It's November 2023. The Devonshire’s only been open five minutes. They ran out of Guinness on day two. And when December bookings opened at 10am on November 17th, tables sold out in three minutes. So, in true Soho style it’s already a bit of a legend. The best re-tellings of the full story behind its creation are David Ellis’ account in the Evening Standard and Richard Lander's piece at Citywire. You'll need to copy and paste the links below to read them (rather than me just simply nick all the best quotes and reproduce them here).
Before he even had the keys to this ocean liner of a building on Denman Street, Ois asked me to shoot some simple press and publicity headshots of him, Charlie and Ash for when the news broke.
On seeing the 13,000 sq ft space and learning what they were planning to do with it (seriously, read David and Richard's pieces) I asked if I could shoot the whole transformation as it happened.
Despite his obvious reservations about me running loose around the site with a camera, risking pissing off his builders and generally getting in the way, he said yes. It was a leap of faith. I told him that he wouldn't regret it and that we'd end up with some great images.
I like to think his faith in me was rewarded. We're still friends and these are some of my favourite shots from that six months of rip-out, refit and refurbishment. The monochrome ones will be framed and hung in The Devonshire.
The final image on this page is a portrait of Ois with his first poured pint of Guinness just before they opened the doors. He calls it "a bit self-indulgent". Like the Guinness, I'd call it perfect.
Many thanks to everyone who put up with being photographed as they were busy making the magic happen. Special thanks to the amazing team at Pembroke Design.
The Devonshire Free House can be found at 17 Denman St, London W1D 7HW