Harts Group Launches Five New Sites
Harts Group, the restaurant group behind Barrafina, Quo Vadis and El Pastor have opened several new sites and a wine bar at the new Coal Drops Yard retail quarter in King’s Cross.
Led by Sam and James Hart and Crispin Somerville, the group have opened Barrafina with a corresponding outdoor terrace known as Parrillan; Casa Pastor, a new Mexican big sister to Borough’s El Pastor, with its outside space known as Plaza Pastor and new wine bar and restaurant, The Drop.
Barrafina will have 34 covers with a 60 cover terrace, and a private dining room accommodating 20. Casa Pastor will seat 80 diners and accommodate a further 80 on the terrace and The Drop will have 55 covers inside and 24 outside.
James Hart told Premier Hospitality magazine: “We’ve never opened more than one site on the same day before. We are a small, family run operation but the number of sites we are managing is getting bigger. The sites opened on 26th October apart from the open air terrace at Barrafina. We want to open that next year – even though it will be open all year round, we want to launch it with a bang when the days and evenings are getting longer again.”
Work on the new sites has been undertaken by main contractor Portview alongside architects Andy Martin Architecture and Michaelis Boyd who worked with James on the design of each site.
James added: “Each site is entirely different in look and feel. I am heavily involved in the design of all spaces and one of the things we are very conscious of as we grow, expand and become a bigger business is that it is very easy to roll out the same ideas you had with a previous concept. We have spent an enormous amount of time creating spaces that are fresh, independent and relevant to the site that they are in.
“The identity of each space has evolved not from behind our desks but from a real passion for King’s Cross and the Coal Drops Yard project, our position within it; from taking time to understand what has animated these spaces previously and what we can do to animate them in the future. We are really excited about what we have come up with over the last two years of hard work.”
A former Victorian coal store, Coal Drops Yard was originally a series of warehouses built to handle the eight million tonnes of coal delivered to London each year. The site has been reinvented by the acclaimed Heatherwick Studio, which has combined a striking contemporary design with the surviving grand brick viaducts, rich ironworks and cobbled streets to create a new retail destination for London.
Sam Hart said: “This is an incredibly exciting project for Harts Group. When we saw the site plans we immediately fell in love with Coal Drops Yard and since then have been relentlessly planning how to create amazing places specific to the area.”
Jeremy Hall, Project Director at Argent said: “We are delighted that Harts Group will bring their signature touch to Coal Drops Yard. Already becoming established as a hub for forward-thinking retailers, ranging from fashion to design, the quarter will now play host to one of London’s best culinary offerings, with King’s Cross as a whole now boasting a restaurant line-up to rival Soho and Shoreditch. Coal Drops Yard will be lively both through the day and late into the evening, a real destination for shoppers and foodies alike.”
Coal Drops Yard is located adjacent to Granary Square, near King’s Cross and St Pancras International stations, and forms a key part of the wider regeneration of King’s Cross, confirming the area as an epicentre for fashion, design and the arts.
James added: “We think it is going to be a really dynamic space; different to any of the other retail spaces that have opened up in London. We are expecting the space to engage people in a way that retail spaces have been struggling to in the last few years. Maybe it’s a destination for people who haven’t been represented before. If we can do something amazing alongside and as part of it then that is pretty much job done.”