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Inception Group HQ Staff Awards 2018

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On Monday 18th March, the Inception Group HQ Staff Awards 2018 were held at our largest venue across the group, Mrs Fogg’s Maritime Club & Distillery! Kicking off the evening with beers, wine and Prosecco, the team enjoyed delicious canapés from our Indian-inspired menu at Mrs Fogg’s. The annual staff awards are dedicated to recognising and rewarding employees’ in their hard work and achievements over the past year, from venue managers to head office employees. The team then continued their celebrations into the night at London Cocktail Club! See below for the list of our well-deserved winners of 2018…


Employee of the Year

Simon Allison

Head of Marketing

Runner-Up Employee of the Year

Siri Johansson

Pop-Ups Events Manager

General Manager of the Year

Philippe Lache

GM at Mr Fogg’s Residence

Assistant General Manager of the Year

Zsombor Lippai

AGM at Maggie’s Club

HQ Newcomer of the Year

Adam Solomons

Feedback Manager

Venue Newcomer of the Year

Lucy Harrison

GM at Bunga Bunga Covent Garden

Mr Fogg’s wins Best Pub Brand/Concept at The Publican Awards 2019!

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We are delighted to announce that Mr Fogg’s has won Best Pub Brand/Concept in the whole of the UK at the industry’s biggest awards – The Publican Awards! Honouring the best within the pubco sector, the awards took place at the Battersea Evolution in London, recognising and awarding excellence across the UK by top industry experts.

With three new venues opening across London last year, the Mr Fogg’s brand is renowned for its unique and eclectic hospitality concept inspired by Jules Verne’s character, Phileas J. Fogg, in his novel Around the World in Eighty Days. Other bars that were nominated in this category include The New World Trading Company, Stonegate Pub Company and Pizza, Pots & Pints.

On winning the award, Charlie Gilkes (co-founder of Inception Group) says: ‘We are so honoured and delighted that Mr Fogg’s has been recognised as the Best Pub Brand/Concept in the UK at the prestigious Publican Awards. We are committed to continue building an interesting collection of bars for the adventurous with a real focus on providing a unique and memorable experience’.

Inception Group wins Icons of Gin Awards!

By Insiders News, News

We are very proud to announce that Inception Group has WON ‘Bar Group of the Year’ in Gin Magazine’s Icons of Gin awards 2019! Well done to Giovanni Magliaro, Bar Manager of Mr Fogg’s Tavern & Gin Parlour, and the rest of the team for their hard work and efforts in achieving the award.

Located in the heart of Covent Garden, Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour stands proudly as home to one of London’s largest and most eclectic collections gins, tonics and botanicals, with a variety of over 150 gins!

The Inception Christmas Party 2018/19

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On January 14th, Inception Group went BIG with our largest Christmas party yet, held at The London Cabaret Club. After the launch of three new Fogg’s venues in 2018, it was only fitting that we went with this year’s fancy dress theme… Victorian Circus! The Inceptionauts went to town with the dress code and arrived in a spectacular variety of weird and wonderful theatrical costumes. After enjoying a delicious buffet and cocktails, the room was filled with live music, circus acts, magicians, jugglers, a real snake and more! We then celebrated by dancing the night away Inception-style, patting ourselves on the back after our hard work over Christmas and New Year’s.

For more images of the Inception Christmas Party 2018/19, visit our Facebook album here.


Inception Conference 2019

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On Monday 14th January 2019, all members of Inception Group were invited to Leicester Square Theatre for our annual company conference! Celebrating 10 years of Inception, Charlie Gilkes reflected on how far the company has come over the years – looking over a room of nearly 400 people, compared to under 10 employees back in 2009.

We looked back on a fantastic 2018 filled with spectacular pop-ups such as Spritz & Giggles and Casa Bonita, social media growth, our viral Around the World campaign and the opening of three new Mr Fogg’s venues, including our 11th and largest venue yet – Mrs Fogg’s Maritime Club & Distillery! After discussing our future plans for Inception Group, we welcomed Nick Williamson (Marketing Director of Campari UK) to the stage for an exciting discussion on the past, present and future trends within the hospitality industry.

Before heading off to celebrate the #InceptionParty19 at The London Cabaret Club, co-founders Charlie Gilkes and Duncan Stirling presented the winning employees from each venue with awards for their hard work and dedication throughout the year!

