Love and Liquor: Interview with Creative Director Clem Ogbonnaya
This Friday 6th September, Love & liquor celebrates it’s 1st Birthday with an “Animal Kingdom” theme and a DJ Set from Mr. Hudson.
We caught up with creative director Clem Ogbonnaya to discuss the popular cocktail bar’s first year.
Now that Love and Liquor is reaching its first birthday, What have been the highlights of the last year?
It has all been a highlight to be completely honest but the standout moments have to go to be having Idris Elba do a 7 week residency and then come back to smash a carnival after party. London goes crazy for him and we are honored to have him at our venue – and ultimately, they were kick ass parties. Will.i.am randomly turning up with no prior notice was slightly surreal. We’ve now renamed the table he sat on, ‘Boom Boom Pow!’
How did you come to be Creative Director of Love and Liquor?
I had my own PR & Events company in London since ’09 working with New Look, Arcadia, Nike, Blackbery, Tinie Tempah, VV Brown, Selfridges and Next Retailer, to name but a few, so have experience working with corporate clients and generated a great network (and have been partying since I was old enough to tie my own show laces!) The Columbo Group recognized that and, like Gareth Bale, turned my head. Now I’m playing for the best team in bars & clubs in London.
Could you give us a little history of Love and Liquor, where the idea came from and how it came to be?
It’s actually quite funny as we weren’t meant to open as Love & Liquor. We had another name set but due to technicalities we had to change our name. Who better to chose than our friends and fans to help us? We put out a competition on our social media and asked for suggestions for a new name, when we saw ‘Love & Liquor’ there was no contest, the fit was perfect. The vibe of the venue is based on one of our favourite cities in the world, New York City. The dives of Williamsburg, Greenwich Village and Soho were our inspiration.
Has the ethos of Love and Liquor changed since it’s opening? Has the concept evolved as months have gone on?
We were very much a cocktail bar at the beginning and have now evolved to a full on DJ bar with a dance floor and amazing party vibe (with great drinks). Coupled with some of the world’s leading DJ’s and celebrity attendees, we are a great night out for awesome credible music with a stylish and unpretentious crowd
Have you been tempted to open up on other nights of the week other than the weekend?
We have opened on other nights with a few popular Thursdays and Sundays in the past. We are actually starting a new monthly Thursday night with DJ’s from Radio 1xtra hosting. This kicks off Thursday 19th September. Also, the last Sunday of every month ‘House Your Sunday’ stages a Sunday recovery session with awesome house and disco music from some of West London’s strongest up and coming DJ’s. Watch out for a new Thursday night launching in November with female DJ duo Eli & Fur…
If someone is visiting Love and Liquor for the first time, who should they talk to, What should they do and what should they drink?
Well, it helps if you know me? Ha, no seriously, Love & Liquor is open to all who make an effort and want to have a good time. Best to email and get on the guestlist in advance and arrive before 10.30pm to ensure you get in as we get pretty busy after 11pm. As for what to drink, my personal favourite is a Hemingway Daiquiri and a lot of my lady friends go crazy for the Bitchy Cosmo with Babicka vodka, it has the same stuff as Absinthe in it so has an added kick!
How much does the Kilburn vibe effect the bar? Is L&L designed to be part of Kilburn, It’s own separate entity or a mixture of the two?
Love & Liquor’s heart is in West London and the regular support of locals demonstrates that. Sure, on Saturday’s people are willing to travel to us from further afield but we celebrate a lot of local DJ talent as well as worldwide. There aren’t a huge amount of places to go out late in West London so we’ve found our own little niche and it’s great to see familiar faces, week in week out.
Who would be your dream booking to play L&L?
Great question. My dream booking would be to get Kanye West do a guest DJ set off his iPod. I really want to know what music a musical genius like him listens to on a daily basis. One of the reasons I booked Mr Hudson for our 1st birthday party on Friday 6th September is because he’s signed to Kanye’s G.O.O.D Music label and has worked with Kanye closely for the last few years so I know Mr Hudson knows his music too.
How much do you interact with the other Columbo Group bars? Paradise for example?
We are like that dysfunctional set of siblings who have their own identities, are competitive and always trying to do out-do each other but ultimately there is love between us all. Helping each other out where we can.