New concept gin bar set to open in Warwick

New concept gin bar set to open in Warwick

WHEN a fun new concept bar arrives in Warwick next week it will open its doors to a ‘unique experience’ for gin lovers, according to its owners.

That Gin and Cocktail Bar, Warwick, Steve Bazell
Mixologist Simon Greenwood in action. Photo by Everybody Smile Photography.

The team behind That Gin & Cocktail Bar promise to take their customers on a gin journey of discovery like no other in the UK, when it opens in Swan Street on Monday. (May 17th)

Drinkers can select from UK Best Sellers, Local Gins, International Gins and Gins with a story as well as the bar’s own infused flavoured gins.

It marks the latest venture for entrepreneur Steve Bazell who has worked in local hospitality for the last 20 years and is one half of the team behind the successful That little Gin & Prosecco Bar in his home town of Stratford-upon-Avon.

That Gin and Cocktail Bar, Warwick, Steve Bazell
Photo by Everybody Smile Photography.

He said: “The core concept is about buying through flavours, not through brands, and giving people a truly unique experience. We want to enable people to explore different flavour profiles by talking to us about what they enjoy so we serve the right drink for them from our extensive range. Its all about finding ‘your’ perfect drink.

“This method of ordering your gin is unique and not something we’ve been able to find anywhere else in the country. I thought Warwick was well suited to this kind of concept.”

Many local distillers are among over 100 different gins to be stocked at the bar, where there will be the opportunity to showcase their local provenance.

“When you go to the bar you often opt for the gin that you know. We offer the customer a choice of a few that fit their description and have a conversation about them. Ideally we’d like people to try something they haven’t tried before,” he added.

“Also, we use a base gin from one of our distillers and infuse it with our own flavouring so that gives us the ability to come up with new flavours that aren’t on the standard supermarket shelf and means it’s a unique gin every time!”

That Gin & Cocktail Bar, Warwick, Steve Bazell
Photo by Everybody Smile Photography.

As well as gin, visitors can select from a range of cocktails, wines and spirits, including five different types of prosecco. And drivers and under 18s can also get into the ‘spirit’ with alcohol-free gins. And there’s even the option of bottling your new-found favourite gin to take home.

From Friday, 21st May, a food menu is introduced, with sharing board options, afternoon teas plus a range of homemade cheesecakes to choose from – including G&T flavour!

But Steve is keen not to detract from the headline act.

He said: “The food is being brought in as something to eat to accompany the gin – but gin is very much the star here.”

That Gin & Cocktail Bar, Warwick, Steve Bazell
Chantelle Lee, Steve Bazell and mixologist Simon Greenwood. Photo by Everybody Smile Photography.

Plans to open in December were stalled by the third lockdown, but Steve, who was aided by a Government grant, is confident That Gin & Cocktail Bar will have been worth the wait for locals.

He said: “I feel proud to see it come to fruition because it’s a concept that was borne out of a conversation four years ago.

“When we took this place on late last year it was with the belief that we were coming out of the pandemic but this suddenly changed so we had to be flexible, which you always have to be in business. Now things are looking more positive and we believe people are desperate to come out again.

“I have a strong feeling that town centres can thrive but businesses now, more than ever, have to offer a unique kind of experience that you just wouldn’t get online. So hopefully this is the format to get town centres vibrant again, by offering something different and independent. It supports a thriving local economy and helps it to move forward.”

That Gin & Cocktail Bar is being officially opened by the Mayor of Warwick on Thursday (May 20th) and, after that, will open 4-11pm on Wednesday and Thursday; 11.30-midnight on Friday and Saturday; and 11am-7pm on Sunday.


‘Local Legend’ went above and beyond for young people

‘Local Legend’ went above and beyond for young people

A Leamington restaurateur’s search to find Local Legends is set to reward an inspirational Kenilworth lady who has made a positive impact on her community.

Jose Ribeiro, of We Love Pizza in Regent Place, launched the campaign in March with the promise of a month’s worth of free pizza for the chosen nominees.

Jennifer Matthews, We Love Pizza, Local Legends Campaign, Kenilworth
Jennifer Matthews delivers Adventure Packs to her Brownies in Kenilworth during lockdown.

Brownie Leader Jennifer Matthews from Kenilworth, was nominated for ‘going above and beyond’ for her pack throughout the pandemic by friend John Thompson.

In her determination to overcome the challenges of lockdown,

Jennifer, who has been a Brownie Leader for more than 13 years, initiated a series of projects to keep the girls at 1st Kenilworth Brownies connected, including personally hand-delivering by bicycle Adventures at Home packs containing crafts, clay and recipes. As the packs grew in popularity, so did Jennifer’s cycling commute!

