Young Achievers of the Year 2007

23rd May, 2007 by db_staff

underdogsWill 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 London’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 in Mexican food. Becket says: “We 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.”

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 “to provide people with the necessary training and qualifications to have a long, successful career in the bar industry”. Beckett will be publishing his first book, An Appetite for Ale, later on this year.

One of the judges said: “These 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 – a formidable partnership.”

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THE PORTFOLIOThe Redchurch
A late-licence DJ venue at the top of London’s Brick Lane, The Redchurch taught Will Beckett and Huw Gott all there is to know about running a bar. “We did everything. We bar-backed, tended bar, cooked and cleaned. We got the accounts incredibly wrong, then worked out how to get them right,” 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. “With 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 people’s preconceptions,” says Gott.

The Marquess Tavern and The Hawksmoor
“Don’t open two venues at the same time,” says Beckett. But that’s exactly what Underdog did last year, opening The Marquess Tavern – a quintessential British pub in Canonbury – and the Hawksmoor – an old-fashioned American style cocktail bar/steakhouse on Commercial Street.

 

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