An Irish duo behind the fourth best cocktail bar in the world have opened their second site in Battersea.
Homeboy Bar has pioneered modern Irish hospitality in Islington for two years and looks to continue the same thread of success with the latest venture in Embassy Gardens.
The founders, Aaron Wall, 37, the former manager of Callooh Callay in Shoreditch and Ciarán Smith, 28, who trained staff at 5-star hotels around world including the Dorchester, met over ten years ago in Dublin.
Mr Wall said: “There’s fantastic hospitality in Ireland that really comes from the heart.
“We want to be known for our hospitality, for great drinks, great food and creating memorable moments for our guests.
“Imagine what it’d be like to put that warmth that we have in Ireland, but in London.
“We pair that with our skills and knowledge, it’s been nominated as one of the best bars in the world.”
The pair always dreamed of running their own business and after a chance encounter led the friends to working together one evening, fate gifted them an opportunity to create a bar that quickly gained critical acclaim and cult following.
Mr Smith said: “We are known for our cocktails, but if you google the best pint of Guinness in London, we come up.
“We’d like to think we’re seeing the genius of simplicity, that if look after your guests, they’ll look after you.
“Genuine care breeds genuine results.”
With warm service at the heart of their operation, the moody atmosphere inside heavily nods to a timeless era of casual dining.
In 2020 Homeboy Bar was crowed top ten best international cocktail in Europe by The Spirited Awards with one drink in particular turning heads called The Wogan.
Mr Wall said: “It’s Irish whiskey that’s been finished in Rome that has a little flavour note of apricot.
“We parallel with apricot in the cure, some lime, sugar, a little bit of salt.
“It just marries together, named after Terry Wogan because it’s also dry and elegant.”
Their accessible menu has been a success with customers and their ever-growing social media presence on instagram.
Mr Wall said: “We have some something for everyone.
“People are posting a lot of our doghouse punch, which is a twist on a fisherman’s punch with Bacardi and Hennessy VS, we serve it in our own homeboy Irish terrier dog.
“We even have a little twist on a Cosmo called sex advice.”
During the pandemic the two Dubliners saw an opportunity to evolve and grow.
Mr Wall said: “We both remember the recession in Ireland in the late noughties.
“The bars that survive are the bars that work twice as hard to make the same amount of money.
“After the first lockdown we added to our business and invested in kitchen equipment.
“We normally did live music on Sundays so we started on Thursdays as well, you need give the people a reason to leave the house.”
The aptly named Southsider bar in Battersea is now open for al-fresco dining on an 85-seat terrace.
Mr Smith said: “Embassy Gardens is very much an up-and-coming area, we want to create a social hub for guests and the community.
“The pandemic has shown us that central is not always a viable option for everybody, what you’re going to start seeing is these hubs popping up.”
Mr Wall said: “We really want to expand modern Irish hospitality and expanding means opening more Homeboys.
“We like the idea that everyone’s welcome, so we have one on the north side of the river and now one on the south side.”
Homeboy Bar in Embassy Gardens will be open their indoor 140-cover restaurant for bookings from 17 May.
Headline image credit: Lateef Okunnu of lateefokunnustudio.com