Make yourself a Gorgeous Negroni Sbagliato and settle down to imbibe this transcript of my interview with Robbie Bargh, Founder and Director of Gorgeous Group! Most bars that you’ve walked into have been inspired by ones that he conceived – call him the John Soane of barchitecture!
When you walk into a bar and think, “This is fabulous!” You’ve most likely stepped into one of our guest’s creations.
Robbie Bargh is one of those geniuses who knows inherently what makes a good time and how to distill that good time into whatever project he is working on – bar, restaurant, and even an upcoming theatre project.
As Founder and Director of Gorgeous Group, the Hospitality Concept Agency, Robbie sprinkles a little of his magic all over everything. On today’s program, we discover where that magic came from.
This episode originally aired on May 12, 2020.
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Please enjoy this transcript of my interview with Robbie Bargh. Just remember that I own the copyright in and to all content in and transcripts of Lush Life podcast, with all rights reserved, as well as my right of publicity. So if you want to use any of this, please email me!
Susan: So great to finally have you on the show after knowing you for how long, 7 years! Let’s begin where I always do – can you tell me a little bit about where you grew up, your upbringing, and your early years?
Robbie: Gosh, I grew up in Manchester, my hometown, which I loved. It was pretty tough actually. We had no money. I was the eldest. My mum had to bring up three kids on her own, under the age of nine, but I was always quite competent and quite a dreamer. I loved to live in my own world and loved a bit of escapism films. I wanted something bigger and better. I grew up on a council estate, which was fine. It was just a bit; it was quite tough. School was tough. I guess I was bullied, but I was pretty popular as well since I was good at sport and drama.
I grew up thinking there has to be something better than this. I watch lot of films, big, over the top, Busby Berkeley musicals, very, very ostentatious, crazy. My grandmother was very influential, and my mom still is, and we’re very close, all my brothers and sisters, and we’re really, really close.
Susan: Did you watch those movies on TV?
Robbie: I grew up thinking I want a bit of this, and I want a bit of that. Yeah. I remember recently watching Renee Zellweger doing Judy and I grew up with all that and more and just believe that there was a world out there I wanted a piece of. And it was something more than just Manchester.
And it’s really interesting as I’ve got friends I went to school with and college and I am in touch on Facebook, but I’m not someone who will ever go back, and I’ve never been invited back. I just did my own thing. I didn’t even have an accent; you couldn’t tell I was even from Manchester with my accent. I always knew I would get out, so I did, I was a bit of a performer. I worked in bars. I worked in clubs. I was a bit of a dancer.
I lived a bit of an underworld life in Manchester world, no one knew. Even my family, which was fun because I was able to find a bit of escapism and at the same time earn some money. Look after my family as well.
But it gave me a taste of something. I saw there was another world out there. So, combined with watching films and seeing another world, I thought, I want a piece of that. So as soon as I could get out of Manchester, I did. And when I go back now, which I do often, I love it.
I’m very close to my family. I’m very close to my brothers and sisters, I speak to my mom every day or every other day, and it’s great. None of them understand what I do, none of them get it at all. They think I’m in the industry of restaurants and bars and hotels and clubs and whatever.
They just think that Robbie is a bit of an attention seeker he’s a bit of bossy and a little bit crazy, but that was it. I’ve no regrets.
I grew up thinking that if we had a bowl of fruit on the table, then it was a good week. It wasn’t a bed of roses. And there were times when the rent man would come and my mum would say, can we just go hide? And we would hide because my mom had no money., so it was tough. It was tough, but it was good fun. And then there’s lots of love and lots of laughter and there still is. We all have very strong personalities. My sister is a nursing sister and she’s on the front line in the moment dealing with everything. She’s running a Covid ward and she’s phenomenal. But we’re all quite confident and assertive and just pushy and always get what we want, all of us. We were left to look after ourselves and we were very independent, but it made us all quite strong individuals and we all got on with doing what we do best.
Susan: Did you have an idea of what leaving “all that” was? Did you have an idea of, of how you would do that?
