By nature, co-working spaces breed friendly and community-oriented atmospheres, but with a giant mural depicting members – new and old – adorning its walls, few do so in a more inclusive way than The Brew.
Situated in the heart of London’s bustling ‘Silicon Roundabout’, The Brew’s Eagle House location is a co-working space come “Coffice”, catering for permanent members and hot-deskers in their self-styled “ecosystem”.
With the ranks of self-employed people in the UK undergoing an exponential boom and now numbering nearly five million, the market for co-working spaces is ultra-competitive.
“What’s the difference with us though? We give a s**t – you’re not just a number to us,” founder Andrew Clough tells IPSE.
The welcoming face in The Brew’s Eagle House location is the “Coffice”, a cafe that moonlights as a chic wine bar run by husband and wife, Jonathan Dupont and Anne Roque. Roque – a member at another location – and her husband had long harboured dreams of opening a wine bar, which coincided with The Brew’s plans to open a cafe.
Downstairs, meanwhile, is an open-plan, art deco-inspired co-working space housing some of London’s most exciting start-ups; from designers to developers, architects to engineers.
“We’re not prescriptive; if you’re out there on your own, running your own thing and you’ve got the right attitude, then you’re a big part of our ecosystem,” Clough continues.
“That’s the whole co-working ethos: community. That community aspect you really need to work at.
“We’re a service provider. Our role is to provide great collective workspaces – somewhere you can come in, sit down, and get on.
“But then there’s all the wraparound with the events we run. We do talks, seminars, drinks, elevenses, posh breakfasts – and that part of it is to create an environment where people feel part of something.
“As long as we deliver on our core – which is a creative workspace that works for everyone, all the time – we are doing well.”
Simplicity, practicality and affordability are central to everything at The Brew, Eagle House – the largest of four venues in an exciting and expanding portfolio.
The site, inspired by venues in Berlin and other European cities, is a spacious, open-plan and visually stimulating environment which was designed to promote collaboration, communication and company.
Eye-catching graffiti clads the walls, bicycles and plants fill the room and an emphasis is placed on sourcing everything – from light fittings to desks – locally. The Brew boasts the fastest wi-fi of any cafe in Tech City, whilst membership – whether full-time or part-time – is some of the most cost-effective and flexible in London.
“All the way through my business career, I never had my own office. I always shared offices, up until my publishing company got too big. I built this space in the image of what I would like as an entrepreneur,” Clough, who founded The Brew after he sold his publishing company, adds.
“Our five-year plan is to open 14 or 15 centres in London and other regions. We want to build a network that means people can journey between Manchester or Glasgow or wherever they are, and use our facilities there. When we get to the end of five years, we’ll sit down and decide what’s next.
“This happened out of necessity, but I just really enjoy it. I know what it’s like to run a business. We try to be as reactive as possible and hopefully we can keep that going, and help that grow and drive our business ethos.
“As you expand, it’s about how you keep your core principles. We want to help small businesses and create an environment where people feel comfortable and at ease. I think we’ve got a good product, we understand, and we deliver a great service.”
For more info visit thebrew.co.uk