Future 50: Café-bar operator launches evening events at new site
- Credit: Neil Didsbury
The Gangway, a collection of bars, cafés and restaurants along the north Norfolk coast, is launching a series of evening events at its newest site in Overstrand.
The company opened The Potting Shed at Garden Centre Overstrand in February this year – after renovating the garden centre’s existing café. It will hold a cocktail masterclass and canapé evening in the café at 7pm on Friday, September 2, led by general manager Logan Smith.
“Logan did a cocktail masterclass at Cromer Carnival, and that went really well, so we thought we'd do it again,” said owner Will Chandler, who founded The Gangway in 2019. “The bonus of doing an event at The Potting Shed is that it's not normally open in the evening – and the garden centre was very flexible with us using the space for events like this.”
Will said The Potting Shed “is going from strength to strength” as part of The Gangway, adding that it has “quite a different atmosphere” to the company’s other sites in Cromer and Sheringham, which are open from 9.30am until late.
“It's predominantly coffees, cakes, light lunch and brunch,” he explained. “We do have a small range of our Gangway classic cocktails, and we've got a tiny bottle shop in there with some of our favourite wines and beers for drinking in or taking home. It’s going to be a little bit seasonal, but it’s going really well.”
The Gangway also has a horsebox bar for use at events – and it has previously run cocktail masterclasses at holiday accommodation. “That is something we would like to push a bit more,” said Will. “But the main focus at the moment is getting all of the sites completely established and settled.”
“I felt there was a bit of a gap in the market not just in Cromer, but several other towns,” said Will. “You don't always want to drink in a pub, and there were no pubs in Cromer that really appealed to me, so I felt there was an opportunity to do something slightly more up to date and cosmopolitan.
“There's no one word to describe what we are,” he added. “We're not necessarily a bar, we're not a coffee shop, we're not a pub. People do compare us to European-style bars – we open at 9.30am, and we close at 10pm or 11pm. We're just a nice place to come and have a drink, basically.”
Later this year, the company will open The Quarter Deck – its first restaurant – in the building next door to The Gangway in Sheringham. The restaurant will offer tapas-style small plates, and there will also be a large bottle shop selling craft beer, natural wines and deli items.
“It's quite a bold move to take on another premises, but we always get asked if we're going to do food at The Gangways,” said Will. “We don’t have the space, and it's not what The Gangways are about, but if we can offer something foodie on top of what we do at those sites, it just adds to the brand.”
Will expects to open The Quarter Deck in October or November, and is currently recruiting for a number of positions at the restaurant and The Gangway’s other sites.
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And there could be further openings to come next year. “I'd love to do a restaurant in Cromer – and maybe another Gangway somewhere along the coast,” said Will. “We get asked all the time when we're going to open in certain towns, so we’ll just have to see what opportunities come along.”
For more information, visit www.thegangway.co.uk