Young Achievers of the Year 2007
23rd May, 2007 by db_staff
Will Beckett & Huw Gott, owners and founders of the Underdog Group
Although yet to celebrate their 30th birthdays, Will Beckett and Huw Gott, better-known as the Underdog Group, have opened three of Londonâ€™s most talked about venues in the past 18 months: Green & Red, Hawksmoor and The Marquess Tavern.
Since setting up their first bar, The Redchurch, in 2003, Beckett and Gott have been responsible for upping the profile of Tequila and restoring consumer faith inâ€ˆMexican food. Becket says: â€œWe are passionate about what we do. Mexican food, traditional British food, steak, cocktails, wine and beer were personal interests long before they became business concepts.â€
The pair have also set up their own consultancy business advising people on how to set up and run a licensed business. The recently opened Hideaway bar in Archway, north London, was their first project.
The company also has plans to launch the Underdog training programme â€œto provide people with the necessary training and qualifications to have a long, successful career in the bar industryâ€. Beckett will be publishing his first book, An Appetite for Ale, later on this year.
One of the judges said: â€œThese two show obvious commercial talent, they have expanded their business incredibly quickly in a difficult environment. They have demonstrated a talent for consumer targeting, an entrepreneurial spirit and managed to make the transition into consultancy pretty seamlessly â€“ a formidable partnership.â€
|THEÂ PORTFOLIOThe Redchurch
A late-licence DJ venue at the top of Londonâ€™s Brick Lane, The Redchurch taught Will Beckett and Huw Gott all there is to know about running a bar. â€œWe did everything. We bar-backed, tended bar, cooked and cleaned. We got the accounts incredibly wrong, then worked out how to get them right,â€ says Beckett.
Green & Red
After realising that the bar opposite The Redchurch was going under, the pair decided to open Green & Red in November 2005, working alongside tequila gurus Henry Besant and Dre Masso of The Worldwide Cocktail Club. â€œWith Green & Red we saw an opportunity to do decent, authentic Mexican food and have some fun with tequila. Both Mexican food and Tequila have a very bad image in the UK, so we were having to challenge peopleâ€™s preconceptions,â€ says Gott.
The Marquess Tavern and The Hawksmoor
â€œDonâ€™t open two venues at the same time,â€ says Beckett. But thatâ€™s exactly what Underdog did last year, opening The Marquess Tavern â€“ a quintessential British pub in Canonbury â€“ and the Hawksmoor â€“ an old-fashioned American style cocktail bar/steakhouse on Commercial Street.