Introducing Roisin and Edmund the powerhouse couple behind London’s most acclaimed cocktail bars.

We caught up with Roisin Stimpson and Edmund Weil, the husband and wife team behind a string of internationally acclaimed cocktail bars in London; which also host live vintage popular music: Nightjar, Oriole and Swift.

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Tell us what Nightjar, Oriole and Swift are and what the businesses offer?

My husband and I own Speakeasy Entertainment, a hospitality company that encompasses three cocktail bars; Nightjar, Oriole and Swift. 

We pride ourselves on providing the very best service alongside excellent food and drinks.  Nightjar was our first bar, which we launched in 2010.  It was one of the first ‘speakeasy’ style cocktail bars of its time and became popular amongst the international drinks industry thanks to our fantastic team. 

We launched Oriole in 2015, another subterranean bar that echoed the glamour of the 1940s with an eclectic design.

Both bars serve well-considered cocktail lists and play host to live vintage popular music on their stages. 

We launched Swift in 2016 in partnership with another husband and wife team, Mia Johansson and Bobby Hiddleston.  Based in Soho, it’s a two-level cocktail bar offering two different drinking experiences.  On the ground floor, is an informal aperitif style bar whilst down the stairs lies a cosy cocktail bar with an incredible collection of whisky.

I’m proud to say that all of our bars have won numerous awards voted for both by the consumer and our industry peers.  They’ve also all featured regularly in the World’s 50 Best Bar Awards since their respective launches with Nightjar peaking at number 2 in the list.

 

What was it that inspired you to set-up your own business?

My husband Edmund and I met at university and dreamt of opening a bar that would be the perfect set for early Jazz music. The idea of Nightjar began there.

 

Do you think an Entrepreneur ISA and a Small Business Savings Allowance would have helped aid your company’s growth in the early stages?

Any financial help would be welcome when starting a new business. There is very little support for self-employed people otherwise.

 

What have been the biggest challenges you have faced so far?

Mainly learning how to deal effectively with people – customers, staff, managers, suppliers, press. In addition, the nail-biting moments when the business is just bumping along and you wonder whether you’ll make payments.

 

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Have a clear idea of what you aim to do and make sure to communicate it properly to everyone you meet. People need clarity about what you’re selling. Be straightforward and honest in all your dealings. The company will take on your personality so behave in the way you expect others to behave.

 

What is your proudest achievement to date as a company?

All the drinks, music and fun we’ve put on, the jobs and people development we’ve made possible, and doing it all alongside each other while growing a young family. 

Edmund and Roisin Simpson are the founders of barnightjar.com oriolebar.com and barswift.com

 

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