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Modernised retro in Shoreditch

Shoreditch. Presentation of Temples’ new album ‘Volcano’. The musical spirit of the 60s is all around. The final chord of the evening is a delicious private dining at The Holy Birds bar and restaurant located just 2 minutes walk from Liverpool Street station, and serving poultry and cocktails in the atmosphere of modernised retro. This chic concept was created by brothers Gerry and Jon Calabrese, whereas the cocktail bar menu was created by their father — the legendary bartender and mixologist Salvatore “The Maestro” Calabrese. It is the best site for the guests, who have been greatly enjoying delicious food and drinks in a space that harks back to London’s 1960s art and music scene.

Gerry Calabrese
Gerry Calabrese

This is the first collaboration under the Calabrese House brand where the brothers have worked together with their father who raked his extensive knowledge of the best cocktails of the 60s and added his own Maestro’s twist to many of them. With a focus on the finest wild-farmed poultry The Holy Birds bar offers seasonal menus that celebrates alongside monthly guest birds including chicken, pheasant, pigeon, grouse, guinea fowl, partridge etc. The Holy Birds bar’s open-plan kitchen, with its colossal oven, is an epicentre of a culinary theatre that strengthens guests’ emotional involvement.

Cover story

A concept thought out to the last detail – from the right location and a precisely developed menu to the interior & furniture design and selection of music – is a hallmark of Calabrese family’s business style. Any one of Gerry Calabrese’s projects (Wringer & Mangle, Hoxton Gin, Hoxton Pony etc.) is distinct and always accompanied by a strong story that has inspired him.

“It is important to have strong identity. I think, your identity has to run everything you do: the food, the drinks, and the space,” explains Gerry Calabrese about his life and business principles. He is heavily influenced by music and tries to find one song that would encapsulate the feeling he wants to create in a concept. Not surprisingly, The Holy Birds’ concept came to him after having heard the song White Bird by a San-Francisco band It’s a Beautiful Day from the late 60s. It was rock psychedelia that got Gerry thinking: “White bird…let’s do poultry as the food tag within 60s-styled concept…”

Opposites attract

Unlike many other restaurant operators who come up with a strong idea and then roll out the same idea in multiple places, Gerry is of a different nature. He is not used to initially going into a project with any preconceived ideas. When he finds a space and location, he spends a lot of time thinking over the concept idea. He tries to get inspiration and to develop the concept, which he thinks will work best in a particular location. He likes sites with scale, which potential can be developed to its fullest within a year. This approach was applied for The Holy Birds concept. Over the two floors, it presents itself as a restaurant, bar, lounge and private dining room. The Mule Bar, their ground-floor cocktail lounge, provides late-night refreshments.

Being located (as most Calabrese Holdings’ concepts) in East London, The Holy Birds connects two opposite worlds – creative heart of Shoreditch and the financial centre of the City.  “I think really it is a good representation of everything which is great about London. You know, those two things – London’s creativity and its attitude for business and finance. These two things seem diametrically opposed, but I find the best bars appeal to different audiences and appeal to different people. I like to bring them together. I just love East London. It is where I want to be. It is where I am from, and where I want to do things,” Gerry says.

Kate Goldfinch,

The FinTech Times

The full article will be published in spring edition of Disrupts magazine

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