The new bars and restaurants opening during Covid-19

Millie Milliken

Millie Milliken

03 July 2020

Some venues are unlocking their doors after more than four months. But there are also some brand new bars and restaurants gearing up to open theirs for the very first time. Here are some of the latest (we will be updating it regularly) 

Akoko, London
8 October

Fitzrovia's Berners Street is soon to welcome Akoko, a West African restaurant taking inspiration from the family recipes of founder Aji Akokomi, a British Nigerian.

The food menu will showcase high-quality produce from both African and British suppliers and West African classics, such as smoked goat with jollof rice, pounded yam with native lobster egusi, and goat milk ice-cream with uda burnt cream and caramelised Ghanaian cocoa butter.

When it comes to the wine, sommeliers Honey Spencer (previously of Sager + Wilde, Noma Mexico and Australia, and Nuala) and her business partner Ania Smelskaya (Silo) have curated a selection with emphasis on organic and sustainable wines.

Terracotta clay, contemporary African art and mid-century pottery complete the exciting new offer.

21 Berners Street, London, W1T 3LP;

Mecanica, Manchester
28 August

The team behind ClockWork cafe and workspace are taking over the former Quick Brown Fox unit to open Mecanica, a bar and small plates venue inspired by Manchester's industrial heritage.

The nine-strong team is made up of Marc Benton (of La Bandera) at the helm, alongside Phil Aldridge and Issac Jones from Michelin-starred Mana, plus Jack Perry from London Cocktail Club.

The bar, located in Manchester's Northern Quarter, will be serving cocktails, wine and beer alongside a food menu which will feature a range of deli and dessert boards using produce from local suppliers.

1-3 Swan Street, Manchester, M4 5JJ; TBC

Crossroads, London
Now open

Bart Miedeksza (previously of High Water in Dalston), alongside wife Monika (of Typing Room and Vagabond Wines), has opened a new bar, Crossroads, in Camden.

Previously the site of Ladies & Gentleman Camden (whose sister site is in Kentish Town), the bar will be run by Bart who was given the opportunity to head up the operation during lockdown, after working with William Borrell, founder of the Kentish Town site. Crossroads will run independently but be part of Borrell's portfolio.

With the aim of being a 'boutique neighbourhood hangout', the bar will serve cocktails using homemade and locally sourced ingredients, such as black pepper shrubs, cherry-infused whisky and bay leaf cordial.

Wine will also be on the menu, chosen by Monika who will be focusing on small and independent producers and 'with a focus on terroir'.

Junction of Royal College St & Camden Rd, London, NW1 9NN;

Rondo, London
1 September

Holborn's The Hoxton hotel is getting a new restaurant in the form of Rondo, a restaurant with serious food and wine credentials. Created in collaboration with William Lander (co-owner of The Quality Chophouse and Clipstone), Rondo will have a kitchen headed up by Chris Gillard, previously of St John for 15 years.

Paired back and seasonal dishes will include the likes of brown shrimp, fennel and cucumber; grey mullet with tomato, fennel and aioli; strawberry Sherry trifle; and British cheeses from Neal's Yard.

The main wine list will feature 40 wines divided into three sections: Summer Juice (light wines for drinking in the sun); Continental Wine Bar (a collection from Lander's favourite European winemakers); and Food-Friendly (chosen to pair with the restaurant's dishes). Another 40 wines make up the Reserve List with bottles ranging from £55 to £190.

Club Mexicana, London
1 September

Mexican beers, Black Lines' Magaritas and Palomas on tap, tequila, mezcal and natural wines will all be on the drinks menus at the new Club Mexicana opening in Soho.

The former food market stalwart now has a permanent residence in Kingly Court which was originally due to open in the spring. Inspired by the roadside stalls of Los Angeles and Mexico City, the kitchen will be turning out all-vegan food such as barbecue and taco dishes, alongside the likes of loaded nachos and burritos.

Inside, think tropical neon signs and colour-pop artwork while founder Meriel Armitage has worked with artists and craftspeople to source furniture and the crushed-glass bar top. There will also be outdoor tables for when the weather holds up.

