Cocktails are like a present you give to yourself.
We love cocktails, and we’re spoilt for choice here in Liverpool. Between new bars opening up to the sheer delight of cocktail enthusiasts, and our old favourites celebrating landmark birthdays, the independent cocktail scene in Liverpool is very, very strong. And very, very tasty. With so much choice (not that we’re complaining, variety is, after all, the spice of life), often it is a struggle to know just where to go to enjoy your next tipple. If you’re facing the same cocktail-quaffing dilemma, we might just have solved it as we’ve got wind of a new cocktail bar named “Present Company” guaranteed to blow your socks off.
We caught up with the guys behind it Jake O’Brien Murphy and Simon Thompson:
Tell us all about the bar – where will it be, what can people expect?
Present Company is our first full venue. It’s what used to be the “Hole In The Wall” cafe on School Lane, which sadly shut down over a year ago. We feel really privileged to be able to keep a city centre venue in the hands of an independent business. That part of the city is really thriving with L1 and the Bluecoat as neighbours on one side and the Ropewalks on the other. Being able to open in the area is really a blessing, we’ve already had so many local independent businesses offer help and advice.
We’re committed to our guests experience. No one ever goes out to have a bad time! It’s the one thing that we constantly come back to; in every discussion we’ve had since we first decided to open a bar together, back in 2016, to the decisions we are making today. I grew up in Liverpool’s hospitality scene, it’s always had a special place in my heart and I always wanted to open my own venue here. Simon spent time running the bars at the Hilton Hotel a few years back and experienced the Liverpool hospitality scene for himself. We both knew it had to be in Liverpool, it is the common thread that brought us together as business partners. The city has a wonderful sense of pride and belonging that is like nowhere else. People here really support their local business. For us that means everything, we want to be a part of something people can be proud of.
what kind of drinks can people expect?
We value accessibility and deliciousness over complicated drinks and silly garnishes. A lot of what we do is in the background. We have had the luxury of working with some of the most talented people in the drinks industry, learning along the way. We use a lot of modern techniques we have picked up from them. For example we have a series of bottled cocktails. We will be making, bottling and carbonating on site which can get a little technical at points and a bit boring, but the most important thing is they are delicious! To put it simply, you can have the best meal of your life and never have to know how hot the oven was.
tell us a bit about what you’ve been doing last few years which led to this?
Mostly working! We both worked together in Callooh Callay in East London, where Simon was the General Manager and I worked as a Bartender. That was really where we realised we had a lot in common in our views of hospitality. Callooh was a really wonderful place, we had an amazing team who really exemplified that a great bar is down to great people with a shared goal. We both left in the October of 2017, opening a pop up bar called Horatio Street Social Club just off of Hackney Road. The pop up was a really steep learning curve. One thing we took away from it was that people value real interactions. We didn’t have the might of an award winning cocktail bar like Callooh Callay behind us anymore, so we were out on our own. Thankfully people kept coming, it was really rewarding. We closed Horatio Street to pursue a permanent venue in Liverpool. Which took a lot longer than we expected. In the interim, Simon worked as a management consultant for various bars in London and I went to work with the team at Three Sheets and their sister venue Bar Three. Now we are back in Liverpool and finally we can put all of our plans into action.
when will you be open?
Spring! That’s all we’re saying.