In Jersey, it’s easy for the drinking scene to become stagnant after all on an island as small as ours with a capital that focuses the majority of drinking activities to one area it can be hard to keep things fresh. With plenty on offer, it’s not necessarily the quantity of drinking venues but more the quality. With this in mind a new endeavour by 4 local business entrepreneurs have come together to create a new small but interesting space with big ambitions.
Project 52 is the name and Dan Hare, Dara Lutes-Guest, Luke Smith and Oliver Mourant are the 4 founders behind it. The concept came about after discussing what the ideal venue for a pub would be and in their own words “A place, that would combine our love of socialising with our love of enterprising, bringing together good people in a great environment that would be a home-from-home, a community – with drinking. And maybe pies.”
The location of Project 52 which was somewhat of a secret for many was certainly a good way to drum up anticipation and excitement around the new club, once you visit the back alley, cobbled street in the heart of St Helier, it will certainly be a change to the norm most of us are used to on the island. Once you climb up into the club for the first time, it soon becomes apparent that the space is not huge but what it lacks for in square feet it makes up for in its neat interior styling choices. A minimalist look with hints of industrial and speakeasy touches make the place feel cosy and welcoming, the main bar features a large kitchen style island with open ends either side and a wide selection of beverages behind on its bar shelves. The club is split onto two levels with a central staircase and on the top floor is the private member’s area. On one side you have the cosy, warm members lounge which continues the theme from downstairs but to a higher degree, it features some excellent art pieces from local artist Abi Overland as well as more subtle touches ranging from light fixtures to the honesty bar for members. Finally, we have the all round room. Here members can utilise the amenities as a meeting room or workspace and invite guests to enjoy sporting events on the big screen, the decor will be a much brighter and more work focused atmosphere, however, the room is unfortunately still undergoing its final refurbishments and were excited to see how it finshes.
Laura and I have visited Project 52 during the day and evening as it’s open from 11 to 11 Tuesday to Saturday. The club has a relaxed atmosphere during the day where coffee can be sipped and a book read, a perfect spot to unwind from it all especially with the recent Christmas period. During the evening the pace picks up and becomes more alive with drinks flowing and good company around, best enjoyed with a small group of close friends as the opportunity to interact with others is high.
It’s clear that although in it’s infancy what the 4 founders have set out to achieve is unique for Jersey and certainly worth a visit, we won’t go into the finer details about becoming a member as this is something you can research more about here. Project 52 has a good force behind it and over the next 6 to 12 months I expect it to grow and adapt with demand. The club’s general bar manager Cristian Benta has the experience to make this possible, someone who has been more than welcoming not only to ourselves but others curious about the space. We can’t wait to see how it evolves and hope that P52 will be around for a long time to come.