Mid May 2014 saw the opening of The Blues Kitchen Shoreditch, the latest project from London-based bar and restaurant company, The Columbo Group. Located on Curtain Road, on the site formerly inhabited by Bar Music Hall, the new opening offers an East London sibling to the original Blues Kitchen which opened in Camden in 2009.
Housed within a gargantuan Victorian warehouse and split over two levels, The Blues Kitchen can accommodate up to 500 across a spacious diner, two bars, dance floor, stage and private events space.
The interior design was overseen by Riz Shaikh – co-director of The Columbo Group – who is known for his inventive and resourceful selection of materials.
The new site is situated in the heart of Shoreditch’s bustling strip, and is a veritable hive of activity with its multiple sections for drinking, dining and dancing. Upon arrival, guests are met by a majestic centrepiece island bar, built by specialist tiler, Craven Dunhill Jackfield, and featuring a 150 gallon lobster tank housing lobsters from the Scottish”Isles.
Craven”Dunhill is considered the authority in historic tiling, highlighted by some of its high profile projects – among them restoring the tiles of Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament.
From the bar guests are able to order drinks, and also enjoy a more casual counter dining experience sat at high comfy booths. To the left, an elevated level hosts a series of bigger booths, including one large high roller booth, accommodating up to 20.
A stage and dance floor takes up the right hand side of the area, whilst the back of the space is inhabited by a vintage, 1950s silver Airstream caravan, which has been sawn in half and used as a VIP drinks or private dining area.
Through the caravan is a secret room, complete with its own TV and Smeg fridge, which can be stocked up with alcohol for a more private function space. A further party space and dining room is available in the basement – also featuring its own DJ booth for guests to bring their own entertainment should they want to.
The artwork for the new venue is being sourced from Hatch Show Print – one of the oldest letterpress print houses in America. Based in Nashville, Hatch Show Print has produced posters in the past for the likes of Elvis and Johnny Cash.
The venue offers live music seven nights a week and there is something on offer to suit everyone’s taste – whether it be Monday acoustic blues, Wednesday blues jam or, from Thursday through the weekend, a variety of live touring acts and DJs.
Regular guests at the original Blues Kitchen include some of the world’s biggest blues artists such as the Rolling Stones go-to guitar man, Gary Clark Jr, and blues legend, Seasick Steve.
This is not the first time that The Columbo Group has breathed life into popular neighbourhood hangouts, having worked on projects such as The Old Queens Head in Islington and Paradise By Way of Kensal Green since the company formed in 2006.
The group is familiar with its hip East London audience as well, having launched high profile venues such as XOYO in Shoreditch, The Nest in Dalston, and most recently, The Cat & Mutton.