The Jones Bar Group is rolling out its Roxy Ball Room concept, reports Mark Ludmon. Pictures by Oliver Dixon
After being a hit in Leeds and Liverpool, the Roxy Ball Room has arrived in Huddersfield. The brand, with its combination of ping pong, pool, pizza and cocktails, has become the focus for expansion for The Jones Bar Group. With sites in the pipeline in Manchester and Nottingham, they chose the former home of Forum Café Group’s bar The Picture House in Zetland Street for its third outing. “Being Yorkshire born and bred, we visit Huddersfield regularly on a night out and love how vibrant it is,” explains managing director Matthew Jones who founded the group with brother Ben in 2004. “We believe Roxy Ball Room will fit in perfectly and offer something new to the community.”
Rolling out a brand is something new for The Jones Bar Group whose other one-off venues include Brooklyn Bar and 51% Cocktails & Bourbon in Leeds. Matthew and Ben were inspired by concepts such as ping-pong bar Bounce in London and the All Star Lanes luxury bowling alleys as well as Leeds’ Elbow Room pool bar which closed last year after over 15 years. The first Roxy Ball Room opened in Leeds’ Trinity Square in 2013 and was an immediate success, beating revenue and profit expectations threefold. They opened 10-pin bowling alley Roxy Lanes in nearby Bond Street with the same branding in 2014 followed by a second Roxy Ball Room in Liverpool One in February this year.
Huddersfield had the advantage that the Picture House, formerly a Varsity bar, was last refurbished only a year and a half earlier so it had a kitchen, bar and toilets all in place. To this was added Roxy’s signature industrial and urban vintage interior look, from exposed piping and OSB on the walls to neon lighting and graffiti. “It has a cool warehouse feel that doesn’t look polished which people like,” Matthew says.
As at the other sites, the new Roxy Ball Room offers a good selection of beers on draught as well as an extensive list of classic and original cocktails, developed under the group’s product and service manager Henry Vaughan. The Ping Star Martini, based on the modern classic, is a customer favourite while signature drinks include A Perfect Serve: Luxardo Amaretto and Chambord shaken with cranberry juice and lemon juice plus vanilla syrup, fresh raspberries and rosemary. Food ranges from fresh dough pizzas, with toppings such as cheesesteak and parma ham, through to burgers and desserts.
With this recipe for success in place, The Jones Bar Group has set up a subsidiary Roxy Leisure to steer expansion for the brand. “All our focus now is on Roxy Ball Room,” Matthew says. “It’s clear that we have latched on to a winner there. We have to crack on before anyone else does.”
Roxy Ball Room, 24 Zetland Street, Huddersfield HD1 2RA
Tel: 01484 508200
Pictures of Roxy Ball Room Huddersfield by Contakt Photography.
Behind the scenes
Furniture: Andy Thornton
Lighting: CCS Neon, Dowsing & Reynolds
Graffiti art: Eject
Sound system: Audioserv
Originally published in the August 2016 print edition of Bar magazine.