Ku Bar has gone from strength to strength this year and one of the driving forces behind it is PR manager Nieko, who also went on a journey of self-discovery to Southeast Asia earlier this year. Here he explains what he’s learnt this year and what to expect from his favourite bar chain next year.
Hi Nieko, how has 2017 been for Ku Bar?
Jeez, has it been another year already? What can I say? It’s been another unforgettable, momentous and record-breaking year for Ku Group. Many of our annual events (birthdays, World AIDS Day, bank holidays, Pride), were taken to another level by our customers. We celebrated the latest refurbishment of the group, Ku Soho, which has set a standard across all the group that we’re very proud of. It’s been busy, our customers remain so wonderfully supportive and loyal, and the Ku family are a gem. There’s a lot to be proud of, and we certainly are.
And for you personally it’s been a bit of a different year, hasn’t it?
It has been! Other than a holiday here and there, I’ve worked every weekend since turning 18 behind a bar, on a bar, or strutting down a bar!
So I decided to have a three month ‘soul-searching’ break in Asia, to actually appreciate more what our community is. When you’re
always surrounded by the amazing venues we have, it’s easy to forget what it took to get here as a community.
How was your travel adventure?
It was refreshing and eye-opening. I spent a lot of time investigating the LGBT+ situation in Southeast Asia, finding out how difficult it is for people to be out, or even have the opportunity to find who they are. HIV infection rates in Indonesia is alarming, with 1 in 4 gay men infected with HIV but too scared to seek treatment. It’s given me the drive to try and do something about it, especially with the wonderful services we have on our doorstep. It was lovely to see the bravery of LGBT people in Southeast Asia, but amazing to appreciate what we have here.
Did it give you a new perspective on things?
It was a reminder that not only should we appreciate everything we have in life, but to also not stop making a difference. To leave our mark, to help those that cannot help themselves. At the end of the day, the world is about people and people should always be our focus.
What can we expect from you in 2018?
Well, I’m planning bigger outfits than ever! I’m just planning what I hope will be Ku’s sexiest campaigns ever and I’ve actually got myself into a new fitness regime, so I may actually slip into the role of a Ku Bar boy this time round.
And what can we expect from the Ku Group?
Five more venues, but don’t tell anyone! I joke. Ku Group is at such an idyllic place at the moment; we have five very different venues that are at the top of their game, which continue to focus on customers and how best to serve the scene, and that is what we will continue to do. You can forever expect the Ku Bar boys to be topless, our fabulous weekend host Stefanos to be wearing something daring, and Gary to offer you bubbly at the end of the bar with me pulling my heels out of a crack in the wood somewhere. We have many events coming up, but ultimately Ku Group will continue to serve the LGBT+ community of London, with it’s testament: ‘A passion to serve.’