Ku Bar and the Ku Lounge in Lisle Street will be reopening this Saturday 4th July so we caught up with the owner of the Ku Group Gary Henshaw and Ku’s PR & Host Manager Stefanos Dimoulas to answer all your questions about the grand reopening.
We know there is a lot of uncertainty at the moment about what the regulations around social distancing will be. Everybody is hoping for a workable solution. Is there anything you‘d like to say generally about the current situation and how it has been handled?
These current times we are experiencingan exceptionally challenging trading period across the hospitality sector as a whole in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic not just in London but also around the world.
We are constantly waiting for new government’s guidance and always complying with the new regulations. We have been active as a team, working hard on changes, training and updating as well as making sure our staff is safe and well. But one thing’s for sure, hygiene and ‘slowing the spread’ is at the forefront of ours, our staff’s and our customers’ minds.
We have full confidence that our clientele and the LGBTQ+ community will support our venues, something that really means the world to us, especially during these unprecedented times.
You’re opening on Saturday 4th July, what special measures have you put in place?
We’re already open for take-out drinks but officially opening our doors and sitting areas on 4th July, subject to government confirmations with the safety of our customers and staff as our priority. We are staying social while distancing!
♦ We have sterilised the whole venue with the use of our professional cleaning company.
♦ We have installed social distance screens to maximise the safety between the customers and our bartenders.
♦ We also provide skin-friendly hand sanitisers that effectively kill viruses and bacteria, in appropriate places around our venues, such as on entry, toilets, and bars.
♦ We have put in place a one-way system for people entering/exiting the venues and have a new toilet system to maximise social distancing.
♦ Our staff has been constantly informed and trained for cleaning procedures (sanitising our tables, hand washing every 20 minutes etc).
We really hope our visitors appreciate the extra level of safety we are offering. We want our customers to be safe and feel reassured and confident during their visit.
What parts of the venue will be open and what are your future plans for the other venues?
For the time being and whilst waiting on confirmations and more guidelines by the government, we are very happy to be opening the ground floor and the first floor of 30 Lisle Street, the Ku Bar and the Ku Lounge. Our unique terrace has been extended and makes the best space to enjoy our drinks al fresco and adhere to the social distancing guidelines.
Our future plans are yet again subject to the governmental updates. To share some more insights of our behind the scenes work during these past weeks, we are aiming to put a plan in place to open all our venues as soon as possible but also have our Little Ku and SHE Soho up and running subject to the results of the Soho Summer Festival which we totally support.
What changes to the venue have you made?
We have been exclusively focusing on getting all the essential hygiene measures for our hospitality businesses for a post-COVID-19 reopening in place. Nevertheless, we couldn’t help but decide on giving a few aesthetic touches in the venues. We believe it is essential so that we can lift both ours and our customers’ spirits up! We have freshened the space up with new decorative touches and have also painted our first floor, the Ku Lounge.
What will your opening hours be?
The opening times until 3rd July are:
From 4th July onwards they go back to normal (but sorry no KLUB):
You’re taking bookings now Stefanos, what will your capacity be?
Yet again we are waiting on governmental guidelines for the exact numbers to be confirmed but there will be a limited number of customers.
How can people book?
We’re taking bookings for Saturday 4th July onwards, but of course this is dependent on governmental guidelines. Our booking system has always been operating in our venues and we are thrilled to have a new bookings plan in place very, very soon.
For now we encourage all our customers to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to secure their space. There is a £20 table pre-authentication fee – only chargeable if not showing up.
We are launching our mobile app ‘KU GROUP’ very soon which will be the best way not only to order but to earn rewards! Simple and efficient, contactless ordering will minimise direct contact between our staff and customers but also will allow the customers to order and pay using their phone from their table.
What delights will you be serving up?
We have upgraded our Cocktail menu in the Ku Lounge with 15 cocktails available (or specifically tailored to our customers’ needs by our experienced team of mixologists). We have also put in place a brand new cocktail selection on our ground floor of Ku Bar.
We have introduced a take-out service giving all the freedom to customers to enjoy the summer in central London with a cocktail in hand.
Finally Gary, what message would you like to send to your many loyal Ku customers?
Your support means the world to us.
As an industry, we need to do all we can to get it right, and working together is undoubtedly the way forward. We want to let our customers know that they are not alone. We are all in this together and we are devoted to making people’s lives happier by providing a safe and friendly space.
June is our community’s annual tribute to those involved in the Stonewall Riots, our Pride month, and although is celebrated a little differently this year, that doesn’t mean that our voices and actions need to go quiet. Let us remember why we celebrate Pride.
We will get through this all together and we will come out the other side. We have, and will continue to work hard ensuring that all Ku venues will reopen and London will party like never before.
Ku Bar and the Ku Lounge, 30 Lisle Street, London WC2.
Ku main photos by Joel Ryder. Photo of Gary Henshaw by ChrisJepson.com