Nov 13, 2018
Strap in and get hydrated ready for a mammoth episode this week with Charlie McVeigh. After a hefty rebuttal of the topics in our Gary Vaynerchuk episode, we simply had to get Charlie on to give his thoughts on the state of the industry and life after being bought by Brewdog.
Charlie McVeigh has been shaping London’s bar, club and restaurant business for 20 years, having created, built and sold five businesses involving over 20 venues in that time.
It all began in 1998 with the launch of Woody’s, London’s equivalent of Studio 54. Like the 1960s, habitués of this legendary London nightclub say if you can remember it you probably weren’t there. Regulars included Kate Moss, Banksy, Jerry Hall and all the glitterati of Notting Hill.
The club was also a financial success and quickly spawned hip neighbouring venues The Bush Bar & Grill and The Grand Union, a retro-boozer for the West London music scene.
Charlie sold all three businesses in 2007 and embarked on the project that would define his career, The Draft House. This was the first pub group in London to really embrace London’s nascent craft beer scene with the Draft House brand coming to promise good food, great beer and real people. The rest is history with the brand eventually growing to 16 pubs under the Draft House name and Charlie becoming a recognised authority on all things beer and pub. This business was sold to brewing giant BrewDog for a reported £16.5m in 2018.
During this hectic period Charlie also found time, in 2008, to launch Le Café Anglais in Bayswater with noted chef and writer Rowley Leigh. This 175-seat restaurant was a radical reimagining of a Paris brasserie of the 1930s.
Having just sold The Draft House, Charlie is focused on developing new concepts and mentoring / investing in growing businesses in the hospitality sector. Having built several businesses during economic downturns he passionately believes that tough times are a good time to launch and grow hospitality operations.
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