She also took advantage of eased restrictions to arrange socially distanced meetings in November, even hosting a Brownie Promise ceremony in her front garden. Soon followed popular weekly Brownie Zoom sessions, highlights of which included virtual sleepovers, making Christmas crafts and Easter gardens, cooking marshmallows over a tealight to make Smores and cooking.

Jennifer Matthews, We Love Pizza, Local Legends Campaign, Kenilworth
Jennifer hosts a Zoom crafts session

Reacting to the award this week, Jennifer said: “When I heard that I had won I was lost for words! I have just been doing what I enjoy! I am no different to hundreds of other leaders who have found new ways of keeping Guiding going through difficult times. But my husband and daughter were excited at the prospect of lots of pizza! Thank you to We Love Pizza for their generosity.”

She added: “Running a Brownie unit is not a job that can be done single-handed. I am blessed to be supported by four young leaders and parents have stepped forward to help too.

“Being a Brownie leader involves thinking creatively of new ways of doing ordinary things so I had to find ways of overcoming the challenges of keeping the Brownies going throughout this period, getting to know the new Brownies who had just joined and finding enough helpers and learning to use Zoom. I am not the most technical person!

“Throughout the year, Girlguiding has kept leaders informed about when and where we can meet, in what numbers and the risk assessments, consent forms and other documentation required. As you can imagine there are frequent changes in the restrictions, following all the government announcements, which means that things that are permitted one week may not be allowed the following week.

“This is a challenge for all leaders of youth organisations. So, it comes as no surprise that different Brownie units have had different approaches on when and how to meet. Our Brownie unit encompasses nine schools, so I’ve had to consider the impact of them mixing.”

John Tompson, who nominated Jennifer for the award, said: “I cannot think of anyone better deserving to get recognition. She must have spent hours and hours of her own time sorting all this out. She quietly gets on with all of it without any fuss.”

Jennifer Matthews, We Love Pizza, Local Legends Campaign, Kenilworth, Jose RibeiroJose Ribeiro, pictured right, outside We Love Pizza, said: “For the young generations times of social restrictions are more challenging than for any age group. They don’t have the tools to deal with isolation and are depending on older adults to provide them with safe, positive and caring ways to fill their time.

“Jennifer dedicated her time and energy to making sure young girls kept active and in contact with their friends and what was going on around them, by organising activities and group meetings at times when everything was more difficult, time-consuming and challenging. We applaud Jennifer and sharing our pizzas with her is a way to say ‘thank you’ for taking care of our future generation.”

Jose, whose restaurant has been closed more than open since it launched in September last year, has been keen to give something back to the community that has supported his business throughout those months.

Recently awarded SME Best Pizza Restaurant Warwickshire Award, We Love Pizza is offering a delivery and click and collect service seven days a week from 12 midday to 10pm Saturday and Sunday and 4-10pm Monday-Friday. Orders can be made via a click and collect app, downloadable from the We Love Pizza website or for delivery (£1.50 for orders over £15.)

The Local Legends Campaign also marks the launch of the latest addition to We Love Pizza’s handcrafted Detroit style pizza line – as they ‘bring Detroit to Leamington.’

Visit We Love Pizza at:

British Motor Museum to host Young Drivers Classic Experiences

British Motor Museum to host Young Drivers Classic Experiences

THE British Motor Museum is delighted to host ‘Young Driver’ who will launch their classic car driving experiences on 22 May by motoring expert and TV presenter Quentin Willson.

Events will then take place regularly throughout the year. For the first time youngsters aged from 10 – 17 will be able to take to the wheel of three iconic British-made classic cars.

Thanks to the UK’s largest pre-17 driving school, Young Driver, youngsters can take a spin in a Vauxhall VX490, Morris Minor or Austin 7 with a fully qualified driving instructor. Adults will also be welcome to sample the driving dynamics of three of Britain’s most famous cars, one of which dates back almost 90 years. Young Driver, which more typically offers lessons to 10 – 17 year old’s in brand new Vauxhall Corsa SE Premiums at 70 venues across the UK, prepared to launch the classic car experience in Autumn 2020 – just as lockdown hit and events had to be put on hold.

Having spent the last few months fine-tuning the engines, the classic cars will be available to drive at the British Motor Museum from 22 May. The driving experiences last 15-minutes and those booking a lesson also get discounted entry into the museum. The cost per lesson is £25.

Jeff Coope, Managing Director at the British Motor Museum, said “The Museum is delighted that Young Driver have chosen the British Motor Museum as the venue for its new classic experiences. The mission of the Museum as an Educational charity is to inform and inspire future generations and the addition of these experiences helps to bring the history we share to life. Anyone who books with Young Driver gets discounted admission to the Museum on the day of their experience and can see for themselves how the car they were driving fits into the history of British motoring. Amongst its extensive collections the Museum holds, for example, the first Morris Minor ever produced!”

