The 2nd part of our brief Experiences in searching for the right place to call Smoke & Salt home, at least for a few days a month....
Ticketing for events was something that also needed to be managed efficiently and after taking some time to prepare a simple proposal that we shared with several different platforms we decided to go ahead with using GrubClub to manage our ticketing. Liv and her team have been amazing in getting our events out there, as well as giving us ideas about how to build our following. Their recent endeavour, entitled Echo (short for Economy of Hours), is all about helping startups by trading in time and skills rather than paying someone who might have those necessary skills. The team has also been great at connecting previously unacquainted chefs.
After a chance-meeting with a property consultant specialising in restaurants, we spent time online checking out sites like We Are Popup, Appear Here and Hire Space. Sadly, we didn't have much luck with any of these (mostly due to costs being way too high) but felt we were moving forward! Our next stop was checking out London Pop-ups and then GrubClub for currently active popups and what spaces they are using. We developed a small spreadsheet with a list of places to consider, who to contact there and what our most recent interactions with that particular space may have been. The list is by no means comprehensive, but it kept us feeling like we were organised! The list was narrowed down by visits to those that responded to our correspondence where we got a chance to see the spaces themselves. Some were ideal, others were not and we eventually chose Kuriya Keiko as our first event space as it was what we really wanted as far as hire-costs, amount of space available and availability of the space itself.
To date, we have hosted events in the following 3 spaces:
A wonderfully authentic Japanese sushi school and restaurant in Islington. Keiko owns and runs the space as a sushi-school and restaurant during the week. A lovely lady who has now opened her doors to some more popups who are enjoying using her space that, from a design-perspective, is pleasantly neutral with sharing tables and smaller tables for guests to enjoy themselves.
Poppy's Place (Sadly Closed)
We hosted a Thanksgiving Dinner for the US Alumni Club in this space that would run as café during the day, but it really shone at night when plenty of candles really bathed the white-washed walls with a warming glow, especially in the November chill.
When Liv from GrubClub mentioned that she knew of a space in Hackney looking to host some popups and potentially even longer residencies in this space, we snapped it up. The space is a multi-level café during the weekdays then, with help from visuals provided by a projector, it transforms into a bar/club/live-music venue in the evenings.
While our experiences have varied in each space, they've all had their unique draws as well as teething problems (especially on the first day of use!) but everything we do is always about learning, and what better way to learn than to adapt to an environment that you've not used before. Some call this idea being a mercenary chef but for us it's just another day at the office! Any other ideas of great spaces that we have yet to mention? Comment and let us know below. R.