Robbie: No, I didn’t! I just knew that I wanted more. I wanted to go shopping and have books and travel and have a house, my own house, and do the stuff I really wanted to do. I didn’t want anyone telling me that I couldn’t leave.
It was really fun. I took my niece for her 16th birthday to Paris in January. Well, I was thinking for my 16th birthday, I got the slap on the ear or something. It was really interesting to listen to her talk about family and how important family is and her, mum and dad, my sister and my brother-in-law, and talking about how important it is to stay home and to stay near your home. When she goes to university, she was going to go to university in Manchester. I was thinking, wow. My nephews and nieces, they’re all this millennial sort, they’re very close and all I wanted to do was just get out and just go and see something.
Susan: And what was the first thing you saw.
Susan: Or that made you feel you were on your way?
Robbie: I realized I could be dancing on tables all my life, so I thought I had to get a proper job.
Susan: You were literally dancing on tables??
Robbie: Yeah, yeah. But then I got a management job, like a graduate scheme, running, running themed restaurant and bar in Manchester. I had an amazing boss and she was great. I had spent six weeks in the kitchen, six weeks in the bar, six weeks in the restaurant, six weeks. It was really good. I think it was the very first time I had structure and I had authority and I was very receptive, and I really loved it.
She said, you have it, you love the hospitality, you’ve got it. She was amazing. And she put me on a management training scheme where I could go and work in different sites. I went to work in awful places like, not awful because they were awful, but thinking, why am I going there?
I went to Northampton; I went to Cardiff and I had a quite a good job and a good position. And Cardiff, I was the only non-Welsh gay licensee under the age of 21 in Cardiff. And I was thinking, wow, this is great. And I was independent, I was earning some money and I was living in the city. It was great and the Cardiff people were lovely to me and I had a bit of a crazy time and I really loved it. And then I got the opportunity of moving to London to get a job. And London was a big , “Let’s go to London.” And that’s what I did. And I got some great, great opportunities.
Susan: So, was London like always the be all and end all? You’re going to get to London.!
Robbie: It was. It was amazing. It was great. I worked hard. I got a bit off track, a little bit at the beginning, too much craziness, and just some crazy things. I was always being pushy. I’ve always had a bit of a mouth on me. People like me and I was quite fortunate to have some good people I went to work for. Those people were very important, and I did quite well.
Susan: What kind of things are we talking about?
Robbie: I went to work for Alan Yao, and the very first Wagamama, which was really important, really key. I opened some bars and restaurants, Beach Blanket Babylon, which is a very famous bar. And I went to The Collection. I did well and I was enjoying it and I was popular, and I got some good accreditation. People acknowledged the way I’d done it. It was okay. And then I got an opportunity to go and work for Ian Schrager who was pretty much my hero and, part of that whole Studio 54 thing, and that sense of creating escapism with a hotel. It was all about theater and magic and that whole thing about that grown up club, but it was a hotel lobby and eating and drinking was way more than F & B. It was started stylish and it was cool, it was fun and chic. I got to work in a different country and I really enjoyed it.
Susan: You’re going so fast. No, I was going to say where it was the first place you went, you traveled abroad. Was it New York?
Robbie: Yes. I really enjoyed, I loved it, but then things didn’t go the way I wanted to. I not a blonde haired, blue eyed, American boy who says yes, all the time. I’m challenging. I know I’m challenging, literally I ended up coming back to London after a while and thinking, what do I want to do?
I’ve worked with some great people. I’ve worked with some great companies. I worked with the Belgo group of Caprice Holdings and done some really good things. Alan Yao was a big influence on my life. And then I thought, well, what else can I do? And I remember coming back and I came back in about late 1999.
I was asked to open a bar at this big hotel, Park Lane Hilton. And, I said to them, I didn’t want to pen the bar and run the bar. I’d grown bigger than that, and so I didn’t want to do that. Tony Chi, who was the designer, he was working on this project, designing this bar and he didn’t particularly like London, and he wasn’t getting along very well the Hilton guys. I said, I’ll help you set this bar up. It was called Zeta and it was quite a well-known bar and it did very well, and it was great.
