This has been a challenging year for all of us. Lets hope 2021 is a better one. For now, lets start at the beginning - and we will make it as brief as possible.
In September 2019 we set up our company to manage and run a cocktail bar within a street food market in the depths of East London - on the border of Essex. We invested the little money we had at the time into the project, with the intention of remaining within the building for at least 1 year. We put in a lot of time and effort in to getting the project off the ground. Located in a quiet, suburban area of London, the bar we created had more of the feel of a Central London type venue, without the price tag. We brought members of the community into our bar, and they started forming long lasting friendships and relationships (many of these people we still keep in touch with today).
[ in our previous bar with a couple of the locals at our themed prohibition night ]
[ cocktail making classes with local customers at the old bar ]
Fast forward to January 2020, and whilst Ant (the other owner here at Ten to One) was on his once in a lifetime road trip of America, I received a notice from the Landlord to vacate the premises with 2 weeks notice. The timing was impeccable on his part, and it was obvious that the eviction was calculated and planned. They wanted to take over the venue for themselves after noticing we were making some profit. However, after a legal battle which ensued, we were able to stay - rightly so - to wind down our stock until the end of February 2020 - much to their disdain.
We vacated the premises on the 1st March 2020 with no idea of what to do next. We did, however, have a small sum of money left over, which was just enough for a small deposit of some kind. This is when we saw 276 Phillip Lane.
I believe we had our first viewing of the property in early March, it was also the first and only property that we saw after leaving our previous bar - and we both had a good feeling about it. We put down literally our last penny on the deposit, and signed the lease starting on the 1st April. I was born in Hackney, and Ant in Tottenham, and I don't think either of us thought we would be able to own our own venue so close to home. There are too many things stacked against you, and not enough access to help or support available.
[ the venue on the first day of viewing ]
Then, the first Coronavirus lockdown hit. Whilst the world stopped moving, we were able to access a limited amount of funds, and continue on with our dream of renovating the old William Hill betting shop into a speakeasy type cocktail bar and restaurant. This money soon ran out and we had to ask family and friends for some loans which we are eternally grateful for. By some luck, my other business Miloko had been up for sale for some months, and just when we needed it most, i sold that business for another cash injection. The timing could not have been better.
[ very early days ]
Apart from the electrics and the plumbing, the entirety of the build was completed by us - and the help of some friends. We took every piece of rubbish to the dump ourselves, knocked down every wall ourselves, built the kitchen ourselves, built and tiled the toilet cubicles ourselves, build the bar ourselves, insulated and plaster boarded the entire footprint of the ceiling of the venue, ourselves... It was a lot. And there were points in which we thought we had bitten off more than we could chew.
[ laying the base for the kitchen extension ]
We worked for 5 months straight converting the building into something special and unique within the community of Haringey. For anyone that knows our story, they would be able to tell the massive hurdles we managed to overcome. By some amazing twist of fate, the universe was on our side, and just when we thought we may not be able to cross the finish line, there was always something else in our favour that managed to present itself and get us to completion.
Then, after 2 months trading, and when we were just starting to get off the ground, the second lockdown hit. We continued this time through the Tier 2 lockdown by delivering cocktail packages to local residents and customers. There was something special about this service, and we could tell that our customers were very appreciative of the deliveries when they were locked in their own home. Then we opened again at the end of November... for 2 weeks.
[ lockdown delivery cocktails - bottled and labelled by hand ]
Now, we are closed until this Government issues us with more 'advice'. For those that have been to Ten to One, they can vouch for our enthusiasm for the project, and the lengths we go to to make sure our customers are looked after, engaged and genuinely cared about when they are within our 4 walls - and beyond. We don't want this journey to end before it has begun.
[ the small amount of stock we started with ]
We are not asking for a lot - just enough to keep us afloat and cover rent and fixed overheads for 1 month, until we can figure out what is going to happen in the new year. We have big plans for this bar, such as live music, art exhibitions, community events and much more! Unfortunately, we haven't been able to pursue any of these in the current climate. Donations of any kind are more than appreciated, and we will never be able to say thank you enough to the kind people who decide to help out our business, passion project and neighbourhood venue. If we go above and beyond our first target, we will really be able to achieve some special changes in time for your return :)
[ our bar :) ]