Kingly Court, Soho, London, W1B 5PW;

Silo X Wine Bar, London
20 August

The reconfigured offering from chef and founder Douglas McMaster will be open from 20 August in The White Building at CRATE in Hackney Wick.

The wine bar will initially open on Thursday 20 August in the evening and will be open through Saturday and for lunch on Sunday. Walk-in spaces will be available, but the best tables will be those booked through Silo's website. 

Wines will reflect Silo's approach of sourcing minimal intervention wines from small producers, from Tillingham Wines' Ben Walgate to Gut Oggau from Burgenland in Austria, while a new cocktail list from award-winning bartender and long-time collaborator Ryan Chetiyawardana will draw upon spirits sourced from Copenhagen's grain-to-bottle distillery Empirical Spirits. CRATE will supply the beers.

Read our full story here.

The White Building, Unit 7 Queens Yard, London, E9 5EN;

Jolie, London
28 August

The hospitality group Lollipop has opened Jolie, a restaurant and cocktail lounge inspired by the food and drink of France. It's located in the three-storey Chelsea Funhouse where some of Lollipop's other venues can be found, including the WW2-themed The Bletchley and espresso martini bar, Chelsea Black.

The cocktail list is said to 'take inspiration from the smells and scents of different regions in France'. For example, the Versailles is a Champagne-based cocktail with home-made caramel peach cognac and vanilla gold spray. 

Food will come in the form of sharing plates with the likes of smoked côte de boeuf, foie gras served on toasted brioche, and bottomless cheese fondue.

459 King’s Road, London, SW10 0LR;

Superico Bar & Lounge, Edinburgh
1 August

Part of the neighbouring Superico Restaurant, this new bar and lounge takes over the space originally inhabited by bar 99 Hanover Square. Superico Bar & Lounge's new drinks list has been curated by GM Michael Lynch and his team Johanna Cole and Claudio Poggi.

Highlights are said to include: the Padron Martini, served straight from the freezer for a 'velvety texture'; the Green Apple Collins, using house green apple cordial and a kummel caraway liqueur from Mothership Scotland; and Five Star Milk Punch, made by filtering coconut yoghurt with Star of Bombay gin, Martini Rubino, Amaro Montenegro, raspberry, milk and lime.

A food menu is also in the works and the design is based on South American geography, using a palette of earthy and contemporary pinks and ochres. Look up for the two-metre-wide Japanese paper supermoon...

99 Hanover St, Edinburgh, EH2 1DJ;

The Five Points Mare Street Taproom, London
24 July 

The new site from Five Points is an open-air space located in the yard and arches of the brewery’s Hackney warehouse. It has been designed to welcome up to 154 guests while ensuring social distancing measures are being adhered to.

Guest will be offered New York Neapolitan-style pizzas from Ace Pizza and the brewery’s beer range in both keg and cask.

The Five Points Mare Street Taproom will open its doors this Friday (24 July). It will then be open on Fridays (4pm-9pm) and Saturdays (1pm-9pm) throughout the summer. Full info can be found here.

61 Mare St, Hackney, London E8 4RG;

Six by Nico, London
21 July

Chef Nico Simeone has opened his first London restaurant in Fitzrovia, following sister sites in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast, Manchester and Liverpool. Set menus will be its big draw with a new six-course tasting menu launching every six weeks, starting with The Chippie, inspired by Simeone's Scottish-Italian heritage.

Food highlights from the opening menu include the Fish Supper with Shetland cod on confit fennel, samphire beer emulsion and pickled mushrooms; a Steak Pie comprising shredded Speyside beef shin, burnt onion ketchup, mushoom duxelle and 'meaty salsa'; and the Deep-fried Mars Bar with Caramelia, chocolate mousse, blood orange sorbet and cocoa nib.

Wine pairings are sourced from Europe or guests can choose from an extensive drinks list: gin, Coravin wines, and natural wines all get a good billing.

41 Charlotte St, London W1T 1RR;

Seoul Bird, London
6 August

Soju, Soju Apple Passion Fruit Cooler and Korean iced teas will all be on the drinks menu at Judy Joo's new opening, Seoul Bird.

