They’re a dream team are Rosie Stimpson, Edmund Weil, Bobby Hiddleston and Mia Johansson. Since combining forces in 2016 to open the first, highly-lauded Swift in one of the key areas in central London, Soho, the two couples expanded their reach, taking the multi-award-winning concept East, again to a major hot spot, this time in Shoreditch.
Now they’re spreading their wings and heading South with a third outpost landing in London this autumn. Not South enough to scare away those of us who balk at crossing the river kinda South, but like their siblings, in a prime location also beginning with ’S’: this time in Southwark. Or more specially Borough, just 30 seconds from Borough Market, one of the busiest and most popular food markets in the world.
“We’re really excited to be opening in Borough,” says Bobby. “It’s a wonderful, historic area with a great mix of locals, thriving businesses and lovers of good food and great flavours who regularly visit the market. We can’t wait to tap into the community.” And we’re pretty sure the community won’t waste any time tapping into the justifiably famous Swift hospitality.
Why would they? The team will be bringing their signature casual-luxe style that extends from the 1930s Grand Central Station-esque glamour interior, complete with clean lines, mirrored walls and dazzling gilt trim to the fabulous array of always on point sharpeners, aperitifs and night caps. Which has become the blueprint for the ground floor at each of the sites. However, unlike Shoreditch that only consists of the one floor and very much caters to drop-ins throughout the day, Soho has another offering: the burgundy-hued, intimate, verging on seductive vibe in the all-seated, whisky-centric drinking den below.
Good news for fans like us: “Swift Borough will be split over two floors,” Bobby says excitedly. “The ground floor here is 50% larger than Soho while the downstairs is slightly smaller.” Or ‘cosier’ as he puts it. “It has a lower ceiling and more of an enclosed, secret feel,” he goes on. Whisky and whisky-based cocktails will be present but, as Bobby informs us, they’ll be pushing the boat out in terms of other spirits on the menu as well.
Still yet to experience that Swift magic? Allow us to explain… Ever since Edmund and Rosie had the idea for a venue that captured the easy elegance of all-day bars like Boadas in Barcelona, “where you can sneak in a cocktail before your next destination; a concept that sits snugly between a pint in a pub and a reservations cocktail bar,” as Rosie explained in a pre-launch interview eight years ago, co-owners Bobby and Mia have taken the formula and run with it. Their passion and hard work has paid off big time with Swift picking up Best New Bar at both Tales Of The Cocktail in New Orleans and the Time Out London Bar Awards 2017, as well as being named GQ Bar of Year and being included in the World’s 50 Best Bars list in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
But perhaps the best accolade of all comes from the ever-increasing number of Swift devotees who frequent both sites and are destined to add Borough to their repertoire. Running things on the daily will be Rachel Reid who joined the team in 2019, before quickly working her way up to senior bartender. Here she’ll be taking up the position of Venue Manager. “It’s a new challenge and as much as I loved working in Soho, I’ve been there for three years and I’m really looking forward to working in and getting to know a different area of London,” she tells us.
And what about the drinks? They’re keeping pretty shtum on that front, or put it this way – it’s a work very much in progress. “We’ll have the Swift aperitivos and classics such as our Martinis, Bloody Mary’s, Irish Coffees and Sgroppinos upstairs, but as we’ll have some of the best produce and suppliers on our doorstep, we’re looking to partner with our neighbours to spotlight seasonal produce on a monthly basis,” Rachel informs. Watch this space.