London cocktail bar chain ready to mix it in Bristol’s burgeoning bar scene

February 7, 2014

Fast-growing London-based cocktail bar group Be At One, which is backed by Piper Equity, is to open an outlet in Bristol – its 22nd venue and third outside the capital.

The bar, in a unit on the Clifton Triangle formerly occupied by Hermanos, will open on February 26 and serve more than 200 cocktails made by trained bar staff. It has created eight full-time jobs. It is the latest upmarket bar to open in Bristol as small national groups and independent operators increasingly view the city as a strong location.

Be At One was founded in 1998 by former bartenders Steve Lock, Rhys Oldfield and Leigh Miller, who had earlier worked together at restaurant chain TGI Fridays. The first bar was in Battersea, South London.

In 2011 it secured an £8m investment from private equity firm Piper Equity to fund a nationwide roll-out. It opened its first bar outside London last year when it launched the Reading Be At One. Its second outside the capital is in Brighton.

Piper has backed a number of Bristol-linked restaurant and bar chains including Las Iguanas, Turtle Bay and Loungers.

As part of the Piper investment, which gave the equity firm a ‘significant’ minority stake in the business, Be At One appointed Andrew Stones as operations director. Andrew previously worked at Whitbread, Wetherspoons and Pizza Hut. Mark Derry of restaurant chains Loch Fyne and Brasserie Blanc joined as chairman.

Andrew Stones said: “Bristol is a city that is close to the hearts of many of the people who work at Be At One.

“One of our founders grew up here, I myself went to Bristol Grammar School and our finance director went to university here.

“We are incredibly excited about opening in Bristol because there is already such a great cocktail culture here which we really feel we can contribute to.”

Be At One says it only employs full-time staff who have “great personalities and a passion for excellent service”. Staff are comprehensively trained for eight weeks at a cost of £5,000 to make them ‘world-class’ bartenders.

“The programme consists of learning more than 200 cocktails, liquor knowledge, free-pouring, multiple order-taking and serving great-quality cocktails in a high-volume, high-pressure environment”, it says.

Be At One is due to open its fourth branch outside London in Milton Keynes in March.



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