What it enabled me to do was, by accident, set up my own business and that’s when Gorgeous Groups started. And at the same time, Allen was opening a restaurant called Hakkasan, on Tottenham Court Road and he needed some help. And so I went to help him as well. Those two projects were really important in that they enabled me to make a mark, make a name, and started me thinking about establishing a little business on my own. And that’s pretty much how it started.
Susan: But before we go into the Gorgeous Group and what you do, I just want to backtrack just a teeny bit, because we kind of skimmed over a lot of stuff and I just wanted to know what it was about, hospitality itself, the bar business, what really drew you to that other than just enjoying it. What was it about it that kept you there and made you want to pursue it and continue to be there all those years?
Robbie: I think hospitality for me was a way being someone I wasn’t born to be, I could be something else. And the great thing about hospitality is that you can walk into a floor, walk behind a bar, walk into a hotel lobby and pretty much your interaction with guests is a very emotional one. And you can make someone have an amazing day and you can really change the way they feel about things and how they feel about themselves.
And that has always been really important to me. I’ve always been someone who wanted to make other people laugh or smile and have fun and enjoy themselves. It’s always been absolutely intrinsic about what I do. When I used to run the floor at The Collection, I used to be paid quite a lot of money and my boss at the time, we’re talking really senior people like Luke Johnson and Tim Power and all really important guys in the industry today. They would say, Robbie, just get out there, do your business.
They give me my own uniform allowance and get dressed up, and I would literally work the floor. That’s all I did. I had the most amazing job. I loved it, and I was lucky, and I know you make your own luck, but I ran busy high-profile establishments and I loved it. I got to know people and today I have about two dozen really close friends and all of them I met through the industry through looking after them. That has always been my thing is, and hospitality was my way of creating those scenes, which I used to watch as a kid and think I want to do something else and it got to be something better than this.
And that’s really how it happens. And I thought, if I can make a bit of a difference and make a bit of a change where people feel, that is pretty good, cause then I’m going to feel good. And I was very lucky, and I got to work with some great, great people who really inspired me.
Who believed in me and I took those keys and I took this responsibility and I ran with it? I was never going to be this shrinking violet sat in the office making sure the P & L was amazing because that wasn’t. I would hire people to do that, to work with me.
I love the floor. I loved being out front and looking after and greeting and, making sure, everyone was having an amazing time. That whole theory of inviting people to your party and making sure that they’re having an awesome time. And that there’s some things they walk away with and they talk about and they think about the drinks, about the food about music and all those things.
And that’s exactly the same as running a restaurant or running bar. And for me that was really, really important. I’d get really down when I would close up and finish my shift and that’s when it all starts getting a bit crazy. And you hang out with those likeminded folk – your community, your peers, your head chefs and your restaurant managers. You’d go out and you’d get a bit messy and then the next morning you wake up and it, yeah, let’s start again. It was crazy, but I maintained some balance and some discipline. I was very lucky cause I grew up with people around me who weren’t so lucky. I try to keep myself quite, together, because I knew what I come from and I knew that I couldn’t let anyone down and people were relying on me, people invested in me, so I wouldn’t do that. I wanted to just make sure that whoever came into the restaurant or into the bar the next day was going to have an amazing time. And that was my job to do that. And I loved it. And that meant looking after the team, making sure that they were looked after and they were inspired, and they had some passion. And it was, it was great. It was fun. It was amazing.
I used to run this restaurant at this awful, big huge hotel they had about 1200 bedrooms and the GM at the time was a great guy and he then became CEO of a big hotel company. He took a massive gamble in hiring me because polished, I didn’t go to hotel school and he took a gamble. I found it really tough, really tricky, but I made it work and I loved it. I did well and it was great. He just dropped me a line last week saying, “I hope you’re not in London.”
I remember years later when I just started the Gorgeous Group and I had just given up a lease on a flat and was trying to buy another flat. I had a few weeks where I had nowhere to live. He gave me a room in one of his hotels. He was so kind. And then years later he was a client. And then, I would literally, do projects for him and his company. So, it comes around, you work hard and you’re nice to people. That’s pretty much why I grew up thinking. That was important in my family and that’s something I’ve adopted. And also, it’s something I really enjoy and then apply that to hospitality and made it work.
