Conversations: Bobby Hiddleston of Swift
30 November, 2018
Lets’ face it, Londoners love to drink. So much so that seven day a week drinking is a perfect normal occurrence, and we all know there’s nothing better than a cheeky pint with your colleagues to signal the end of the work week. It makes sense then, that London’s bar per square metre ratio is second to none, and with competition so tight, how does a bar like Swift stand out from the clutter?
Swift’s success all comes down to its mixology A-team; made up of Edmund Weil, Rosie Stimpson, Mia Johansson, and of course, the world-record breaking Bobby Hiddleston. (who broke the record by making 9 different cocktails in under 90 seconds!) We catch up with Bobby Hiddleston, in transit between some of his usual Soho haunts, and chat about a few of his favourite local hidden gems, the independent businesses that have caught his eye, and the blood sweat and tears that went into every cocktail, barstool, and lightbulb in Swift bar. According to Bobby, the devil is in the details, and in Swift bar — detail is everything. 
Tell us a little bit about yourself what you do/your idea/your business does?
I, along with my wife and business partners, own a cocktail bar in central London called Swift, recently voted best bar in London by TimeOut, best bar in the UK by GQ, and 46th Best Bar in the World.
Do the spaces that you work and spend time in play a part in influencing your thought processes and ideas? 
Without question. Most of my time is spent either in the bar, or in other people’s bars, or in other spaces of hospitality, so it is impossible to not absorb the surroundings.
In what ways do you push the boundaries and try to be ‘less ordinary’ with what you do/your company does?
We take a lot of pride in our attention to detail, so everything from the height of the bar to the wattage of a lightbulb is taken into account. We are very proud of our drinks, and we truly believe that they are as good as we can make them, but what I feel sets us apart is our dedication to hospitality. High-end cocktail bars can often feel intimidating, so we do our utmost to make everyone feel just as welcome as they’d be in their best friend’s living room.
Is there a neighbourhood in London that you feel a real connection to? If so, which neighbourhood, and why?
I have lived and worked in a few different areas in London and my favourite, by far, is Soho, which is where we are right now. There is a sense of honesty and community in Soho that you can sometimes struggle to find in other central areas. Soho has so much diversity and openness. It feels like a space for locals; and it feels like it will always support the independent business. It’s unpolished and there are definitely problems, but that just reinforces its sense of honesty.
Bar Termini
Mint Gun Club
What trusted ‘less ordinary’ place in London do you find yourself going back to time and time again? 
I consistently love Bar Termini. They are our neighbours across the road, and the people who work there are such wonderful people, and it is just such a nice place to be. Either myself or at least one or two of our team are there every single day.
What are your ‘less ordinary’ hidden gems in London and why do you think they are special? 
Mint Gun Club
in Stoke Newington is a great space. It’s a tiny, independent bar off a main street in north London, but every time I go I end up staying until closing time, making new friends and reinforcing old ones. To eat, I love Ceremony in Tufnell Park. It’s a fully vegetarian restaurant that, if you didn’t look closely, you wouldn’t notice was fully vegetarian. They just make great food, while also making you feel right at home.
Ceremony Tufnell Park
Which ‘less ordinary’ B&Bs, hotels or apartments have you discovered and fell in love with in other cities you travel to?
I love travelling to other cities, and I am very easily pleased when it comes to accommodation. I usually stay with friends whenever possible. Venice is a stunning city, and I would strongly recommend anybody who hasn’t seen it to go do so. The city of Lucca in Tuscany is unbelievable as well.
Interview by Hannah Tan-Gillies 

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