London Cocktail Club to open ‘LA warehouse crime scene’ bar in West End

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: City of westminster, London

JJ Goodman and James Hopkins beat eight other couples to win BBC's The Restaurant with Raymond Blanc in 2009
JJ Goodman and James Hopkins beat eight other couples to win BBC's The Restaurant with Raymond Blanc in 2009
JJ Goodman and James Hopkins, 2009 winners of the BBC's The Restaurant with Raymond Blanc, are opening their third venue in as many years under the London Cocktail Club brand, having secured a ground floor unit in Westminster skyscraper Portland House.

London Cocktail Club Oxford Street will open next month under the theme of a downtown LA warehouse crime scene, with a mild focus on tequila and whiskies. A fourth venue has also been secured in Shoreditch, opening early next year.

Over £200k is being spent on the refurbishment of the 3,000 sq.ft site at Portland House, with the bar manager from the group’s original venue in Goodge Street taking the helm. The food and drinks offering is currently being decided.

Hopkins, who founded the business with Goodman just after the credit crunch hit in 2008, says its success has been down to the training and development of staff and the delivery of unique concepts.

“It’s all about customer experience,” he told BigHospitality. “We want to be sure we’re selling entertainment rather than anything else, and that the customers are able to have a good time for the right price. For the theming of each site, we’ve focused on a spirit category and then based the menu, style and design around that.

“We also spend a lot of time on the training and development of our staff. We want to make sure that each one of our staff members gets the best training that they can, so even if they do decide to go on and work at another bar, we’re enhancing the level of service in the industry as a whole.”

Raymond Blanc and The Restaurant

Goodman and Hopkins beat eight other couples to win BBC's The Restaurant with Raymond Blanc in 2009.​After the show the pair opened the Goodge Street site​with Blanc and advisors from the show, David Moore and Sarah Willingham. A year later, the pair opened a 'tattoo-inspired British navy rum bar' in Shaftesbury Avenue.

Blanc now continues to sit on the London Cocktail Clubs board, in an advisory role. “He doesn’t do as much as he used to but he’s still got a vested interest and we appreciate his input,” added Hopkins.

Having opened three sites in three years and with a fourth on the horizon, the bar duo are keen to continue their growth in the capital.

“There isn’t a definitive number of sites that we want to get to, but we’ve got a few pins in the map of London for locations that we’d like to be. We’re looking at a site in Shoreditch at the moment for a project which will hopefully come off towards the end of the year or in early 2014.

“When we go into Shoreditch will be another new project - something new for the area. We’d also love to open in Clapham or Camden or Angel. The pins are there but we’re just focusing on our current projects at the moment.”

London Cocktail Club Oxford Street will open on the ground floor of Portland House towards the end of August. Details of the Shoreditch site will be unveiled soon.

Related topics: People, Pubs & Bars, Venues, Business

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