The renowned Korean-American London-based chef is bringing crispy, double-fried Korean-style chicken to Westfield in Shepherd's Bush, alongside collaborating chef Andrew Hales. As well as fried chicken, a Signature Seoul Burger, Seoul Bowls, Tater Tots with seaweed mayo, Kimchi Mac & Cheese and Korean Fired Cauliflower in a gochujang and soy glaze are also on the menu.

Westfield Shepherd’s Bush, London, W12 7GF;

The Baccarat Bar at Harrods, London
17 July

Diageo Reserve’s World Class GB Bartender of the Year 2019, Cameron Attfield, is at the helm at Harrods' first stand-alone bar, opened in partnership with Baccarat crystal maker and sat on the ground floor of the department store with its own entrance.

The drinks menu, Refraction and Emotion, has been inspired by colours refracting through light and crystal and each drink will be paired to a Baccarat glass. Lists will change every six months and will even include guests bartender creations on a section of the menu.

The 23-seater bar itself has been kitted out with a ‘state-of-the-art research and development lab with the latest mixology and gastronomic equipment to support experimentation and innovation.’ Want to know more? Read our full story.

Door 5a Hans Cres, London, SW1X 7XL;

Costa del Tottenham, London
17 July

The huge site opposite Tottenham Hale station and from award-winning club The Cause, will be split into two alfresco sections, Northside and Southside.

Southside will come first with a Main Bar serving pint-sized cocktails (hello), the Caravan Bar for craft beers, Pirates Grog Rum Bar, the Gin Bar, Five Points Brewing's own bar and the London Beer Factory.

Street food, themed brunches, DJs and drag cabaret performers will also feature.

Down Lane Studios, Ashley House, London, N17 9LZ;

Platform 15, Escape to Freight Island, Manchester
24 July

The first phase of the new outdoor food and drink space, Escape to Freight Island, will be opening as part of the 10,000 capacity Depot Mayfield.

Food traders include the likes of Madre Tacos, Voodoo Ray's Pizza and vegan-doughnut maker Krum, while Camden Town Brewery and Pomona Island will take care of the beer offering. There will also be a Kopparberg bar serving fruit cider and its new Kopparberg Hard Seltzers, and some table will even have a pour-your-own tap for Mojitos, Espresso Martinis, cider or beer.

11 Baring St, Manchester, M1 2PY;

Maison François, London
14 September

This new brasserie and wine bar in London's St James', originally planned to open earlier in the spring, comes from founder François O’Neill, head chef Matthew Ryle and Ed Wyand heading up the front of house.

Maison François will pay homage to the grand brasseries of Paris, Lyon and Alsace, with food focusing on simplicity and seasonality, while service will be relaxed with drinks mixed at a dispensary bar and both chefs and waiters bringing plates to tables.

Downstairs, guests will find Frank's, the brasserie's dedicated wine bar. Magnums and Sherry poured straight from cask have been promised, as well as a wine list boasting 250 bottles.

34 Duke St, London, SW1Y 6DF;

The Pineapple Club Cocktail Bar & Beer Boutique, Birmingham

Birmingham's The Vanguard Cocktail Bar and Meadery is making way for a new venue, which will be opening across two floors in the city centre. 

'We really love what we have put together at The Vanguard. We’ve won so many awards and reignited a forgotten drink (mead) but for some time we realised our dreams have outgrown our existing space so much that an upgrade was in order,' said managing director, Samuel Boulton. 

Upstairs, an 80-cover space will be where guests are served cocktails, brunch and small plates in art-deco surrounds. On the ground floor, a shop will sell bespoke ranges of craft beer, real ale, spirits, liqueurs and mead.

Every six months the drinks menu will change, with serves based around a specific concept. A Miami Beach theme will kick things off with the likes of The Biscayne Blue (Bombay Sapphire gin, Original English Mead, elderflower & botanical cordial).

Precise location and opening date are yet to be announced. Watch this space.

TBC; Instagram: @PineappleBrum

Southside Tequila Joint, Manchester
8 July

Formerly the site of Solomon in Withington, Southside Tequila Joint comes from Solomon's owners Rupert Cade and Rick McClean, alongside Lyndon Higginson, the man behind Crazy Pedros, Wolf at the Door, and Bunny Jackson's.

