New bar operator acquires Giant Robot for first site

giant robot

Start-up business Ruth & Robinson is set to open its first bar next month after acquiring a site in London from Jonathan Downey’s Rushmore Group.

The company plans to transform the former Giant Robot (pictured) in Clerkenwell Road into a new US-inspired venue with an “outstanding” food and drink offering.

It will be the first of seven bars that Ruth & Robinson intends to open with backing from Imbiba Partnership, which specialises in investing in bars and restaurants in London.

Finance for the first two to three sites is being raised through the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) which offers tax breaks to people investing in small and medium-sized businesses. Further funding will follow.

Ruth & Robinson is led by managing director Paul Garner who was previously operations director of Hawthorn & Hill, which owns the Yorkshire Grey in Clerkenwell.

It is a collaborative initiative with the team behind Colonie bar in Brooklyn, New York City, which was was one of the first-ever crowd-funded restaurant/bars.

Paul said: “The Colonie concept is a populist proposition and it forms an intrinsic part of our brand: collaboration, supporting a local community and developing local, sustainable and meaningful relationships.

“Brooklyn’s official motto is simple: in unity there is strength and I believe that this is at the heart of our offering, to our customers and to our business partners.”

Imbiba Partnership previously helped to set up London bar operator Drake & Morgan. Its current portfolio includes Hawthorn & Hill and bar groups Darwin & Wallace and Camm & Hooper.

The Colonie bistro was opened in 2011 by Tamer Hamawi, Emelie Kihlstrom and Elise Rosenberg with funds raised through the Kickstarter crowd-funding site.

The Rushmore Group opened Giant Robot four years ago in the former site of Match, the legendary cocktail bar that was opened by Rushmore founder Jonathan Downey in 1997.

Downey sold another leading cocktail bar The Player in Soho in May, which has been revamped into Basement Sate by bar entrepreneur Cathleen McGarry.

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