Your name, age and some background about you…
I’m Joshua Theed from Brighton. For over 10 years I’ve been working as a Project Manager in the creative industries developing lots of weird and wonderful things from interactive games and escape rooms through to countless creative projects for advertising, PR and entertainment agencies.
What is your venue called, where is it and when was it established?
Our venue is called 2 Church Street Café with Cocktails. We are located in North Laine close to The Royal Pavilion, Dome and Theatre Royal. We opened in November 2021 and the response from customers has been fantastic.
Tell us about the food and drink you serve?
Our food menu has been carefully designed with the help of a close friend and chef David Pearse, owner of the Slow & Low Smokehouse in Kemp Town. We have some outstanding charcuterie from the Curing Rebels in Brighton. All their produce is high welfare and sustainable, the flavours are incredible.
Our lunchtime menu is growing and we are now offering open sandwiches which are piled with various toppings. We have delicious vegetarian and vegan options as well so it's a great place to come and grab a bite to eat while you're out in town.
The drinks menu is predominantly Latin American inspired and all of the cocktails on our menu are built on rum or mezcal – we have a broad selection on offer. There are some really interesting producers out there that are not only making exceptional, high quality rums and mezcals, but also working hard to be sustainable and ethical too which is really important.
Mezcal can be confusing. Tequila and Raicilla are types of mezcal, much like how scotch and bourbon are types of whiskey and like whiskey there is such a broad spectrum giving us lots of room to explore. They all derive from the agave plant. It can be steamed, roasted and fermented and – depending on how its processed – can be turned into Mezcal, Tequila or Raicilla.
There are some wonderful and complex flavours whether it's light and floral or rich and smokey which is why we are seeing a rise in popularity of Mezcal. It's got a lot to offer.
We have an amazing team who have worked really hard on developing the cocktail menu using these key ingredients with twists on classics like a Mezcal Negroni and a Rum Old Fashioned. The team have a wealth of experience between them and are more than able to create anything you desire, whether it's something traditional or a bit more adventurous.
How many on your team and who are they?
We are a small team of five but each brings their own expertise. The other four people are the General Manager Dan Brown, who has many years experience front of house and the bartenders Josh, Max and Dave who are all exceptional and are constantly developing drinks and their own crazy ideas which keeps things fun.
How did the idea for your business come about?
Being from Brighton myself I have always loved the city. Part of what makes the place so unique is all the small independent shops and cafés in and around the Lanes and the community it creates which makes it so special. My parents used to run a sandwich bar in Brighton called The Rainbow Kitchen and it’s always something that's appealed to me. Although I had always thought it would be nice to have a business in the centre of town, it's not something I was actively pursuing but rather an opportunity that landed in my lap. There were lots of small commercial units in town that had become available and when it came my way it seemed to be too good of an opportunity to miss.
Why start a new hospitality business at this time with the uncertainty of the pandemic?
The first year of the pandemic had passed and it was sad to see so many small businesses suffering and having to close. It has been – and still is – an extremely difficult time for many people, but I like to stay optimistic. I wanted to create something special, a place where people could re-connect or make new friends.
What would you like to tell people about your business?
We are not just cocktails! We are a café and we are open from lunchtime too! We have some very strict licensing with the premises which makes it extremely challenging for a small independent venue like us in the centre of town. The most frustrating part is that we have to close a little bit earlier than we would really like.
But there are some positives too such as being table service only which I think is a nice thing as it's easier for the staff to manage and hopefully a better experience for the customer too.
What are your plans/hopes for the future?
Over the coming months and before the summer we are going to make a few changes to the venue. We have had a few ideas which will help us with some much needed storage space. But also as the weather improves we would like to expand outside too with a few tables and chairs for the summer evenings. We are always looking for new directions to grow.
Anything else you’d like to tell us?
Our venue is the perfect event space; we will be hosting regular networking events as well as educational and tasting sessions. It's a great place to meet and connect with people, and we’re ideally located for pre-theatre drinks before going to see a show.
We're different from other places, the lovely fresh and clean art deco inspired interior is a space for everyone. It’s the perfect place for brunch with friends in the afternoon. Then when the sun comes down and music on low the place really transforms. The soft lighting, shadows and plants all help create a really comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.