Invest in the future of independent hospitality

by The Natural Philosopher in London, Greater London, United Kingdom

Invest in the future of independent hospitality

Total raised £710

raised so far



We're aiming to raise £75,000+ to open a new venue; a food & drink pairing concept with guest chefs & bartenders, with a bit of social good.

by The Natural Philosopher in London, Greater London, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 29th March 2023 we'd raised £710 with 10 supporters in 56 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

Hi friends, guests, and anyone who has managed to stumble upon our campaign!

I'm Josh and I'm the owner and operator of a small independent bar in East London called The Natural Philosopher. Opened in 2015 and situated on Hackney Road inside a genuine Apple Mac repair shop, the bar is equal parts accidental speakeasy and neighbourhood hangout.


I first started working in bars back home in Wales in 2009 at the age of 19. There was something about making cocktails and having people really enjoy them that really appealed to me. I quickly learned that true hospitality is all about creating memories for guests, providing a space for all to feel welcome, and it's how the guest feels when they leave that is just as much, if not more important than making excellent drinks. 

I grew up in turbulent circumstances and have at one point in my life been homeless. If not for an incredible amount of luck mixed with a huge amount of passion, it's almost impossible to imagine that many people would get to where I am today. I strive to find ways to provide easier opportunities for other people to progress their careers and climb the social ladder. 

Having worked my way through various hospitality roles including bar management, bar consultancy for 5 star hotels in Africa and the Middle East, gin distillation and brand ambassador work, I've got a breadth of experience in many areas of the hospitality sector. I moved to London in 2015 after having made a name for myself as one of the best bartenders in the UK and being published in various cocktail books, articles and winning a few cocktail competitions.

My story with The Natural Philosopher is an odd one but serves as a reminder of the power of self-belief and passion. I first worked there as a bartender in 2017. I fell in love with the venue deeply and told myself that one day I would own that little bar. I loved every day working in there but being so small there was no room for progression so after a while I left to pursue other projects and further my career. In July 2019, I was once again looking for a job and the role of bar manager became available at The Natural Philosopher. I jumped at the opportunity to once again work in a venue I loved and be in a position to shape it in a way that would see it become more successful.


Implementing changes in decor and creating menu's with unusual, foraged and seasonal ingredients, the bar began to grow, gain regulars and garner praise by journalists and guest reviews.


Just 5 months later in December 2019 in an incredible twist of fate and opportunity, I became the owner of the bar.

In hindsight this was poor timing to become a business owner with the pandemic and lockdowns less than 3 months away. Obviously I could never have foreseen this and the next 2 years became a test of my ability to overcome incredible odds of keeping a business alive when we couldn't be open, and surviving without government grants that because we existed through the doors of another business weren't available to us. In the last 3.5 years I've managed to provide employment to 4 people, 2 of which I've worked with in other London venues.


Before my management of the bar, it was taking on average just £4-6k a month, with maximum takings of £8k per month. On the assumption of a very good year that's only £96,000 turnover. After being closed for 8 months total of 2020, and finally opening without restriction in May 2021, I managed to increase footfall to the bar exponentially and we've just finished 2022 with over £200,000 in turnover.

The Natural Philosopher has quickly become one of East London's hidden gems with a 4.7 star rating on Google, 5 star rating on DesignMyNight, along with various other accolades and publications such as Bloomberg naming us one of the best bars in the city.

My vision for the future is not only to further grow this 50 capacity bar but also to create a small group of independent hospitality venues across East London. Providing jobs in an increasingly difficult sector, but also providing guests with an affordable escape in venues that are warm, welcoming, positive environments. We are also an accredited London Living Wage employer, paying our staff a liveable wage.

We're looking for a small venue that includes a little kitchen space so we can expand our offering to include food, something not really possible at The Natural Philosopher; however, we need your help to make our dream a reality. We're hoping to raise £75,000+ to do so. This figure includes the initial deposit fees to the landlord, licensing fees, cosmetic work and decor, business rates, equipment purchase, stock purchase, marketing, Crowdfunder fees and a few months wages for our staff to ensure the security and longevity of the venue.

The perfect venue can be hard to find so we're looking at creating a pop-up somewhere first that will help show proof of concept and build a following before we find a more permanent home.

We want to create a warm and welcoming space with a community ambience. A place where everyone through the door becomes a friend. For the bar side of things we want to serve elegant and simple cocktails that transport the drinker to far away places, whilst our kitchen offering would be light, chic, and pair well with the flavours of the drinks. We want to play host to a number of food and drink pairing events featuring guest chefs and bartenders from all over the UK, giving opportunity to rising talent. 

A few things that are incredibly important to me as I move my business forwards are that we increase opportunities for those of diverse and underserved backgrounds. We also want to be in a position to offer our staff partnership in our venues, providing opportunities for people to climb the social ladder in terms of career growth, personal finances and overall life experience. 

With thoughtful menus, conversation and events we'll foster a community of regulars and do a bit of social good with monthly donations to charities.

With your help we'll be able to make this a reality and in return we'll be offering a number of ways to say thank you so you can own your own little slice of East London hospitality.

I wholeheartedly believe in this project and everything we aspire to achieve, and I hope you believe in it too. You can be part of the story by investing today.

Thanks so much!


This project offered rewards

£65 or more

Food & Cocktail Pairing

Our concept involves creating amazing food and cocktail pairings. These pairings will be a set menu for £75pp. You can pre-order your meal and drinks with this donation at £10 off!

£10 or more

£10+ Donation

Free drink on your birthday in the next 24 months. Just show us proof of your donation. Plus every donation receives an invite to the launch of our new venue.

£50 or more

£50+ Donation

As £10+ donation but for 3 years. Plus every donation receives an invite to the launch of our new venue.

£100 or more

£100+ Donation

As 50+ but for 4 years + 5% discount on every visit to our bars for you and a friend. Plus every donation receives an invite to the launch of our new venue.

£500 or more

£500+ Donation

As £100+ donation but for 5 years + 10% discount on each visit for you and a friend + a Natural Philosopher T-shirt + your name engraved on a contributors plaque in our new bar. Plus every donation receives an invite to the launch of our new venue.

£1,000 or more

£1000+ Donation

As £500+ donation but for 6 years + 15% discount on each visit for you and a friend. Plus every donation receives an invite to the launch of our new venue.

£5,000 or more

£5000 Donation

as £1000+ donation + exclusive invites and free drinks at each of our menu launches for you and up to 2 other guests. Plus every donation receives an invite to the launch of our new venue.

£10,000 or more

Platinum Donation

As £5000+ donation + cocktail pouches delivered every Christmas. Plus every donation receives an invite to the launch of our new venue.

Show your support

Payment and personal details are protected