Susan: When you started the Gorgeous Group, had you any idea what it would become? By the way, he’s shaking his head now.
Robbie: No way. It’s interesting every day. The weirdest things worry me. I don’t worry about business and bringing in new business. It’s the other stuff. It’s the people that really worry me, running the business, making sure I’m looking after my team and making sure that they, enjoy what they’re doing.
I had some great people who worked with me, who helped me build a business from the beginning, Jason and Julian, and they did an incredible, amazing job. guess I’ve always had this quite strong personality so that, even today I’m the one who will do the presentations, who will nurse the client, and spend time with them.
That piece of work, I get it. I have no problem with that. I love doing it, but I never thought, if someone said to me, we’ll have a business in 20 years’ time, which it is now, and we’d still be doing the most amazing things and doing what we did 20 years ago, but now doing it with hotels and with department stores, for shopping centers with airlines… I would never have guessed. I’ve created my own destiny. There was no map, no map at all or, and even today, I’ve got to think about the next two to five years, I’ve got, I’ve got a couple of these I’d love to do. But there was no plan.
Susan: For those who might not know what the Gorgeous Group is. You started with that one project. Tell me about how it snowballed. What were some of the fabulous projects that came to you?
Robbie: Zeta was incredibly important. I worked with an amazing guy called Jason Fendick, who is an incredible soul. And he and I made this work and it was a very first time when the word Style Bar came together and there were some big personalities on it, just starting to make a name for themselves, and people like Dale DeGroff and Dick Bradsell and, key people like Oliver Peyton. We opened Zeta and it was way ahead of its time. We turned an old basement with offices into a great, beautiful bar. Jason was the talent behind that, and I just made it happen. Tony Chi did the most incredible design and the drinks were absolutely out of this world. They were healthy those days that strapline was a healthy approach to alcohol. It was way ahead it’s time and we got eight pages in Elle and then we won some big awards.
We won the TimeOut Bar of the Year. We won the Evening Standard Bar of the Year. And in those days, bars were just becoming to be destinations where people would travel to and go out and plan to spend the whole evening.
Then on the back of that Hakkasan was just happening and that was a big gamble for Alan to put this crazy, beautiful, decadent, outrageous, spectacular, modern Chinese in the basement of this disgusting street, just off the Tottenham Court Road. We helped him do that and they had an incredible week. We spent the time on the bar and on the floor and lounge and reception.
It was quite fun. Actually. I ran Hakkasan shifts for about three or four months because the management team kept coming in one door and out the other, because it was just so full on. And that was magical. I loved it because I was back doing what I love doing, two, three years back before.
Then people would knock on the door and go, can you help me do this? Can you help me do that? And I got some good projects. We got incredible stuff, some nice high-profile projects and, anyway, it was good fun. I was working with some hotel brands, big brands, like Hilton, Marriott, and Four Seasons They were good to me. Right at the very beginning it was two or three bars. We did Rockwell straight afterwards where I did really well. That won another big award and that we did another bar and restaurant diner actually right off Oxford Street.
So, we did some good stuff and it established itself and then we ended up becoming a bit of a name in hotels, starting off with bars originally and then getting into restaurants. And so that’s how it all started.
Then I started to get quite a bit of work from different markets, from different countries like Paris and Switzerland and Germany and it was fun. Then I went over to Europe and into the Middle East and to Asia. It was great. I was on a bit of a rock and roll and it just, you burn out, but it was good fun, great fun.
Susan: When you say you did a bar what does that mean, take an example of just one. Hilton, where did they come to you and say, do us a bar or what? What would you do?
Robbie: It started off as being – give me an idea, give me a story. Bringing the key people together and helping to promote it and talk about this and design the menu.
That’s how it started. There was always that experience piece there, but there was also a very functional piece. People would say, I’ve got a space. I don’t know how it works. I don’t know what to do. I want something cool and I want something that you’ve done, like you’ve done there.
