For people who haven't been to Heads & Tails could you give a quick summary of the bar?
We are a late-night neighbourhood bar in West Hampstead, London with a strong focus on cocktails. We would like to think people know us for our hospitality and great drinks.
We have a large garden where you can enjoy a spritz in the summer, a basement bar you can enjoy a whisky or two whilst the ground floor serves up tap beer, cocktails or a glass of wine, whatever people feel like.
Currently the doors are closed and we are offering our range of bottled cocktails for delivery. We can't provide hospitality here, so we’re trying to make sure you can enjoy some of it at home instead.
What has been your approach to take away cocktails?
We wanted to keep that sense of familiarity that people associate picking up a takeaway meal or delivery. If you order locally through our website shop you receive a bottle of cocktail, a container of ice and garnishes, similar to how you might receive a takeaway meal and so you can assemble your own drink the way you would a meal.There is that ritual of assembly and ice is such an important thing we felt it was important that it came with all our drinks.
Which other cocktails at home would you recommend?
I've just tried the range from a great bar called Little Mercies, they have a Snickers Old Fashioned which is absolutely delicious!
And how do you feel the bars have been treated since the onset of Covid-19?
This pandemic has highlighted that the current licensing act and the government don't really understand businesses like ours. We aren't a restaurant but we do food, we are open late but we are not a club and we don't fall anywhere close to the pub category. We make most of our money after 10pm and so the curfew was a disaster for us and a lot of our friends in the business.
After the first lockdown we invested a lot to make our venue safe, we operated at 30% of our capacity to keep guests and staff safe, we paid to remove some of our fixed furnishings to create more space and when the curfew came, the frustrating truth is that it would have been cheaper to simply shut the doors. Why a venue is safer because it serves up food is nonsensical, I hope this acts as a catalyst for our part of the night-time economy to become better represented within the government.
The way people drink today is moving faster than the legislation that supposedly exists to protect it, for everyone’s benefit its time to examine that and update it.
Any silver linings from the last year?
I'm really proud to say we have kept the whole team together and actually added another member which is a great thing to be able to say following the year we've had.
We have also created a brand new business from scratch which is viable in its own right. It's good to see how far we've come since we served our first bottled cocktails less than a week after being told to close the doors back in March. I remember we turned on Slerp, our first and favourite ordering platform, and started receiving orders immediately!
We were making each drink to order as we weren't prepared for the demand, but we have ridden the learning curve and are in an excellent position now. We are currently working on expanding our core range of drinks including some low and non-alcoholic cocktails that will be available through the website.
Heads + Tails is a great bar run by great people and having hosted them at several of our events we can attest to the quality of their cocktails!
If you are looking for something interesting to drink this weekend then check them out at https://www.headsandtails.bar/