I t was the first working day of the week but the bubbles of laughter, loud cheers and glass clinks emanating from LiquidHub bar and cafe created a weekend aura. The joyful noise came from a fashionable, hippy and intellectual group from the media and creative industry who had thronged the bar for a pre-celebration of the 50th birthday of the former Director General of National Broadcasting Commission, Emeka Mba. They had just left Southern Sun Hotel which is a short distance from Olawale Dawodu Street in Ikoyi where LiquidHub is situated. Over there, they had all the intellectual talk on issues revolving around the film and TV industry, organised by the conveners of the iRep Film-Festival. IREP Festival Director, Documentary and film maker Femi Odugbemi; music and creative entrepreneur, Obi Asika; Regional Director, M-Net West Africa, Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu; iREP Executive Director, Jahman Anikulapo; iREP Director Makin Soyinka; Managing Director Multichoice Nigeria, John Ugbe; THISDAY Glitterati Editor, Nseobong Okon-Ekong, fashion designer Austin Aimankhu and former KUSH member, Emem Emah, were among the faces present at that discourse. The talk was over. So, it was time to unwind.
You could feel the camaraderie among the group as they clinked glasses. Everybody knew each other and those who seemed odd in the gathering quickly caught the good vibes. The celebrant was extolled with accolades, pats on the back, and toasts from his friends and well-wishers. Once in a while, the look on his face betrayed the overwhelming gratitude swelling in his heart. Makin Soyinka was the host of the night. He kept checking the tables to be sure that his friends were having a good time. The bartenders and waiters at the hub had their hands full. They kept refilling glasses with wine, champagne, cocktail and whisky, while the guests plodded through the platter of assorted finger foods.
The scenario of that cool Monday evening aptly depicted one of the legends on the walls of LiquidHub: “Good company is a pleasure, good friends are a treasure.”
Similar notes could be found on other parts of the bar. For instance, another reads: “Time to (drink) champagne and dance on the table.” Some of these quotes are accompanied by an illustration of a glass wine.
Evidently, this artistic style speaks volumes of the owner’s creativity. It was last year February that Aderonke Sobodu, the convener of the Nigeria International Wine and Spirit Fair decided to open a premium wine bar and café. Her flair for the art of winery started while she worked as a brand and marketing manager for the South African brand, Nederburg, from the Distell portfolio. That passion led her to take courses in Mixology and other related courses. With all the knowledge gathered, Sobodu has grown to become one of the country’s best wine connoisseurs. Her bar played host to the Wines of South African Grand Tasting Event last year. She also runs Spronks Creations Limited, an event management and wine consultancy company.
Sobodu brings her ingenious side to bear on every part of her bar. Her arty taste and touch can be seen and felt in the setting and décor. Surrounded by restaurants and lounges, LiquidHub stands out with its artistic representation of the services it offers. For example, outside the bar are long benches and tables made from stems and trunks. Some of them have umbrella shades which seemed to be at the mercy of dusty winds.
The first thing that grabs your attention when you step inside is the walls of wines. The way the bottles are lined on the walls is eye-catching. On these walls are variety of wines and spirits. You can find wines like Don Melchor which, according to the assistant manager of the bar, Vongs, is the most expensive wine. There is also the sweet wine Nederburg (1791) which I had and as a caveat, limit your intake to one glass if you have zero tolerance for alcohol like me. You may also want to try the sparkling white wine Saxemburg. The wines on these walls are mostly for sale. More wines are listed in the wine menu and include wines from South Africa, Chile, France and Italy. The chandeliers hanging on the ceiling create a beautiful lighting effect at night.
Another form of creativity is seen at the seating arrangement. Barrels used to store wine are deployed as tables in this bar. A long row of seats and a table is perched on the left side of the bar. This can take a group of 10 or slightly above. There are seats for twos, fours and a private setting for those who need seclusion and intimacy. This particular setting boasts of a couch, single chairs and sofa stools tucked under a mahogany table.
The bar ccounter looked tidy except for the cluster of menus and POS. Try not to look at the cashier side and focus instead on the professionalism of the bartender. Behind the bar is a shelf of wine glasses, another element of the business. You will also find a big glass of wine and other craftworks in the convenience, particularly the ladies. Other décor in the bar include flower vases of dry vines.
There is also the uniform donned by waiters. Printed on it is an illustration of the clock with the inscription ‘It’s Wine O’Clock’.
Apart from its rich array of wines, spirits, cocktails and café, LiquidHub also serves food. Not the normal Nigerian delicacy; pastas, sandwiches, and seafood. Of course, there is the Nigerian platter which consists of dodo (fried plantain), odunkun (fried, sliced sweet potato), dudun (yam chips) and peppered gizzard, akara (bean cakes), and ojojo (wateryam balls) served with chili sauce. Each main menu comes with a wine suggestion. For instance, the grilled salmon fish (pan grilled salmon marinated in fresh herbs served with cream and garlic sauce) can be downed with Cederburg Sauvignon Blanc.
A major takeaway from the bar is the aura it creates. It is a place where people can meet to laugh, whine and cry over a glass of wine. And like the group of friends venting their anger last Sunday at the bar, we have no choice than to agree with one of Sobodu’s scrbblings in the convenience: “I drink wine because I don’t like to keep things bottled up.”
Nigeria Beer Festival Kicks Off
Still in the season of beer festivals, the maiden edition of Nigeria Beer Festival will be kicking off on Monday, September 25. The festival is another tourism attraction and will showcase the country’s rich lifestyle and culture through the various beer brands and alcoholic drinks on display.
Organised by On and One Events Limited, the festival will also promote responsible drinking as well as position brands to connect with new and existing consumers.
Hosted by Lagos State, the week-long carnival-like festival will come to a climatic end on Independence Day, October 1 with a mega concert at the Lagos Atlantic City.
Eros and Gourmet Adds 3 New Items to Canapé Menu
Three sizzling recipes have been added to the sweet and savoury canapé menus of Eros and Gourmet. The Founder and Chief Executive of the catering chain, Chef Eros took to his Instagram page to make this announcement.
They are: Prawns in coconut batter, lemon curd, chilli lime aioli and Vietnamese pickled cabbage; Truffled mash potato croquette in carrot puree, vegetable crisps, pulled barbecue short rib and steak jus; and Bacon and lobster roulade dipped in coriander and yoghurt sauce, lemon curd notes and parsnip puree.
These new additions were launched at a recent event and showcased the creative and delicious part of Chef Eros who realised his culinary dream few years ago. The new menus will usher in a platter of other tasty meals as the season of Christmas beckons.
• LiquidHub is a bar and a café
• It is located at 2, Dawodu Olawale street, Ikoyi, Lagos
• Sells premium wines, champagnes and spirits
• Opened last year February
• Used to have Wine Flights where guests get wines from the rack at a cheaper rate
• It is owned by Aderonke Sobodu, organiser of the Nigeria International Wine and Spirit Fair