Inception Group wins Launch Campaign of the Year in Restaurant Marketer & Innovator Awards

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We are very proud to announce that Inception Group have WON ‘Launch Campaign of the Year’ in the Restaurant Marketer & Innovator Awards 2019 for Mr Fogg’s Society of Exploration.

Advertised as the Best Job in the World, the viral campaign was launched as a job application to travel across the world, with over 10,000 applicants. It received worldwide media attention, including an appearance on Sky News and even led to Ryan Reynolds wanting to apply for the job! The campaign also included a series of social media and marketing campaigns in the lead-up to the opening of The Society of Exploration, including the launch of the world’s first cocktail-creating machine that takes pride of place in the venue – our Mechanical Mixologist.

The Restaurant Marketer & Innovator Awards recognise the growing importance of marketing, innovation and strategy professions within the restaurant and bar industry.

See below for examples of our launch campaigns…

Around the World Job Launch

Mr Fogg’s Society of Exploration opens on The Strand

Mechanical Mixologist at Mr Fogg’s Society of Exploration

Behind the Bar Series – Michele Venturini

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Michele Venturini

Bar Manager at Cahoots

Our second #BehindTheBar interview presents… Michele Venturini! With a career in hospitality spanning almost two decades, 2019 will mark Michele’s fifth year working for Inception Group. He has been a Bar Manager at Cahoots for the past three years!

FUN FACT: If he wasn’t a Bar Manager, Michele believes he would have been a comic actor!

Q. How did you become a Bar Manager?

After 18 years of experience in the hospitality industry, I learnt a lot from different perspectives, from my role as Head Bartender to the next level as Bar Manager. But, even though I started managing bars in Italy, London has a completely different style of business!

Q. What do you enjoy about bartending?

I enjoy interacting with customers, making them happy and providing them with the best experience. Although the drinks are very important, I always represent the drink as the cherry on top of the cake – the cake is the whole customer experience!

Q. What inspired you to become a Bar Manager?

It happened quite naturally. I love every single aspect of my job – especially serving customers, working with my team to create menus and working alongside important brands.

Q. What is your favourite cocktail to drink and create?

I love classics! I’m in love with Martini cocktail, stirred with olive and just a splash of dry vermouth. The Americano cocktail is also super refreshing! I love to make different styles of drinks. For example, sour cocktails topped with a nice foam, but also long or refreshing drinks using fresh ingredients.

Q. Which seasonal drinks do you recommend during the Christmas period?

Warm drinks and twist on classics like hot punch or Hot Toddies containing spices and whiskey, but also creamy drinks with egg or milk such as eggnog!

Q. What makes a great Bar Manager?

There are three important things behind a great Bar Manager:

  • Managing the business – This includes ensuring you maintain profits and control costs, while also growing the brand by organising events, pop-ups and masterclasses.
  • Managing the team – Always keeping staff motivated, helping them develop their skills with improvements and also offering them praise.
  • Focus on customer experience – Be attentive to guests in a professional but light and funny way!

Q. Do you have any advice for aspiring Bar Managers?

A Bar Manager’s role in a cocktail bar is one of the most important. The bar is the engine of the business, and if the car is going fast, you have to drive it!

Q. What ingredients do you feel are underused? Or overused? And what is the most versatile?

I believe that bitters (or amari in Italian) are underused here in London, and I think that vodka and sweet products such as juices and purées are overused.

Q. How do you develop new recipes or new cocktails?

Creating new cocktails is quite a complex process. It involves research into what customers look for in a cocktail, then making that connection through a combination of ingredients. London is home to a great range of products and liquors, which makes it easy to develop new recipes.

Q. Where’s the next place on your travel bucket list and why?

Over the past two years, I have been on many work trips including visits to Athens, Rome and Cyprus. I will be going to Berlin for the Berlin Bar Show where I will be representing Cahoots in a branded bar stand, followed by Dubai and Greece.

Behind the Bar Series – Pietro Rizzo

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We have launched our #BehindTheBar series! Keep your eyes peeled for regular interviews with members of our bar staff across our Inception Group venues, including Mr Fogg’s, Cahoots and more. Our very first #BehindTheBar interview presents…

Pietro Rizzo

Bar Manager at Mr Fogg’s Society Of Exploration

Having worked in hospitality since the age of 18, Pietro’s first job was at The Cuban, Camden. He has been a Bar Manager for seven years and has been part of Inception Group since 2014 (with a two year gap). Pietro loves travelling! The next place on his travel bucket list is Berlin in October, where he will be attending the BCB Bar Show, and Athens in November for the Athens Bar Show. He will also be finalising in the special guest bar takeover and giving a talk on the main stage for the Aperitivo Category in Athens.

