This week’s exclusive Diary includes Justin Bieber causing disruption in Westfield Stratford; Yianni Papoutsis’ latest meat treats; Thornbridge’s grasp of regional accents; and the long arm of the law taking a close look at strip clubs. Bieber fever Diary likes to keep its ear to the ground when it comes to all the upcoming beat combos and hip young things, so it was keen to hear how teen sensation Justin Bieber’s show and subsequent switching on of the Christmas lights at Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City last week went. Swimmingly for the majority of operators it seems, apart from those on the doorstep of his performance at the Stratford scheme, who far from getting an uplift in trade from hordes of teenagers were forced to shut for 24 hours around the event. We wonder if that was part of Bieber’s rider? Westfield wonders Now before we start feeling any pangs of sympathy for those at Westfield Stratford, let’s remember that 24 hours of closing time is probably a blip in what has been a resounding success for all those who have taken a plot in the impressive shopping scheme. Diary hears that the Pizza Express site there recently turned over £63,000 in a week, which is not to be sniffed at. However, it also hears that the TGI Friday’s unit almost doubled that recently, hitting an impressive £120,000 turnover. That’s a lot of flaring! Meat it We’ve had the Meatwagon, Meateasy and now Meat Liquor, which recently opened in London’s Marylebone. Diary hears that the most recent opening by the team led by Yianni Papoutsis, burger and bar operation Meat Liquor, has continued the popularity of the group’s previous two pop-up sensations, taking around £4,000 in its first six hours of trading. Diary also hears that Papoutsis and his team are not set to stop there, with plans for two further sites to appear in Covent Garden – mooted name Meat Market – and Shoreditch next year. Pitt stop Talking of pop-up sensations, Pitt Cue Co, the American-style BBQ stand that has been picking up admirers left, right and centre from its patch under the Hungerford Bridge, is also thought to be eyeing it own permanent home in the capital. The operation, which has seen its BBQ offer described as being better than that found at Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa, is thought to be close to announcing its new home, with an opening planned for next month. A bit of local knowledge It seems that Simon Wilkinson, chief executive of La Tasca wasn’t short of advice when he joined the chain back in February, although one new colleague may have regretted piping up. Diary hears that said colleague told Wilkinson that the chain should be taking tips about its menu from a rival three-strong chain in the north west. The name of the business was La Vina, La Tasca’s sister brand. What’s in a name Thornbridge, the Derbyshire-based brewer and pub operator, opened it first city centre bar, Dada, in Sheffield at the end of October. The group said that with the new site it was rethinking the traditional bar “as a social destination and providing a venue that grants local established artists more license to experiment, attracting an audience who are inclined to be creative, meet and plan ideas, enjoy a live performance and take in artwork”. However, it is the name of the new venture that has raised a few smiles. Simon Webster, operations director, tells Diary: “Sheffielders’ are often called Dee Dars because of their accents and I think some saw this as a play on that but it was just us having some fun and I hope typical of the path ahead.” Thornbridge faces pub challenge head on Staying with Thornbridge and it’s a big congratulations to MD Jim Harrison, who told Monday’s SIBA Pub Retailing Conference about how the company has turned around the Greystones pub in Sheffield since taking on the site one year ago - it was the brewer’s second free-of-tie-on-cask-ale agreement with Enterprise. Barrelage at the site has increased from 152 to 600 per year after a six-figure refurbishment funded by Enterprise and Thornbridge (the pubco invested £150,000). Impressive stuff. Harrison’s experiences at the pub weren’t always so rosy, however. “I was thrown out when I was 19 when I poured beer on someone’s head,” he revealed. Best not enquire further, Diary felt. The boys in blue Diary had a surreal moment the other day when he received an email from a policeman asking whether the Morning Advertiser, M&C’s sister title as was, had any, umm, photographs from the Lap Dancing Association’s 2008 Awards Ceremony. “I am not after pictures of the lap dancers,” the copper stated. “I am only concerned with people who attended the awards, i.e guests.” Phew. Diary regretfully informed him that we have no such pictures, but pointed out that the ceremony sounds like fun. “Yes I bet they are quality awards,” stated he. “However, sadly I am not investigating the dancers. I am not that lucky.” Diary wonders if he’s since gone undercover.