Ruby’s Lounge and Bistro
Ruby’s Lounge and Bistro, located in the former Town House in New Street, Jersey, fuses fine dining with a cabaret feel. Diners can expect live dancing, preforming waiters and waitresses and musical entertainment alongside bespoke cocktails and à la carte dining.
Premier Construction: Channel Islands spoke with owner Tonicha Lawrence about Ruby’s Lounge and Bistro to find out more about the restaurant.
How did this project come about?
“My background is completely entertainment so acting, singing and musical theatre is what I trained in but growing up, my dad ran restaurants and worked in hospitality so I have always been around the business. I then did a show about five years ago and we decided to do a nice dinner and made it real cabaret style. The show sold out in half an hour so I knew there were some legs in the concept and I thought it would be really nice to have this place where you can entertain people alongside good food. When I moved back to Jersey after over 20 years in the UK, I decided to give it a go! I called it Ruby’s because that was the name of my show and I wanted to pay homage to that show which kick-started the whole idea.”
To someone who has never been before, how would you describe Ruby’s?
“It is a theatre/cabaret bar and restaurant. We have British modern food with local ingredients from Jersey. The building is from the 1930s so I was keen to be fair to the building and have taken it back to a Gatsby style, prohibition era. On a Friday and a Saturday night we do a 45 minute show which is different every single week, based on different themes. People just pile in and sit wherever they can to watch it and dance to the music. That is what I wanted – I wanted somewhere that people could come for a nice meal and then they could get up, dance and enjoy themselves without having to go to several different places in one night.”
Can you guide us around the space?
“The whole place is split into three or four areas. There is a room at the back which is called The Naughty Room and that is my Al Capone room. It is very dark and red with round tables, lamps, Al Capone quotes on the walls and is a place where people can just go and hide away or sit with friends and share starters. We have The Giggle Room which is the Champagne Room because Champagne used to be called Giggle Water back then. We have the main restaurant with a cocktail bar, The Library which goes into the Boardroom and that is a private dining area and then The Family Area which is full of black booths with a very theatrical feeling.”
What has the feedback been like since you opened?
“Feedback has been amazing. It is really important that whatever we hear, we listen to because what we think might be great, but someone else might think differently. We have listened to what people have said and if they have suggested changing something, we have done that. These people come in and essentially pay the bills so we have to listen but it has been very positive so far and hopefully it stays that way!”
Are there plans to roll the concept out or is this a one-off project for you?
“I think Ruby’s will be a one-off. I think there can only be one of anything in Jersey because you have the market. My son wants to do a branch of Ruby’s but a different concept – something like a cocktail bar. I am always going to be doing something to do with this concept and I already have ideas so I don’t think I will be able to sit down, do nothing and leave this is as a one-off.”
How important is this project for you?
“It is everything. All of my life savings went into this so everything I ever worked for has gone into it. But it is also important because I am developing new talent with the performers that we use. It is also a big bow down to my dad who spent his whole life in hospitality and brought us up in that industry. It is full of sentimental things whilst making money for the economy and providing jobs for the local area.”