He has opened The Cuban on Bristol’s Harbourside, near Millennium Square, specialising in Cuban cuisine, cocktails and rum, with more than 150 different rums behind the bar (pictured).
Roger, whose other ventures include Shaka Zulu in Camden in north London, opened The Cuban in Camden in 2004. He has a long track record in the hospitality sector, such as former nightclub Sound in London’s West End.
The Cuban in Bristol is the first in a new roll-out programme, with plans to develop the brand in more cities around the UK in 2014 and 2015.
The 12,000 sq ft venue in Bristol features lounge areas and booth and will host Jongleurs Comedy Club every Friday and Saturday in a 280-seater cabaret and events space.
There will also be Bodega Bar theme nights as well as live in-house bands and resident DJs playing Latin-style rhythms. Regular customers can benefit from the Cuban Reward Club loyalty scheme.
The Cuban, in the former premises of Hooters bar, was officially launched on November 7 by the city’s Lord Mayor, Faruk Choudhury.
Roger said: “It has the same look and feel as our well-established and famous counterpart in London’s Camden Market, where custom runs to over half a million diners a year, proving the immense popularity of our growing brand.”
As well as stocking over 150 rums, the bar offers over 50 cocktails from classics such as Mojitos and a Cuba Libra to other cocktails developed under bar manager Tony Safqui. Cocktails include Che’s Revolution, mixing mandarin-flavoured vodka with muddled kumquats, natural honey, lemon juice and sugar.
The kitchen is run by head chef David Parra Galvis, serving up tapas-style dishes, a grill menu and other Cuban food.
“The main focus with The Cuban in Bristol will be its cuisine,” Roger said. “Cuban cooking is one of the most diverse in the world, taking its exotic influences from its birthplace in Cuba, the Caribbean, Africa, Brazil, Spain, China and Portugal.
“Not many people know that there are two very distinct styles of cooking: the ‘classic’ method which has been around for centuries on the island of Cuba, and then there is ‘Nueva Cubano’ which brings in influences from all over the world.
“All in all, seven nights a week, The Cuban will be a wonderful addition to dining and entertainment on Bristol’s Harbourside – with salsa lessons into the bargain.”
Roger previously sold two other sites for The Cuban in Canterbury in Kent and in Moorgate in the City of London.