That was pretty much how it worked, and that’s what we would end up doing. There was definitely lots of art and a little bit of science behind it, and there’s a lot of passion, but we were young. We were just winging it.
Really what we had was amazing experience. We had great experience in knowing what people wanted. And I still have that. I still got that. I can walk into pretty much most bars and restaurants on the planet and tell you why it works or why it doesn’t work, it’s just intuitive. It’s in there. I get it. And so that’s pretty much how I started.
Then, as we grew, we had to become quite serious. We were working with some big brands and they wanted more than just a good idea or a nice bartender or some great drinks. It had to be more than that. Especially when you start doing restaurants and you start doing breakfast in hotels and you still have to do three meals a day and then start thinking about stocking models and purchasing and procurements and anything. Then spending time with kitchen designers and bar designers and then spending time with marketing teams. We actually ended up developing our own way of working and some tools and what you initially needed to put together a great bar
And we were pretty much the one of the very first companies who did this Then there were a few bartenders who had just left bars and became consultants. And now I never used the word consultants. And today, it’s the farthest I will ever be thinking of being referred as.
I know we are referred to as that, but today our job is, is pretty much what it was at the very beginning. But now there’s still the emotional stuff we have to deliver, but now it’s purely about creating exceptional experiences and that’s it. And whether that is in a bar, in a restaurant, in an airport lounge, and a shopping center and beautiful department store, or whether it’s actually in an office block or working with a big corporate blue-chip company, it’s about creating exceptional experiences, usually guest experiences. Sometimes it’s a very transactional customer experience, and sometimes it’s between a worker and a company, but it’s all about dealing with that, making people feel amazing. What that emotional stuff feels like when you walk into a space, any space. There are butterflies in your tummy, and you think, what’s going on here? This is crazy. This is amazing. And the butterflies turn to excitement and adrenaline, and that whole thing translates into this incredible magical time. And then when you leave, when you go home and you talk about it, that talkability, this happened and that happened.
This is how you can convert a transactional element into something emotional and get people to talk about it and how it makes people feel. When I watched those films and when I went to restaurants and bars, it made me feel amazing and made me feel special.
There’s this amazing film from 1932 called the Grand Hotel, and it’s an exceptional film. It’s an amazing film. There is this whole thing about the hotel lobby, where the most mundane things can happen. It’s a transactional experience, but then they are also the most incredible. places where your life would just change, and you could do all those things in those spaces.
And I think that’s exactly what we do today. And whether it is working with a blue-chip corporate client in Canary Wharf, or whether it’s working with a global hotel brand in Boston, or whether it’s working with a hotel company in Delhi or a hostel company in Dublin, it’s exactly the same. Our job is to bring magic and bring wow and bring emotional pizazz and all that sparkle and that magic dust to life.
We’re working with a theater company at the moment which is one of those iconic theaters in the world. They came to us and said, we’re restoring this theater to its original glory, and we’re going to have this beautiful grand salon, which has been there since the Regency period. What we want to create is this incredible afternoon tea. Can you create something which is in line with what we do on stage? I said, Absolutely! Even though I’d never worked in a theater in that way before, I’d never done catering or anything like that.
We’re just applying that we know to creating that razzmatazz and that wow to this medium which is theatre. It’s incredible because you find yourself explaining to this incredibly important CEO of his company the difference between service and hospitality and how looking after someone can change someone’s life rather than serving them. It’s all about how it makes people feel.
We’ve been having a bit of a row with this designer and I was saying, this is great. I said, but the aesthetics you’re creating has to be so intelligent. It can’t be just about what it looks like. It’s how it makes people feel. And anyone could choose to make that wall gray, but someone can make the decisions to make it look spectacular, so that when a guest comes in, they go, oh my God, looks at that, isn’t that beautiful? We all have that ability to be able to make that happen. That’s every day, every single thing.
Today I have work from three concepts for a project we are working on a moment in Middle East. One of them is an Italian restaurant, one of them is an all-day dining experience, and then one of them is a beautiful cocktail bar. I get so much thrill at doing that initial piece of work.
