London & South East

3 Cromwell Road: appearances can be deceiving

3 Cromwell Road bistro, bar and nightclub - South Kensington

“I said to the clients, ‘look, let’s not create a nice stately home feel, we should go a bit wild on this, as if the parents were away and their wayward teenage sons redecorated with their mates’.” Lead Designer Adrian Abel certainly achieved what he set out to with 3 Cromwell Road.

Opening its doors in late March, 3 Cromwell Road is a new bistro, bar and nightclub spanning three floors of a Georgian Townhouse in South Kensington. That is where convention ends however.

A mounted tiger’s head, AK47, Ken and Barbie dolls in suggestive positions, Mickey Mouse with a shotgun and brothel-esque lighting? An unsuspecting passerby would be astounded by the radical punk interior of this regency building next door to the Venezuelan Embassy and opposite the Natural History Museum.

3 Cromwell Road bistro, bar and nightclub - South Kensington

Speaking to Premier Hospitality, Adrian Abel gave an insight into his London Calling, he said:

“The building itself is a regency building with very high ceilings and very ornate architecture, there are grand stone staircases, wrought iron balustrades, chandeliers and feature fireplaces. You can appreciate all that but it’s very white, very cold and very traditional- in other words, sterile.

“The initial brief from the clients was quite conservative, but I thought as the interior was not listed it would be a great opportunity to really push the boundaries. After seeing my initial designs and hearing my thoughts the clients came on board and as soon as you tell a designer the gloves are off, my mind started racing.”

3 Cromwell Road bistro, bar and nightclub - South Kensington

On the designs, Adrian said:

“We first painted all the walls and ceilings in a grey colour and then overlaid this with a lot of contemporary artwork, which is almost graffiti in style. We have taken classic images and daubed graffiti on them and have also added a number of suggestive neon signs- contrasting nicely with the traditional envelope of the building.

“On the ground floor we have created a brothel style display, with red neon in the chandelier.  Around the edge of the room we have feature LED lighting, making quite a good live entertainment room.

3 Cromwell Road bistro, bar and nightclub - South Kensington

“In the main drawing room which is the most ornate we have a genuine Tiger trophy head on the wall, with a fake AK47 mounted above it on artwork. On either side of that display, we have glass domes housing Barbie and Ken dolls in quite compromising positions and on the wall opposite we have suggestive neon signs and UV reactive paints.

“We also briefed an artist to work with us painting directly onto the walls or creating artwork like the Mickey Mouse with a shotgun image.  We have also got a reclining nude model with a click to enter sign in neon lighting.”

3 Cromwell Road bistro, bar and nightclub - South Kensington

Shocking is perhaps not strong enough a word when considering Adrian’s designs, but it cannot be argued that they are not fresh, thought provoking and fun.  I asked Adrian whether he was worried some aspects may cause offence, he said:

“Yes, you could be offended by this and some people may be taken aback, but we had a great opportunity to be radical in this space and pushing the boundaries was a great experience. Since opening we have had a lot of good feedback.”

3 Cromwell Road bistro, bar and nightclub - South Kensington

Feedback aside, one nude was covered up before opening as it was believed to be pushing the boundaries a bit too far, as Adrian put it: “The clients didn’t want 3 Cromwell Road to come across like Spearmint Rhino.”

Seeing is believing; so for more information or to book a table visit

WFC Contractors

WFC is an award winning fit-out contractor working in the leisure sector, the organisation has a 30 year track record of delivering high quality main contractor and project management services for leading leisure industry brands, from one-off projects through to national roll-outs.

3 Cromwell Road bistro, bar and nightclub - South Kensington

Giving an insight about WFC to Premier Hospitality, Managing Director Steve Howle said:

“The team at WFC believes that its role as a fit-out contractor is to support the objectives of its clients and their designers. WFC is not content with its current reputation as a professional contractor with a personal touch, but is always striving to be the contractor of choice for clients and employees alike.

“WFC has the expertise and resources to complete complex refurbishment and fit-out contracts to a high standard, working with our clients to make the best use of their budgets.  We pride ourselves on our ability to complete fit-outs and refurbishments within challenging timescales.

“Clients include independent and multiple venue operators.  Encompassing clubs, pubs, casinos, health clubs, restaurants, hotels, theatres, bowling alleys and bingo halls – our track record speaks for itself.”

Most recently the firm completed work on the trendy new London bistro come nightclub, 3 Cromwell Road. Speaking about the development, Steve said:

“I was the Contracts Director on that project and organised the development programme. I was delighted to be asked to work on 3 Cromwell Road as it is the third venue that I have worked on with Howard Spooner.”

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