Graffiti Spirits, the Liverpool bar and restaurant operator, hopes to use a pop-up residency of its mezcal and tequila concept El Bandito in Shoreditch as springboard to find a permanent site in the capital, MCA has learnt.

Director Matt Farrell said the group had long held ambitions to open in the capital and believed there was a gap in the market for the specialist spirit concept.

Farell also said the group was also looking to bring its Salt Dog Slims ‘steins and brines’ concept alongisde its 81 speakeasy brand to Manchester as a double header.

The six-strong group is also working on an artisanal food hall in Liverpool city centre, which it would lease and manage with space for seven or eight operators, including Graffiti’s own high-end meat restaurant concept.

Farrell said: “The idea with El Bandito is to test the water and after that look for a permanent site. We’re looking to expand outside of Liverpool regardless, and London has always been a focal point, especially with what we’re doing cocktail wise.

“El Bandito is getting a really good reputation, and we’ve think there’s a slight gap in what’s on the market in London. Our brand is really strong and we think we can offer a lot to the city.”

The pop-up is in Shoreditch High Street under Drunken Monkey and the group will consider sites in East London, as Hackney, central London and West London.

The food market, which the group has acquired the site for, is not likely to open for up to two years, and would be in the mould of Altrincham or Timeout Markets.

With the group having several concepts, including Santa Chupitos and Santa Maluco, Farrill said the focus would be on growing the existing brands rather than creating new ones.

He added: “We’ve probably done it the wrong way round, we’ve got five or six solid brands. So we’ll be looking to expand our current brands, rather than creating something new.”