The venue has been transformed by opening up the bar, adding banquette seating and a terrace, and opening up a downstairs bar, Manchester's Finest reported.

Tacos will be on the food menu and tequila, of course, will be flowing.

447-449 Wilmslow Rd, Manchester, M20 4AN;

Dishoom, Birmingham
18 July

Originally due to open in April, Dishoom Birmingham will now be opening on 18 July, with reservations for up to six available, a measure implemented due to Covid-19.

The new restaurant at One Chamberlain Square, which will be serving the Bombay cuisine the group is famous for, will be open all day with a late-night offering in its Permit Room bar and adjoining terrace.

The outpost's special drink is the Bombay Mule, which comprises Johnnie Walker Black, Dishoom chai spices, ginger beer and grapefruit bitters.

One Chamberlain Square, Birmingham, B3 3AX;

Silver Lining, London
8 July

The Hackney neighbourhood restaurant is reopening as 'the UK's first orange wine bar'. The first phase of the venue's (ran by Alistair Maddox who used to run east London's Broadway Market) new premise will include off sales of skin-contact wines. There will be over 30 varieties of orange wines for customers to choose from.

The team decided to pivot their focus off the back of their dedicated (and popular) Orange Wednesdays, a weekly promotions of orange wines that they were running before lockdown.

Once Silver Linings can operate safely in line with Covid-19 measures, it will be launching a full orange wine list, seated service and a seasonal small pates offering. We can't wait to pay it a visit.

13 Morning Ln, Hackney, London, E9 6ND;

The Garden at The Berkeley, London
4 July

Not content with just reopening its current spaces on 4 July, The Berkeley has unveiled The Garden, an informal Mediterranean-style outdoor restaurant (think grilled sardines with lemon and rock salt; charred octopus with lemon and garlic saffron aioli; and roast cauliflower with smoked almond puree).

Drinks are garden pitcher-style. The Berkeley Cup blends rum, Pimm’s, cassis and ginger beer finished with cucumber and strawberries, while Peach Wine comprises rosé, peach and elderflower liqueur with lime.

Tables seat two to six guests and are arranged with social distancing in mind.

Wilton Pl, Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7RL;

Truman's Social Club, London
4 July

A 35,000sq ft venue from Truman's Beer has opened in Walthamstow. Truman's Social Club comprises an on-site brewery, tap room, event space and beer garden. The latter opened over the weekend with social distancing guidelines in place. Draught beer and a rotating lineup of street food traders will be served for groups of up to six people.

Once social distancing measures are eased, Truman's is planning to open the venue's indoor space. Further down the line, there are also plans to increase capacity and open all day, seven days a week. The aim is to provide the hospitality staff pool with 100 jobs over the next five years.

1 Priestley Way, London, E17 6AL; 

Swift Shoreditch, London
End of July

Mia Johansson and Bobby Hiddleston, who opened the renowned Swift Soho alongside Roisin Stimpson and Edmund Weil (of Nightjar and Oriole fame), are heading to Shoreditch with their imminent new opening on Great Eastern Street.

Unlike its older sister in Soho, Swift Shoreditch will be an all-day venue (8am weekdays, 11am weekends) with the addition of brunch-style dining – hello, Neal’s Yard toasties – alongside a cocktail offering with which Swift Soho fans will be familiar, its Spritz menu, Sgroppino and Irish Coffee, most notably.

When it comes to aesthetic, we’ve been promised art deco touches, bar counter seating and banquettes – not to mention French glass doors and the obligatory greenery.

93 Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3HZ

Shelter Hall Raw, Brighton
4 July

Built with Covid in mind, this new 'socially distanced dining concept' on Brighton's sea front opened on Super Saturday featuring pop-up food and drink stalls and with an ongoing community programme. Set up by ex-Deliveroo, MD Dan Warne (pictured), it comes complete with mobile app ordering systems, screens fitted at tables, spacious floor plans and a one-way entrance system, showcasing just how venues can work with tech and other industries to make their hospitality safe during the ongoing pandemic.

Shelter Hall Raw focuses on supporting local sustainability initiative with each food and drink vendor being Sussex-based and encouraged to source local goods.

Kings Road Arches, Shelter Hall, Brighton, BN1 1NB;

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