The Little Scarlet Door - Kitchen

The Little Scarlet Door

The Little Door & Co is exploring future growth opportunities, with its house party-inspired concept helping the business ‘stand out from the pack’ in a difficult economy.

Co-founder and MD Jamie Hazeel detailed the bar group’s journey at MCA’s Pub Conference last week as part of an ‘Innovation Showcase’ panel focused on dynamic, unique concepts.

“We’ve been doing this 10 years now and built quite a reputation for the best house parties in town,” Hazeel said. “Quite simply, we make venues that feel like you’re walking into a home, styled like a fictional flat.”

The result is a bar space that’s “welcoming, fun, and unpretentious,” he added.

The five-strong group operates venues across London’s Soho, Fulham, Clapham, and Notting Hill.

“When we started with a small Notting Hill venue in 2014, we didn’t want a gimmicky, MTV crib-style home,” Hazeel explained. “We wanted it to feel like a real home.

“One word we were attached to from the beginning was ‘authentic’ – as in, trainers and coats in the hallway authentic.”

The idea was to recreate the true feeling of being in a home, and the “warmth, intimacy, and security that goes with that feeling,” according to him.

“The principle of welcoming someone into your home is so fundamental and powerful.

“It gets to the root of what hospitality is – to the essence of what all of us in this room do.”

10 years on, the business has evolved but stayed true to its original message, which has helped it stand apart from other bars and nights out, Hazeel added.

“We’re not just doing food and drink, but we’re doing house parties and dinner parties.”

This means attention to detail while designing bars, which feature cocktails served in vases and blenders; showers within the venue; fancy dress boxes for guests; and kitchen discos.

“All around the venues, we have photos of ourselves and our teams, from staff parties and moments together,” Hazeel continued. “They’re full to the brim with unusual detail, which gives a sense of delight to anyone who visits.

“That sense of creativity, quirkiness, and humour brings or business alive.”

Staff are trained to express their individuality, with a style of service modelled after ‘authentic hosting’. Team members are encouraged to sit down at tables when approaching customers, for example, to break barriers.

“We position ourselves as a group, not a chain.

“Each venue is recognisably part of our brand, a home at heart. There are recognisable features and touchpoints, but each is crafted to be unique to the area its in, and the people who live in and frequent that area.

“Ultimately, there are so many different types of homes in so many different places – we truly believe the possibilities for us are endless.”