The Hudson London bar & club set to open in Kilburn

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Recession

The Hudson's interior design is inspired by urban art with exposed brickwork, neon lights and a rustic vibe
The Hudson's interior design is inspired by urban art with exposed brickwork, neon lights and a rustic vibe
The Hudson, a new late-night, New York-inspired cocktail bar and club, is set to open in Kilburn next month on the site of The Westbury bar and pool lounge, which closed in June.

The 500-capacity DJ bar and club is managed by the Columbo Group, which also runs seven other pubs, bars and restaurants in the capital including The Paradise pub in Kensal Green and Blues Kitchen in Camden.

“The idea for The Hudson came from travelling around New York,” Riz Shaikh of the Columbo Group told BigHospitality. “It’s a really inspirational city. It’s the little things they get right; the lighting levels, the music and the ambiance.

“We think The Hudson can deliver an experience to London that is lacking. There’s a real shortage of late-night venues in West London.”

Launching on 7 September, the venue will be open on Fridays and Saturdays, with plans to extend to Thursday through Sunday. The Hudson features a photo booth and dressing up area with monthly changing themes.

A raised VIP area will overlook the bar, beneath a giant neon eye. The space will also showcase a variety of innovative works from London-based artists displayed on light boxes.

Located within The Hudson is a secret room, called The Volstead Library, taking inspiration from the Prohibition era. The Volstead Library can only be accessed by entering a hidden wardrobe located within the bar. Available for private hire, it can be used as a ‘discreet hideaway’ for party revellers.

Reinventing the product

Speaking of the decision to close The Westbury before re-opening the venue, Shaikh said: “The Westbury needed a rebrand because it wasn’t good enough. It became really dated and, rather than just letting it deteriorate, we wanted to reinvent the product; maximise the space and give it more of a uniqueness.

“Now it’s somewhere we can be really proud of.”

The bar will serve an innovative cocktail collection, with unique twists on popular classics created by general manager and mixologist Lynda Whyte. Signature serves include the Smoked Old Fashion, a blend of bourbon, sugar, water and bitters are smoked with cherry wood, as well as the White Lady and Velvet Elvis.

The Columbo Group is also preparing to re-open Islington nightclub XOYO on 14 September. A separate upstairs bar area, Checkpoint Charlie, opens a week after that. The Group is also currently looking to open another Blues Kitchen site in the capital.

Explaining Columbo Group’s ability to grow the business in the midst of the recession, Shaikh added: “Were all self-funded, we don’t have any outside investors for The Hudson.

“The key in the economic downturn is that you have to give more value – that doesn’t mean reducing your price, it means you have to improve your product and if you don’t improve your product you’ll get found out.

“We don’t pay ourselves much money - we use the money that the company makes to reinvest because it’s a long-term game.”

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