Incipio Group looks back on Pergola Paddington

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Saying goodbye: Pergola Paddington will shut for good on 21 January 2024
Saying goodbye: Pergola Paddington will shut for good on 21 January 2024

Related tags Incipio Group London

Incipio Group’s rooftop bar Pergola Paddington is set to close, but the operator has learnt and grown from the experience, according to its sales & marketing manager.

The central London-based venue will shut its doors for good on 21 January after six and a half years of trading.

The site venue opened in July 2017 as a use of undeveloped space on Kingdom Street in Paddington Central with an initial two-year lease.

This was in line with Incipio’s strategy​ at the time of taking undiscovered and disused spaces and transforming them into destination venues.

Running Pergola Paddington provided many experiences the company could learn from. “Operating in a temporary space has so many challenges,” Incipio Group sales & marketing director Anthony Knight told The Morning Advertiser.​ “It’s more akin to operating a festival or a bar as opposed to a permanent venue, so that has taught us a lot.”

Figuring out how to operate the space, which could hold 950 guests, in autumn and winter was also a learning curve. “Heating a space that size is not easy,” said Knight.

He added that, in terms of building work, the team also learnt how to use the best resources to operate in a sustainable way.

Moving forward

“It’s a great brand that lots of Londoners resonated with, and taking the essence of what made that venue special and taking it to our other venues is something we’ll be really focusing on,” said Knight.

Pergola Paddington welcomed more than 2,000,000 guests and pivoted from a summer destination to a year-round venue through a series of seasonal activations.

These include Christmas concept Miracle on Kingdom Street, Mexican beach bar concept Pergola Paraiso, après ski concept Pergola on the Piste and Oktoberfest concept Wunderbar.

These are some of the proudest moments in the site’s history for Knight.

He looks back on the Christmas transformation:​ “It was nominated for lots of awards, but what made it really special was, despite everything going on at that time of year, we were able to work with all our suppliers, from dancers, entertainment companies, Christmas tree farmers, carpenters, builders and painters.

“We were able to offer, indirectly, more than 350 jobs to create what was a Christmas activation.

“From that point onwards, we hosted lots of events, and as a result, visitor numbers doubled within a year.”

The initial two-year lease was extended several times while the landlord, British Land, cemented its plans for the eventual development at 5 Kingdom Street into offices.

Paddington pride

Incipio chief executive Ed Devenport said: “We are grateful to our partners at British Land for believing in our vision for the space back in 2017, and for their communication across numerous extensions of the lease.

“We took the site on as a meanwhile use project and always knew that the space would eventually be developed, it’s been a pleasure to bring so many guests the vibrant Pergola experience over our six years in Paddington.”

The team at Pergola Paddington were the first to be told of the closure and staff have been offered roles at other Incipio venues.

Incipio received notice in 2023 that the development plans had progressed and Pergola Paddington would have to cease trading in January 2024.

“It’s a great spot in London, and we’re really proud to be involved in shaping that location,” Knight added.

The Pergola brand will continue on at Pergola on the Wharf and has been earmarked for other potential sites later in 2024.

There are currently no plans to open another Incipio site in Paddington.

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