Following a successful crowdfunding campaign, Redemption is opening its third venue in December, which will be located in Covent Garden’s Seven Dials and will include a far larger bar space than its other sites.
Redemption, which specialises in vegan and gluten-free food, as well as being alcohol free, has experienced a rapid rise since co-founders Andrea Waters and Catherine Salway started out doing pop-ups in 2014. These were rapidly followed by permanent sites in Notting Hill and Shoreditch in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
Set within the Neal’s Yard and Shorts Garden space, the new premises will include a 45-cover restaurant, takeaway/retail section – which will sell the likes of Seedlip – as well as the standalone bar.
‘Both the Shoreditch and Notting Hill venues are going well, but we don’t have enough bar space at either,’ Waters, who is also executive chef, told Imbibe. ‘We get a lot of big groups that we just have to turn away, but this [new site] will allow us a far larger bar area.’
Having recently launched a cocktail book, titled Redemption Bar: Alcohol-free cocktails with benefits, the larger space will also permit the team to expand the repertoire of no-abv cocktails on offer. These will include favourites like its Lychee and Yuzu Martini, Frozen Pineapple Margarita and Redemption Royale.
Having developed all the cocktails in-house, Waters is a strong believer that no-abv cocktails need to provide the same excitement and complexity as alcoholic versions.
‘Mixing a few juices together just isn’t going to cut it – people need to make more effort with non-drinkers,’ she said. ‘My background is as a chef and I approach creating cocktails the same way I would food, thinking about balance of flavours, mouthfeel and how it looks.
‘We’re always looking for interesting ingredients, things like pine pollen and activated charcoal, and we make a lot of shrubs from apple cider vinegars that add depth. We infuse lots of herbs, citrus zests and unusual spices, anything from lemongrass to star anise and chilli to add a bit more complexity.’
Redemption will also be expanding its range of non-alcoholic beers, wines and champagnes, with Fit Beer and Bees Knees Sparkling Rosé being current favourites with its customers. It’ll also offer kombucha on tap for the first time. Waters said she’s been wanting to add kombucha to the menu for a while, but was concerned about making it in-house and ‘adding another complication to an already complicated business model’.
‘We’ll have Jarr’s Original and Ginger Kombuchas on tap and it’s great knowing they're stable and, you know, not about to tip over into the alcoholic sector!’
Waters is keen that the bar space, as much as the drinks on offer, matches up to the experience of drinking in a top cocktail establishment. To this end, Salway and Waters have worked with Atelier Khan to create a space that combines contemporary and traditional references, working with a palette of teal velvet, marble, brass and the odd splash of coral, neon pink.
With the new book and the opening of the Seven Dials venue imminent, you’d think the duo might be content to rest on their (obviously vegan) laurels for a bit – perhaps kicking back with one of their alcohol-free cocktails – but they clearly have other plans.
‘We want to go global and we’ve got people poised in other parts of the world for that,’ Waters explained. ‘We do get a lot of requests [to open in other countries], and it’s partly the vegan thing, but I think a lot of it is being alcohol free, because there just isn’t anywhere nice and glamorous to go to that is.’