Situated on Horatio Street, East London, Fanny Nelsons is an exciting new cocktail bar that replaces what was formerly known as ‘Nelson’s Head’. Open seven days a week, the bar serves cocktails, local beers, fine wines, mixed drinks and simple but delicious food.
A beautiful 1830s London public house named after Lord Nelson, the refurbishments and re-brand encompasses a unique and distinctive concept on the history of the house and Lord Nelson himself. The bar opened in May this year, and since its opening has received excellent feedback.
Responsible for the design elements of the project at Horatio Street was Entrepreneur, Andy Bird. Andy told Premier Hospitality:
“Reading up on the history of the pub, the area and Lord Nelson, we realised the amazing story of his wife Fanny Nelson – whom in the end he abandoned for a hussy named Emma Hamilton. I figured there were enough bars named after him, so Fanny was our inspiration for the new bar.
“I have spent a lot of time travelling over the last couple of years and there has been a bit of delineation between what is a wine bar, pub and cocktail bar; and what is exciting about London in particular is that everything moves forward very fast and many pubs are upping their game in terms of their food, drink offer, wines etc.
“With Fanny Nelson’s there is the cocktail focus but also the pub feel, and what I wanted to do was bring together great table service, a varied cocktail list, great natural wines and a local beer selection.
“We have created a focus on cocktails but also something homely and comfortable for those who enjoy a pub atmosphere – that influenced the design. I wanted to introduce lots of wood (we have a fantastic carpenter) and we extended the existing bar with a new ash top with a walnut trim on it. I brought some vintage tiles back from Lisbon that we have put behind the bar, vintage lights we got lucky with in a shop just outside Paris, and kept the design simple and functional upstairs.”
For mid-week visits, the space is ideal for casual cocktails whilst socialising with friends, family and colleagues. However at the weekend the venue provides the perfect spot for brunch or a table-for-two dinner in the evenings.
Fascinatingly, there is a secret opium den-style basement reclaimed from the old beer cellar, presenting opulence and extravagance and offering space for 30-40 people. This hidden gem was revealed only a few weeks ago and makes a great location for private parties.
“We fitted a kitchen, reclaimed the original wooden flooring and picked out features within the space, and we found a hidden fireplace with original 1830s tiling which I tried to match with the tiling behind the bar.
“I think this project is very important, alongside the Chesham Arms and a couple of other sites I’m working on as we can be a beacon for local communities trying to save their pubs, turning it around to show that they are viable, sustainable, and a key part of the local area.
“This project was a very well-loved pub as the Nelson’s Head; it had been shut for 18 months before we made a start on the transformation and although we have changed the offer and design, it still remains as a good, honest bar, with reasonable prices and a welcoming atmosphere.”