Condé Nast International Restaurants are in the process of launching a string of up-market international cafés, clubs and bars. Each concept has been designed to appeal to the high net worth individual, boasting world-class food and drink, stylish interiors and prime locations.
So far this year, Condé Nast has launched GQ Bar Istanbul in February, which marked the first of several upcoming openings for 2013 including Dubai, Bangkok and Singapore, due to open later this year.
In Singapore, the Vogue Club will be located on the top floors of the Singapore Land Tower, a 47 story skyscraper in the business district. Set to feature a panoramic 360° terrace with a restaurant and ultra lounge, FOUR suspects the Vogue Club will rank highly on the list of 'go-to' venues in the city. The location for the Vogue café in Singapore is also set to be announced in the coming months.
The Vogue Club, Bangkok, will be designed by the world-renowned David Collins Studio (Claridges Bar, The Wolsley, Alexander McQueen outlets) and will be situated in the luxury MahaNakhon CUBE retail complex, in the Sathorn-Narathiwas Rajanakarin-Silom business district of Bangkok.
In Dubai, Condé Nast International Restaurants has teamed up with the food and beverage management company, Inspired Group to open the The GQ Bar Dubai, which is set to launch in December 2013. FOUR asked Gary Robinson - Deputy Director of Condé Nast International Restaurants, to fill in the details…
What inspired the launch of Condé Nast International Restaurants new concepts?
For several years now Condé Nast International have licensed a GQ Bar and Vogue Café in Moscow catering to glamorous, high net worth clientele. More recently a Tatler Club was also opened. The successful operations in Russia led to the consideration of opening further restaurants and bars under license partnerships around the world.
How important is location for each of the international cafés, clubs and bars?
Location is absolutely everything here. We’re positioning our restaurants in locations where the brand relationship makes sense. Fashionable districts in trendy cities is the easy way to sum this up. There has to be a connection to the magazine side of the business where our guests already know the publications and are hungry to see how we are presenting a new way of looking at our product
Tell us about the design and architecture of a few of the already launched and upcoming concepts?
Our design directions have always been inspired from the heart of what our magazines encompass, and this will always be the case. Our Vogue Cafés are vibrant and glamorous environments. The place where stylish, sophisticated and beautiful women choose to be seen. It is the meeting place of celebrities, models, leaders and trendsetters. The Vogue Café space is beautifully designed and decorated with cutting-edge style. It is constructed and finished with the highest attention to detail. Iconic images from the pages of Vogue adorn the space and stimulate conversations, connecting guests to the Vogue brand. The ambience is heightened with inventive lighting, music theming and acoustics.
GQ Bar is a place where smart, sharp people can relax in a stimulating social environment. It is the quintessential meeting place for people to enjoy social drinks, discreet tête-à-têtes between friends – as well as a place to entertain professional guests. GQ Bar is a clear leader in the market and attracts celebrities, business leaders and trendsetters. The decor is modern, stylish and tasteful. Soft lighting and a DJ playing upbeat, urban music enhance the ambience. Live entertainment injects energy into the GQ Bar experience.
The launch of GQ Bar Istanbul in February marked the first of several upcoming openings for 2013. What was the launch like – any well-known faces?
The launch, in February, was an incredible event, with guest DJ’s Miss Nine and Claude Challe providing the entertainment, miniaturised GQ Bar menu classics being passed around and some of our signature molecular cocktails coming from the bar. The guest list really was the best of Istanbul, and to name a few attendees we had Levent Veziroglu, Cem Aydin, Burcu Esmersoy, Meryem Uzerli, Can Ates, Feryal Gulman, Mustafa Dogan, Tamer Ozmen, Burcu Esmersoy, Tulin Sahin, Ozcan-Aylin Tahincioglu, Seda Domanic and Ahmet Iren.
Describe the reception GQ Bar has had from so far?
Incredible! It is already on the Istanbul hot list and reservations for the weekends full 3 weeks in advance!
The wine and cocktails menu for GQ Bar looks extensive. Tell us about its selection?
We’ve taken a bold stance in the bar and gone quite experimental with our cocktails. Molecular takes centre stage and we have created some signature drinks using foams, smoke, gels and some incredibly clever spherification. We now carry one of Istanbul’s largest wine lists and with our own incredible sommelier on the team we back this up with some great talent on the team.
In Dubai, Conde Nast Restaurants has teamed up with the food and beverage management company, Inspired Group. How did this collaboration come about?
In all of our projects, we look to partner with some of the best operators in the field, and Inspired mirror many of the values we represent through their burning desire to produce quality without compromise. We instantly found a kindred spirit in their core and this is a partnership we are very proud of.
What can guests expect as far as food goes from each of the restaurants?
We are going down the route of internationally recognised classics with a local influence. In Istanbul for example we have a GQ Bar Wagyu Burger and a Boston Lobster Roll sitting alongside our take on a really quite delicious Dana Külbasti.
When and where can we expect the next concepts to be launched?
We’re currently focusing on the Asian, Middle Eastern and Latin American markets where there is a strong appetite for luxury brands in retail and hospitality. Singapore and Bangkok will be our next confirmed openings after Istanbul and Dubai.
Other than the string of up-market international cafés, clubs and bars, does Condé Nast International Restaurants have anything else in the pipeline?
At this stage our principle focus is on the careful development of a beautifully positioned selection of restaurants, bars, clubs and cafes.
For more information visit Condé Nast International Restaurants website