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Q&A with Tom Peake of The Bedford Pub, Balham!

Q&A with Tom Peake of The Bedford Pub, Balham!

With The Bedford Pub re-opening to the public on Monday 3rd December following a multi-million-pound refurbishment, new co-owner Tom Peake kindly took part in a Q&A to give us the low-down on the new look venue.

Balham Daily PRSS: Who are the new team behind The Bedford Pub?

Tom Peake: The Bedford is owned by Three Cheers Pub Co, a company that I set up with my two school friends, Mark Reynolds and Nick Fox, in 2003. Day to day, The Bedford will be managed by husband and wife team – Head Chef Aaron Cakebread and General Manager Jessi Borhart (both previously of The Bolingbroke).


School friends Mark Reynolds, Nick Fox and Tom Peake of the Three Cheers Pub Co

BDP: What made you want to buy the lease for The Bedford?

TP: The Bedford is an iconic venue with an incredibly rich history, and a pub we’ve known all our lives. It’s in an area that we love and know well, so it was a logical next step for Three Cheers Pub Co. Nick, Mark and I have all lived in the area for much of our lives. I actually grew up in Clapham South and lived in Balham, off Tooting Common, for five years. Nick and Mark also lived in Battersea. The majority of Three Cheers pubs are in the area too, with The Avalon, The Stonhouse and The Abbeville in Clapham, and The Bolingbroke and The Latchmere in Battersea.

BDP: What's your vision for the venue?

TP: We wanted to see the venue revived to its former glory, and to continue to offer first class entertainment and hospitality, both in terms of music and comedy, as well as in the food and drink offering and the new hotel rooms. We hope that The Bedford will continue to be one of the leading venues for grass-roots music and comedy, nurturing the incredible talent that comes through our doors.

BDP: What are the biggest changes we can expect in terms of decor, food & events?

TP: In terms of décor, we have tried our best to stay true to the roots of The Bedford and the Grade II listed building, with a fusion of art deco and 70s style. We’ve also added a splash of glamour and an element of performance throughout the design. Expect re-discovered listed features and contemporary opulence. Marble bar tops, velvet booth seating, and gold ceilings alongside exposed plasterwork, original parquet flooring and vintage punk art. A lavish colour scheme runs throughout, with emerald greens, burnt oranges and dusky pinks taking centre stage with brass, copper and gold accents. Contrasting modern touches such as bespoke print wallpaper and elegant trims and tassels reflect The Bedford’s theatrical background.

When it comes to food, we’ve put the spotlight on fresh, seasonal British produce, creating an all-encompassing menu with something to suit every taste. The drinks list, as in all our pubs, is extensive, and will feature award-winning craft ales, fine wines, cocktails and premium spirits, as well an excellent selection of non-alcoholic drinks.


The new-look saloon bar at The Bedford

BDP: Will iconic events such as The Banana Cabaret still be hosted there?

TP: Absolutely, Banana Cabaret is a key part of The Bedford’s history and is loved by so many and we hope it will long continue. The first official show after reopening is set to take place on Friday 7th December.

BDP: Some locals who enjoyed their dance (e.g. swing) classes there for many years wonder whether they will still be hosted there. Is that the case?

TP: We are still in the process of cementing our events schedule for 2019. We’ve been inundated with requests. Old favourites such as Screaming with Laughter will return and new events, including for families, such as Babble Talks, will make their debut. Stay tuned!

BDP: Do you have plans for big music acts to perform live at The Bedford?

TP: Of course! Watch this space is all we can say right now…

BDP: What plans for the bar at the side of The Bedford on Fernlea Road?

TP: This is now our Saloon Bar. It has become a truly stunning room perfect for a lunch or dinner with friends or perhaps for exclusive hire for a big celebration or Christmas party even.

BDP: Will live sport continue to be shown?

TP: Yes of course, The Bedford has always been a destination pub for big sporting events and we want it to stay that way. We have invested in new screens to show the big games, and also have a new £80,000 state of the art sound system so everyone at the venue can catch the action.

BDP: Do you have plans for an Opening Party?

TP: We are planning something for early 2019. Keep your eyes peeled.

BDP: What will the opening hours be?

TP: Monday to Thursday, 11am-12am, Friday, 11am-2am, Saturday, 8.30am-2am and Sunday, 8.30am-10pm.

Thank you Tom!!


Artwork by Pegasus now adorns the walls of the Bedford yard, giving a nod to Ed Sheeran’s association with the venue.
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