The second Honky Tonk restaurant was opened in August 2013 following a four month renovation project in Clapham Common.
The venue has gone down a storm in West London providing diners and drinkers alike with an American-inspired menu and environment which is rapidly becoming the destination of choice in Clapham.
With venues in Clapham and Chelsea both Honky Tonk’s serve up an array of all-American dishes, with touches of Italian and deli-inspired food. Favourites include Beef or Pork Ribs, burgers and their signature ‘not fried chicken’ are served alongside smaller plates such as Meatballs, Crab Cakes and Cobb Salad.
Premier Hospitality caught up with Laurence Davies, Managing Director of L J Davies graphic interior designer and brand consultant, to find out more about the project. Laurence told us that he became involved with the first Honky Tonk in Chelsea after brand co-owner Mark Cutler requested his assistance:
“Mark liked our energy, enthusiasm and originality and things progressed from there. The first Honky Tonk opened in September 2012 and we opened the Clapham Common one in August last year. We began works on the second venue in May 2013; the building used to be an Australian bar called the underdog. It was in a bit of a state when we first got in there so we stripped it out, apart from the bar which we retained in the same location.
“We took out all of the existing banquette seating and threw away all of the other furniture, as well as ripped down all of the paintings. We took it right back to a blank canvas.”
The venue has now been transformed into a 150 cover restaurant; the main restaurant space is located on the ground floor and the kitchen, toilets, and Honky Tonk offices are situated on the first floor. L J Davies was assisted by Leisure Projects, who acted as the main contractor, in renovating the space.
The team installed a number of walls that were given the illusion of brick by being covered in three centimetre brick tiling which gave the space an industrial feel. The existing wood floor was retained and the black and white tiles were installed in the VIP booth area, which is slightly elevated from the rest of the restaurant.
Lighting conduits with exposed light bulbs have been installed throughout Honky Tonk and are suspended via vintage fabric cables. New brown leather banquette a seating has also been installed and a steel scaffold divide between the bar area and the restaurant has been erected. A lot of the venues tables are also constructed of the same scaffolding poles, again adding to the industrial feel of the space.
“I want people to feel comfortable in any space I design and so I use natural strong materials such as leather, wood and metal. The venue gets very busy and so we want people to feel like they can have a good time and nothing is going to break.”
The venue also boasts a quirky VIP area at its rear which can be entered via a large wardrobe full of ‘fur’ coats which guests can wear during the winter month. The VIP area is aptly entitled ‘Narnia’ and adds an air of adventure and theatre to the Honky Tonk experience.
The venue also features an old concertina lift door, akin to those found in New York apartment blocks, which can be opened and closed depending on whether the VIP area is being privately hired out. The outside of the venue has been painted completely black and a large neon sign has been fixed outside meaning Honky Tonk is very hard to miss.
Laurence said the feedback has been great since the Clapham Common venue was unveiled, he feels this is thanks to the fact that honky Tonk differ from other American grill restaurants. They offer an all-American menu as well as craft beers, great cocktails, an American wine list and a late night bar and club experience which cannot be found in other venues.
“We offer a one stop shop for restaurant and bar owners which is quite unique in the design industry as we provide building, design and interior services as well as creating the graphics and brand concepts for venues which is what I do for Honky Tonk.
“It is great to be involved with such an ambitious, young, and exciting bar concept and I hope to be involved in the future. The thing I like about Honky Tonk is that they aren’t scared to break the mould; they do things differently and I can see this concept going far.”