Right at the beginning, as much today as I got out of it 19 years ago when I first started doing it. It’s the same thing.
Every single project is massively different, but we apply the same ethos, whether that’s working on a luxury hotel in Zurich, or whether it’s working on a beautiful loft bar in Paris, and it’s the same. It’s the same thing. So that is, and now I’ve worked out how we can turn that stuff we did into something which is quite formulaic and something where there’s a process behind it.
here’s this incredible process behind it so that there’s a creative piece and then there’s a process piece and we put it together and that’s what people pay for. And now we, because we’ve got process as well as the creative, that’s opening the doors for us, which we never thought would open.
But it all started off right at the very beginning with bars. And interestingly maybe because my name’s Robbie Bar(gh), it comes back to me and even people like big journalists, like Nick Lander (FT) will ring me up and say, can you talk to me about drinks? Can you talk about bars? And even that, when I put that video out on LinkedIn, it was for charity, but there was an expectation for me to make a drink.
But actually, when you look at that video, it’s what I was wearing, what I was using, the equipment, the whole razzle-dazzle and also my little twist on something. And it was theater and it was bringing it to life a little bit. And that there’s a whole thing about taking something quite bland or a functional piece or giving it a bit of zoom and making it feel magical and making someone feel magical at the same time. It’s exactly what I set out to do all those years ago when I was working in bars and restaurants, it’s just ended up in a different way.
Even now when I’m entertaining at home, I hate cooking, but I love entertaining. It’s always got to be that balance. And thank God, Scott loves cooking. It’s about putting those things together.
But it’s always that looking after, and its exact same principles as when I was running shift in Hakkasan and as I would do having a drinks party in our house. t’s the same thing.
Susan: Of course, it’s funny that you just, and you probably don’t even know that you said it. You said, I’ve never worked on a theater. You have totally lived your life, like you are on stage. So, it’s so funny that you would say you’ve been working in theatre your entire life.
Robbie: I get so lost in it. Especially in lockdown, it’s quite, tricky. But on Saturday I said, Let’s make Martinis, so we had a bit of a martini supper and it was great. And it was just us, Scott was doing some arts stuff and craft things and he was painting, and I was making martinis and we were having twiglets some nibbles, and it was just so good.
It’s that whole thing about making people feel that they are somewhere special. And it’s somewhere different because life’s pretty tough out there. So, if we can’t go out and experience something…
One of my big projects I worked with. recently in the last few years was Dishoom. It was incredible for me because it was, I’d never worked on something like that before.
The guys behind it came to me with an idea and a name. And then I went to Bombay and I fell in love with this whole story and I thought, what can we do to make this really come to life? And we applied that whole principal about creating a party and looking after people and, taking people on a journey and storytelling and the whole thing was this isn’t about food, this isn’t just about drinks. It’s the whole package. And it was amazing. And to do something like that, working with some great partners and great clients who really trusted you and they empowered you. And I put so much blood, sweat, and tears into that project.
Today, I have nothing to do with Dishoom today, but every time I see something, and I hear something, and I’ve read anything. There’s a little bit inside me, which makes me feel very proud and Shamil, who’s the founder and one of owners, he still sends me his messages and how’s this, how’s going?
These people came to me and neither one of them was a restaurateur and we helped them come up with this idea and help them develop this. But the biggest success I think, is we helped them understand what hospitality was all about and how they were going to apply this and really disrupt the model of the Indian restaurant and change that and make casual dining exceptional. Make it fun, make it a journey. Take people out of their comfort zone at the same time make them feel, wow, that was just incredible.
People say, what’s your most successful projects? And I just say, we haven’t done it yet. Yeah. It’s, it’s not, I still frustrate myself with things. I get so emotionally involved and it’s been quite challenging sometimes. But I’m quite pleased. was listening to an interview in Martin Scorsese yesterday on my podcast, and he was saying, what’s your favorite film? Is its Taxi Driver, or, was it the Irishman? And he tells him that he’s not done it yet. He’s still in his seventies, mid-seventies, and he’s still thinking what it’s going to be. It probably won’t have Di Niro. But the same thing. I’ve not done it yet. and when you come up to times like this, which are really challenging, and it gives you time to stop. You have to restart, and you have to rethink. And you have to repurpose what your business is about. How can we get things moving again in a new world and a new normal because things have massively changed and deep down, I probably think that this is known whilst this horrific, that the challenge is how to look forward and think of how we’re going to do this?
