Inception Group

Company information


Shaking things up

Inception Group owns and operates a group of highly original bar, restaurant and club concepts in South West and central London.

It launched its first bar, Barts, as a speakeasy style cocktail venue hidden within a Chelsea apartment block. Even though it was the middle of the recession, the concept took off. And, helped by word of mouth on social media sites like Twitter, Barts quickly developed a loyal following.

“Don’t be afraid to do things differently and obsess about attention to detail”

“Our venues stand out from the crowd and do things differently, while at the same time provide exceptionally high standards of service, food and drinks,” say Co-Founders Charlie Gilkes and Duncan Stirling.

At a time when many pubs are closing, Inception has its eyes on expansion in the coming years. “We are focusing on growing two of our brands: Mr Fogg’s (named after Phileas) and Bunga Bunga,” says Charlie.

“Initially, our expansion plans are focused on opening more sites in London and we anticipate that our workforce will double in the next three years.”

  • 7 – The number of venues Inception Group now owns in London

Duncan is clear about what the government should do to help small businesses – access to finance being one of them.

“A reduction in VAT and tax breaks for new businesses would help increase competitiveness, as would more readily accessible loans,” he says.

For small businesses getting started, Charlie urges budding entrepreneurs to be brave. “Don’t be afraid to do things differently and obsess about attention to detail. Motivate and incentivise your staff, and lead by example by putting in the hours.”