Thanks for all your replies, which were very useful. Nothing still as yet, but we're still pursuing the original building and following up a few other things.
What we thought we might ask after the large number of helpful responses last time, was whether people had any ideas about community support for the project. We're thinking that it might be useful to get some support from groups in the local area so we've been doing a bit of research into residents groups, community groups, chamber of commerce, local council etc. We're approaching various people and have got a good contact at the planning office who has been helpful on various issues, but we were wondering if anyone had any suggestions / contacts for others.
Again, any thoughts appreciated, and we promise to invite you to the opening party!
Can you be more specific? What exactly is your project about and what kind of community support would you expect? I just remember that you asked about possible locations for a restaurant but was not aware of a project..
There is a great site on Tooley Street more or less next door to the Cycle shop 100m or so from London Bridge tube. It used to be a restaurant when I first moved to the area about 4 years ago but shortly afterwards they closed and its been boarded up and derelict ever since.
A friend and I took a look around the site last autumn with a view to try to open a restaurant there ourselves (he has previously been a restaurateur in Chelsea) but sadly the place was in such disrepair, and is subject to a truly appalling lease from Network Rail who own the freehold, we had to ditch the idea.
If it is the same place you have been looking at, good luck! But I should read the lease very carefully!
Edited 1 times. Last edit at 18 July 2005 6.06pm by robbie.
The project is basically a bar / restaurant with an emphasis on high-quality food and drink in an original and relaxing atmosphere. Having both worked in bars / clubs / hotels for years, we're aiming to be more of a bar than a gastropub with a focus on being an independent local venue rather than a 'London' one.
What we're looking for a bit of help with is advice / direction regarding residents groups, community groups, chamber of commerce, local council etc. - we're approaching people ourselves, but thought we might post here again to see if anyone here had any useful contacts to get things moving smoother / quicker!
Phil & Jonathan
PS - Thanks for the tip Robbie, but we checked it out last year - it's been let now to someone.
If you are looking for increasingly upmarket area that is totally unserved by trendy places to go then try Walworth, all around the Walworth Rd. I realise this is not SE1 but it always amazes me that this area is so overlooked by bars. It has the feel of Hoxton before the trendiness arrived, especially East St...even Peckham has gastropubs and designy bars but nothing in Walworth, even though it is so close to semi-posh Kennington.
I'd also echo the opinions by others re Tower Bridge Road, Gt Dover St and the Elephant area - the latter area has so many art students as well as being up and coming and would probably be mobbed.
Northern end of OKR is also up and coming, lots of development but no decent bars at all. But zero cute vibe.
If you will look as far away as SE11 (Kennington) there may be a unit on the ground floor of the old cinema development on the corner of Black Prince Road. Always worth following Pizza Express for their locations - they do their research ruthlessly.
The problem with trendy locations is that they are difficult to make pay - I always thought a modern version of an American Diner would go down well in Kennington (think cheap version of Wolsey) - you would pick up the morning coffee crowd, lunching business people, afternoon tea for the kids and cheap dinner outings - so the turnover per cover would be pretty interesting...
What you need is a mixed office and resi area with a decent number of families to keep up the daytime turnover.