers and meatballs cooked in the open wood-burning oven.
The bourbon bar offers deveations from British and American classics, with signature cocktails including the Pickleback – bourbon chased with a shot of homemade pickle juice.
Benefitting from a late licence, Honky Tonk Clapham will also offer a line-up of live music with an emphasis on blues, jazz and rock – The ‘Honky Tonk’ brand is named after the Stones’ No.1 single Honky Tonk Woman.
Having previously worked at estate agents Knight Frank in the 1990s, with clients including celebrity chef Marco Pierre White, Cutler says the success of the second site is ‘crucial’ for the future development of the Honky Tonk group.
“Every site needs to be right, but the second will either spur you on or it can deflate the whole group and affect the original venue,” he said. “But Clapham is perfect. It’s the right target market and the location is perfect - I couldn’t have found a better place.”
Cutler is already in discussions for a third restaurant and bar in Knightsbridge, having turned down an opportunity for a unit in Notting Hill. “Because of my agency background, hopefully I’ll be able to find the right sites.”