Sue Waterfield, head of marketing at Young Driver, said: “Since 1903 drivers have needed to be 17 to get behind the wheel – so our pupils will be the youngest to take control of these three classics! Lockdown has meant the cars have had to be rested for a few months, but we are delighted to now be able to properly launch our classic experience.

“We have given more than 900,000 lessons in new cars over the last 12 years, but the Vauxhall VX490, Morris Minor and Austin 7 will give a completely different experience. We are happy to let both youngsters and grown-ups have a go behind the wheel and take a step (or drive) back in time! The nostalgia factor will be huge for anyone over a certain age, but these cars appeal to everyone, they’re absolutely stunning and great fun to drive.”

Quentin Willson

Car expert and enthusiast Quentin Willson, pictured right, who is a patron of Young Driver, added: “Kids driving classics isn’t just fun, it will teach young drivers’ special skills. Being extra delicate with steering, clutch, and brakes, listening to the rise and fall of the engine and getting used to large turning circles will make them more patient and mechanically sympathetic. I think it’s a great idea.”

Young Driver was established in 2009 with the aim of revolutionising the learning to drive journey, helping to reduce the high accident rate for newly qualified drivers by extending the learning period. For more information and to book a lesson please visit

South Warwickshire represented in national awards

South Warwickshire represented in national awards

CHARITY founders and entrepreneurs in south Warwickshire are among the finalists in a national awards, it’s been revealed.

The Family Network UK Directors Victoria Alcock and Laura Morris.

The Seventh Family Network Recognition National Business Awards, which this year rewards resilience as well as excellence, attracted more than 800 nominations across the UK.

The local charity finalists are: Rachel Ollerenshaw, founder of Molly Olly’s Wishes in Warwick and Rachel Key, of Lifespace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon.

The county also claims two of the five finalists in the Small Business of the Year category. They are Nikki Sayers, of Dandy Development in Leamington and Amanda Chalmers of Chalmers News PR, in Warwick. Gemma Joyce of Just Dance in Stratford is a finalist in the Business Mum of the Year category.

Gill Cleeve, from Stratford, is up for Networker of the Year.

Molly Olly's Wishes
Rachel Ollerenshaw, Founder of Molly Olly’s Wishes

Molly Olly’s Wishes:

The charity supports children with life-threatening illnesses and their families to help with their emotional wellbeing. It also grants individual wishes and donates therapeutic books and toys to both children directly and to hospitals throughout the UK.

Reacting to the awards news, Rachel Ollerenshaw said: “Molly Olly’s are honoured to be named as one of the finalists in the Family Network Awards. None our work would be possible without the kindness and generosity of our supporters who help us in so many ways and enable us to support children facing very challenging circumstances.

“It has been a difficult year for us all in many ways, for Molly Olly’s it has been a year when we have seen a sharp increase in demand for our services at a time when fundraising has been more difficult. The families that we help have needed us more than ever and whilst it is always nice to get recognition of our work, hopefully this will highlight the charity and raise awareness so that we can continue to help.”

Rachel Key, CEO of Lifespace Trust


The trust works with families, schools, colleges, community groups and agencies in Warwickshire to offer time and confidential safe for one to one mentoring of children and young people to reduce stress, build resilience and enable them to achieve.

Rachel Key CEO at the Trust, said: “Young people have shown incredible resilience during the last year but many have found it tough. Our mentors, with the help of the amazing staff at our partner schools, have been totally committed to staying connected with young people who need time and space with an adult they trust – by phone, email, online and face-to-face when we could. This nomination is a testament to the incredible team of people who work and volunteer for us.”

Dandy Development:

For the past 10 years it has been running baby and toddler development classes that combine baby sign, music, singing, movement, sensory stimulation, speech and language games.

Chalmers News PR:

This public relations and news and copywriting agency was established two-and-a-half years ago by experienced Warwickshire journalist – and former newspaper editor – Amanda Chalmers, who now has more than 50 clients in her portfolio.

Just Dance:

A dance school, established five years ago, which runs workshops in various styles for boys and girls aged two upwards providing an opportunity to gain self-confidence and learn in a friendly and fun atmosphere.

Gill Cleeve is a former leader of Stratford’s branch of The Family Network and owner of Brookvale First Aid.

She said: “I know how vital networking is. I have connected many businesses and people together and help them create opportunities and build relationships, this has helped their businesses survive and even thrive during the pandemic. When we support small businesses, it’s not just the business we are helping but the person and the community behind it.”

The Family Network, which now boasts 22,000 members across the UK, was established 15 years ago by Laura Morris from Warwick and Victoria Alcock from Stratford. It supports mums, dads and families in business with FREE networking events and affordable workshops, providing online and offline support without the need for membership fees.