Q. What is your favourite part about working for Inception Group?

The huge potential the company has when working alongside such a great team.

Q. What inspired you to become a Bar Manager and what do you enjoy about bartending?

The pleasure it brings to share my passion for and knowledge of bartending. I enjoy creating and exploring new flavours, and using exotic ingredients, spices and botanicals.

Q. What is your favourite cocktail to drink and what is your favourite cocktail to create?

My favourite cocktail to drink is the Adonis (sweet vermouth, sherry wine and orange bitters). I love creating twists on the classics, for example Mezcal Negroni.

Q. Which ingredients do you feel are underused and overused in cocktails?

I believe that gentian roots are underused, while elderflower is overused.

Q. What type of seasonal drink(s) do you recommend during the Christmas period?

Hot Toddy!

Q. What is a common misconception that people have about being a bartender?

People are unaware of what goes on in the back of house. For example, paperwork is an important part of my job. A common misconception is that Bar Managers sit in the office watching the cameras. However, this is not the case; we are always working hard behind the bar to give customers the best experience.

Q. How do you develop new recipes or new cocktails?

I think of creating a new cocktail like writing a story. Every ingredient is inspired by its concept and must be relevant to the story surrounding the drink.

Q. If you weren’t a Bar Manager, what job would you choose to do?

I have worked in the bar industry all my working life. Before becoming a Bar Manager at Mr Fogg’s Society Of Exploration, I worked as a consultant for drinks development, assisting drink brands with sales and marketing programmes. I also consulted bars with new openings, bar programmes, recruitment and more.

Q. Do you have any advice for aspiring Bar Managers?

Listening to your team is essential. Staff meetings and staff parties will help build your relationship with the team. A happy team means a hardworking team!

A sanctuary for those more curious than most…

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Our newly opened Society of Exploration is located just a stone’s throw away from Charing Cross station, where Phileas J. Fogg embarked upon his journey around the world! Our fifth addition to the Mr Fogg’s collection boasts wood-panelled walls, warm leather seating and shelves laden with eccentric artefacts. A place of exploration and adventure, guests can travel the world via the portals of their taste buds by sampling elixirs from the farthest corners of the globe.

Explorers may plan their next quests with the assistance of our in-house expert in the Map Room, where one will find an impressive collection of antique maps, travel books, souvenirs and more. Alongside the bar lies our life-size model of a Victorian train carriage, perfect for small gatherings, complete with banquette seating, brass lamps and windows overlooking the bar area. Housing an extensive selection of worldly libations, the Society of Exploration is also home to Mr Fogg’s Mechanical Mixologist, an automated cocktail-making machine that sits proudly in the centre of the back-bar. Beautifully crafted and meticulously designed, the custom-made machine is designed to celebrate the spirit of experimentation and industrial innovation that took place in the Victorian period.

Come and encounter all means of exploration, as you bear witness to the fruits of British industrial revolution in the form of new-fangled machinery and the bold experimentations of mixology; all taking place within Mr Fogg’s Society of Exploration!

To make a reservation click here.


Mrs Fogg’s Maritime Club & Distillery is docking soon…

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Our biggest Fogg’s venue yet, Mrs Fogg’s Maritime Club & Distillery will be opening in the heart of the City. Pulling inspiration from Mr Fogg’s Indian wife, Aouda, the venue pays homage to the beauty of her Indian culture. Upstairs will feature The Maritime Club – a sophisticated, elegant area featuring both nautical and Indian decorative touches. Guests can also enjoy exotic flavours and ingredients aboard a life-size version of the Rangoon Steamer, complete with beautiful curtained compartments. Downstairs is where the crew play havoc, as precious cargo is unearthed and the floor is transformed into a speakeasy-style bar.

Hidden away downstairs will be The Engine Room. Here, below deck, is where the crew will play havoc, as precious cargo and stowaways are unearthed and the floor is transformed into a raucous speakeasy-style bar with live entertainment. Next to this, will feature The Distillery – an industrial beauty and a vision of Victorian innovation. This fully-functioning machine will create Mrs Fogg’s very own gin elixir.

Docking soon at Broadgate Circle, be one of the first to experience Mrs Fogg’s Maritime Club & Distillery…