A new vegan restaurant, speciality coffee shop, and natural wine bar called Squeg and Bonez will open on Mare Street in Hackney next week. Described as a “dynamic new venue” and an “exceptional addition to Mare Street,” it is the first venture of Holly O’Leary —formerly of Cornerstone in Hackney Wick — and Alice Harry, who has worked at coffee roasters, Monmouth and AllPress.
Squeg and Bonez — which refers to O’Leary and Harry’s nicknames for each other — will operate as a (coffee) brew bar and vegan café during the day, and re-open as a small plates restaurant and a bio-dynamic wine bar in the evening. Single origin (not espresso blended) coffees will also be served in the evening, as dessert pairings.
O’Leary, whose background is in cookery television, will take charge of the kitchen and the wine list. “I feel like I really understand how to achieve the best of the best. We will be more informal than Cornerstone, but we still expect to run as smoothly as a restaurant of that quality.” She says it was at Cornerstone that she “developed a love for low intervention wine,” and will work with favourite suppliers for Squeg and Bonez: Natural Born Wines, Dynamic Vines and Tutto “to bring about an exceptional wine list.”
Harry will run the front of house, “having worked at the helm of London’s best coffee companies for the past seven years.” It was at Monmouth, the pioneering London coffee importer and roaster that “her simple love of coffee became a deep interest in those who grow, buy, brew and finally drink the final cup, and she recognises the importance of every link in the chain.”
“Every coffee has a story and that’s what I love. It’s what drives me to ensure that every cup is brewed well, because the work we do in the shop directly links back to the farmer,” she says.
The full opening menu is below:
The two long-time friends are hoping to offer “outstanding produce in a friendly, creative and welcoming environment.” The name, they say, is a reflection of the “playful nature” of the multi-use venue. “We want this to be a place people can have fun, and relax. We aren’t taking ourselves too seriously,” O’Leary said. Harry, who is also an artist, has “injected her creativity into the space,” with illustrations, pieces of art, and amusing phrases on the walls. “I want it to feel a little silly, a little fun. After all, what we’re passionate about, besides the products themselves, is people. So simply put, we want our customers to have a good time while they’re with us.”
The duo is passionate about their vision, from product to consumer and even the space in between. “Both coffee and the kitchen can be male-dominated industries and we want to challenge that a little,” O’Leary said. “I think the belief that to be successful you have to be a hard-hitting business mogul is changing. We want to nurture, grow and learn from and with our staff and customers — that’s our version of success,” added Harry.
Squeg + Bonez opens at 171 Mare Street, Hackney, E8 3RH on Thursday 6 June