The winners will be announced at a virtual ceremony on Friday, May 21st.

Co-director Laura Morris said: “This year has been a very tough one for many businesses due to the pandemic but it is still absolutely amazing to see thriving businesses. We are always amazed at the level of the entries and this year has been no different.”

For more information on The Family Network visit: or contact Co-Director Laura Morris on 07909 534000.

New Foodie Awards category set to find next star food and drink brand for pubs and restaurants

New Foodie Awards category set to find next star food and drink brand for pubs and restaurants

A NEW addition to the inaugural Foodie Awards for Coventry and Warwickshire is set to find the next superstar food or drink brand for hospitality.

The Express to Success Award, sponsored by digital wholesale supply platform Comesto, will identify a producer or business that could be the next star brand for pubs and restaurants and support them in their growth.

Foodie Awards 2021, Coventry BID, Visit Coventry, Trish Willetts, Eat With Ellen, Talk Business UK, Jonathan Smith, Councillor Jim O’BoyleStarted by experts in the sector, Stratford-upon-Avon-based Comesto was born out of a desire to support smaller premium food and drink brands and find a faster, more cost-effective alternative to the traditional wholesale model for both brands and trade buyers in independent and group-owned outlets.

The announcement of the company’s special award in the programme comes alongside support from the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) for the most heavily-contested category, the Newcomer Award.

The new Foodie Awards 2021, in partnership with Visit Coventry and Warwickshire County Council, is a celebration of the best of the region’s food and drink scene, culminating in an event in Coventry in July when the winners are announced.

The latest addition to the awards programme, the Express to Success Award, will not only seek to find the next big brand set to take the hospitality sector by storm, but will give that business the chance to take advantage of support from Comesto to accelerate their growth and put them on the national stage.

All relevant entries already submitted to the awards will be considered for the Express to Success Award, but any additional entries can be submitted via the Foodie Awards website until June 30th. The winner will receive:

  • A place on the Comesto shop with a free business profile.
  • Free storage of a range of products for a year (worth £200) in the main Comesto warehouse and a reduced commission fee (worth up to £1,000) on all items sold.
  • A chance to take part in live tasting events and promotional videos working with other Comesto brands directed at hospitality buyers in golf resorts and other premium sport venues.
  • A promotional in-depth article in the Comesto magazine delivered to over 5,000 hospitality buyers.
  • A free tune-up and advice session from a top local social marketing expert.

Comesto co-founder Valentine Smith said: “We were really keen to get involved in the new Foodie Awards because the ambition it offers for the region ties in so much with what we want Comesto to offer. Coventry and other urban centres have a growing reputation for innovative and exciting food and drink venues alongside the more established offer of quality pubs and restaurants in Stratford, South Warwickshire and across the North Cotswolds.

“The awards aim to promote the best of these alongside the best regional food and drink producers and if the end result is that, assisted by businesses like ours, our local councils, the CWLEP and other business bodies, we connect these together, this has to be good news for both the local economy and the reputation of our region.”

Among the awards categories are the Best Newcomer award, which recognises businesses started within 18 months of the awards ceremony in July and is supported by the CWLEP.

Sarah Windrum, Chair of the CWLEP

Sarah Windrum, Chair of the CWLEP, said: “These awards fit in with my priorities as new CWLEP chair which are focused on innovation since it is vital we push the economy forward by creating skilled jobs for the short and long-term; encourage young people; and concentrate on our town and city centres which will be influenced by the digital industry.

“It has not been an easy time to launch a new business, particularly in the hospitality and leisure sector, which has been severely affected by the pandemic.

“The Strategic Reset Framework which has been launched by the CWLEP is focused on creating the right environment for enterprise and innovation and all the finalists in the Best Newcomer category have certainly shown plenty of that as well as helping to boost the local economy.”

Finalists for the majority of the Foodie Awards categories, including the Newcomer Award, were announced in March. They will go on to be judged by some of the biggest food and drink names in the region, including chef Glynn Purnell; Andreas Antona, owner of The Cross in Kenilworth; and Russell Allen, managing director of Aubrey Allen.

Entries also recently closed for three special awards recognising businesses and individuals who went above and beyond during the COVID pandemic – the COVID-19 Resilience Award backed by Visit Coventry; Food Champion Award and The Godiva Award, sponsored by Coventry BID.

Winners will be announced at an event in Coventry on July 22nd, which will also act as a curtain-raiser to the return of Coventry BID’s ‘Big Foodie Weekend’, which aims to host the largest selection of artisan food producers in the region and will be headlined by Michelin Star chef Theo Randall and TV chef Lesley Waters, as well as offering musical acts including M People’s Heather Small and ex-Spice Girl Melanie C.

The Foodie Awards will also be raising money for The Trussell Trust network of eight food banks in Coventry and Warwickshire.