Polpo pub Ape & Bird closes

Ape & Bird, the central London gastropub founded by Russell Norman, pioneer of Venetian small plates chain Polpo, has closed its doors after four years in operation.

As reported by Eater, the lease for the 150-seater Cambridge Circus pub has been bought from Norman and his business partner Richard Beatty.

A notice on the pub window reads: “It is with regret that we have decided to permanently close Polpo at Ape & Bird. “We have accepted an offer for the lease from a very exciting operator, allowing us to concentrate on our core estate.”

According to Eater the entire Ape & Bird team will continue to work for Norman and Beatty within the Polpo group.

Russell Norman, co-founder of the Polpo group

Proving how difficult trading conditions in the UK have become, the Polpo group has also been forced to close its site in Bristol, which opened just 18 months ago.

Boasting an oak bar, a theatrical red curtain at the entrance, and episodes of Fawlty Towers piped through speakers in the loos, Ape & Bird was never the easiest of venues in the Polpo portfolio.

Opening in November 2013 as a gastropub serving pies, steaks, whole roast chickens and pig’s trotter Scotch eggs, a year later it was rebranded as Polpo at Ape & Bird and brought under the Polpo umbrella in order to focus on the restaurant group’s successful model of Venetian-inspired small plates.

“I always wanted to do a pub and it’s our first site in seven where people can come in for a drink without having to order food, which is a dream,” Norman told db back in 2013 when it opened.

The Polpo group now consists of five Polpo sites in London, one in Exeter and one in Brighton, as well as Polpetto and the New York-inspired Spuntino in Soho.

While Cambridge Circus near Shaftesbury Avenue is one of the highest footfall areas in central London, it has proved something of a flee in the ear for restaurateurs, who have had mixed levels of success with the location.

Despite being just 10 days into 2018, there have already been a number of high profile restaurant closures this year, including Thai barbecue specialist Smoking Goat in Soho, the wine-focused 8 Hoxton Square in east London and the Kensington Roof Gardens in High Street Kensington, which enjoyed 37 years in business.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Sales - Global Wine Competitions

The Drinks Business
London, UK

London Account Manager

Speciality Drinks
London, UK

Sales Advisor

The Whisky Exchange
London, UK

Customer Services Administrator

Speciality Drinks
London, UK

Business Development Manager

Pol Roger Portfolio
London, UK

Business Development Executive – Spirits

Pol Roger Portfolio
London, UK

Trading Administrative Assistant

Vin-Exchange Ltd
London, UK

Events Sales Executive

The Drinks Business Hong Kong
Hong Kong

On-Trade Regional Sales Manager

Anthony Byrne Fine Wines
West Midlands, UK

Pink Rosé Festival

7th Feb 2019

Wine Paris

11th Feb 2019
Click to view more

The Global Fortified Masters 2018

Deadline : 25th January 2019

The Global Pinot Noir Masters 2019

Deadline : 1st February 2019

Click to view more

Rioja Masters 2018

View Results

The Global Beer Competition

View Results

Click to view more