Behind Closed Doors: Supper Clubs and Underused Spaces

31 Oct 2015

The MEATliquor restaurant in Brighton

Many of London’s most interesting restaurants came from humble beginnings.

The MEATliquor empire began serving burgers from a van in a Peckham car park before moving to a room above a New Cross pub. It now has nine branches from London to Brighton and Singapore.

James Ramsden and Sam Herlihy’s hotly tipped new restaurant Pidgin started life as a supper club called The Secret Larder in the basement of a coffee shop on Holloway Road.

Supper Club pioneer, James Ramsden's new restaurant in Hackney

Imagine if you could say that London’s next hottest new restaurant had its origins in your very own café or pub!

Supper clubs and venues with a little extra empty space go hand in hand. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship where venues can earn some extra revenue by hiring out their space and chefs have the chance to run their own restaurant. Diners at these events also get to have a completely unique dining experience outside of a traditional restaurant setting.

Here at Grub Club, we provide a platform for chefs and foodies to promote their supper clubs. Our supper club chefs work in a number of different ways, from opening up their own homes to taking over cafes and shops to host their restaurant in. We are constantly impressed by the range and quality of events on offer. We’ve seen supper clubs hosted in tube carriages, clock towers and even underground vaults. In fact, most venues with some extra space can provide the ideal solution for chefs looking to test out their offering without the risk and overheads of owning their own space.

Grub Club
The Conflict Cafe in the House of Vans

For the owners of these venues, it’s not only an opportunity to earn some extra revenue during their quiet times or when their doors are closed. It’s also an opportunity to bring new people in contact with the space. Next time diners are in the area, they’ll know exactly here to stop off for a coffee or a pint (or three). Pop-ups are growing hugely more popular and housing one will add extra interest to a venue’s operations as well as increasing the chances of publicity due to being mentioned in the pop-ups promotions.

Whilst some supper club chefs prefer the roaming approach, appearing in different spaces each time, others stick to their tried and tested favourites and use the same venue every week. This guarantees a regular source of income for venue owners.

Recently, we were delighted to receive some amazing feedback from a restaurant owner that had started regularly hiring out her extra space to supper club hosts. As well as creating a new revenue stream to help her through a difficult time as she built up her restaurant, she felt that “it is so precious to know and work with new chefs. We are delighted to have a great circle of chefs and foodies”.

Grub Club
Chit Chaat Chai at Platterform in Hackney

We love that chefs and venues can help each other in different stages of their journey. Chefs are happy, the venue owners are happy, and guests love the clandestine nature of dining in unusual settings... may it long continue!

Grub Club is a platform for promoting supper clubs and pop-up restaurants in London. Their Chefs bring to life underused spaces to unlock hundreds of nights of unique dining experiences for adventurous foodies.

Feeling inspired? If you have a space you’d like to list for pop-up restaurants or supper clubs, follow the link to get started.

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