Venue of the Month: The Top Hat, 213 – 215 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 7PS

A first in a series of London-based venues dedicated to live gameplay, this venue offers guests the opportunity to drink, dine and play all under one roof.

A new and immersive cocktail bar has launched in London’s notorious West End. Inspired by the timeless classic game Monopoly, The Top Hat is a brand-new F&B destination spanning three floors with a 70-cover restaurant and 47-cover cocktail bar. Bringing this all-time favourite to life, The Top Hat offers a live 4D immersive experience across a life-sized board.

Gameplay is included within the drinking and dining experience where guests can order a deck of ‘Monopoly Deal’ and play a quick card version of the game whilst they drink. The gameplay is also intertwined with the venue’s décor as F&B Director Joseph R Smith comments; “I think the London version of the Monopoly board-inspired design of the restaurant, together with a few cheeky elements of play built into the service make us unique and new to the hospitality scene.

“The Monopoly game is iconic and one that everyone across the globe knows and loves, so I like the idea that our guests will already feel familiar and at home with our concept before

they even walk through the doors” Joseph added.

Founded by David Hutchinson in partnership with Hasbro, the story of The Top Hat began three years ago; “We met with Hasbro over 3 years ago, as they’d heard about the work we do within the theatre space and were keen to identify partners who could explore their incredible catalogue of IP.

“The opportunity was exciting for us, firstly as it was bringing together the entertainment sector with gaming – but also because so many of their brands are iconic, such as Monopoly – where there are hundreds of different versions and so much iconography. We hit it off very well – and so embarked on creating Monopoly Lifesized as our first gaming experience in London and The Top Hat – our Monopoly inspired cocktail bar and restaurant”.

Their menu includes some stand-out cocktails including the Trafalgar Square Lychee and Rose Martini, and the Miniature Roast-style rump steak which comes with a miniature Yorkshire pudding and parsnip puree.

For Joseph though, one of his top menu picks is the Marlborough Street Soho Jamtini; “My personal favourites, however, are the London-sourced Charcuterie Selection Board and the Printers Ink South African Pinotage. I’m also a big fan of the Marlborough Street ‘Soho Jamtini’ which is one of our non-alcoholic cocktail serves, but rather than being a traditional mocktail, we’ve crafted the recipe using Aecorn aperitifs (non-alcoholic spirits) and our home-spiced cordials”.

London is synonymous with its array of cocktail bars spread across the capital, but The Top Hat stands out for many reasons. Not only the concept of a boardgame inspired venue, but the décor and design creates a unique atmosphere for guests that will be unforgettable. With a few cheeky elements of play built into the service, this adds to the effect and is something different in the hospitality scene: “I like the idea that our guests will already feel familiar and at home with our concept before they even walk through the doors” comments Joseph.

If you believe in a concept that is strong enough to start with, it is important to work it to its full potential. Focusing on the customer experience and quality of service, training is one of the key elements in achieving a successful status for your bar. For many, design is an important aspect which can give a venue character and charm. With this comes a creative freedom where venue owners are able to bring their project to life.

F&B Director Joseph R Smith also believes that development is essential; “Development is also key. Everything we have listed on our menus is listed for a reason. Every product we serve has a story and an origin that we’re excited to share with our customers.

“For example, our Marlborough Street cocktail is inspired by Soho Forest, so we used blackberry conserves and forest spiced syrups to create the serve. Do many people know that the area of Soho used to be a hunting forest? And that the term ‘SOHO’ comes from the original call that the hunters would use to call off the hunting dogs. We carried out extensive detailed research throughout our development phases to ensure everything has its place”.

Once established, The Top Hat is hoping to expand, opening new locations and venues across the country; “There are so many destinations that have their own themed Monopoly boards, and so we would love the idea of building The Top Hat restaurant and cocktail bar concept with bespoke designs for some of those other fantastic locations”.

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