I still don’t know what we’re going to do, but I do know that I’ve got to help my clients, and , as many people as we can, to get through this really tricky time. People will always want to go out and always want a little bit of magic, that little bit of escapism, and they will always want to feel like there’s something quite special, whether it’s with physical distancing and in the same place, I don’t know. I think that there will always be room for that, but at the same time, it’s about making things better and creating exceptional experiences and making things work better, but making the guest think, wow, that was really amazing.
So, it’s the how to apply that to this new normal, but I’m looking forward to hoping that that we can make that happen quite quickly. We can be part of that whole process.
I love these new projects. I love this new challenge of where people will come to you and go, have you ever done a co-living space or have you ever done this is a theatre, have you ever worked in an opera? These are all things I’ve just said yeah, I can do that. And we’ve adapted, because as long as we’ve got our processes and as long as we’ve got the creative energy and vision to make this happen, then things moving forward.
The day I wake up in the morning, I think, actually tonight I don’t want to do this, then I won’t do it and move on. But I’m very lucky. My commercial director says to me, you’re lucky, this is like a hobby. It’s not really a hobby, but I love what I do. Because if it’s a hobby, you don’t necessarily put a 100% into what you do. I put a 110% into it every time. I’m very fortunate and interestingly, I’ve never had so much food I’ve cooked for four weeks, I can’t tell you, my normal life would be eating out at least once a day. So, to go from that, well, I get thrill from planting seeds in my vegetable patches and my greenhouse and crazy things turn me on at the moment. It’s kind of odd.
I keep thinking waking up thinking what would the be the first restaurant or the first bar I go to when it all gets normal and it’s kind of really hard to think about what that will be.
Susan: You talked about bars that when you walk in, they give you butterflies. Can you give me some of your favorite ones that you can think of?
Robbie: There’s a guy called Brian Silver. He runs the bar at Rules upstairs and whatever bars he ever runs, he always makes you want to go in there and think, wow, this is, this is special. He has this incredible ability to put all together, and it’s a bit like going to watch a ringmaster. It’s a masterclass because it’s wonderful seeing him with his team. I love watching him work and seeing how he puts it all together. That would probably be one of those, which I would definitely go to because it’s a real favorite.
A bar, which we did work on recently, which I love, and I’ve always loved, but now I love it more cause it’s the drinks are so much better, and the pizazz is better is the bar at the Goring Hotel. The Goring has always had a bit of a soft spot in my heart because I’ve always liked the old school glamour, the silver service, the canapés and the hospitality. When I was going, they had no music, the ice wasn’t great, and the glasses weren’t fantastic, but it was, it was the whole thing about being at the Goring. Now we have great music, we have great glasses, we have great drinks, we have great drinking food. It’s magical. So now I love going there and I think I was looking forward to going there again as soon as I can.
I like the Old King Cole in New York. I love it there. I love the Bemelmans at the Carlyle. I like the Violet Hour in Chicago. I like Iron Fairies in Bangkok, There’s a couple of bars in Delhi. we worked on, the Oberoi Delhi, one of the most beautiful hotels. We e, we, we worked in a bar and a restaurant at the bars quite special.
I also love Dukes and I love going to the Connaught. I love going to see my friends, people, like, Ago in action and going to the Artesian. I love the Wigmore, it’s a very special place because we disrupted the whole pub thing and we made it posh and fun.
And the Wigmore is exceptional I didn’t have to think about it. I could go and I will always have an exceptional Gin & Tonic or a glass of punch or a great glass of something. it just, it’s just different. Hey look, I have got bunny rabbits in my garden.
Susan: I have a feeling that if we kept talking you would name every single bar in, not only London, but the world. So, go enjoy your bunny rabbits.