The Loft: a new private-function venue
A new space for private functions, meetings and parties has opened in the heart of Hamilton.
The Loft is in the Emporium Building on Front Street, and is one level up from Flanagan’s Irish Pub and the Outback Sports Bar. All three venues are run by Harbourside Holdings Ltd.
The large room can be configured for all manner of events, from company meetings and training sessions, to birthday parties, baby showers, family reunions or party celebrations.
It has its own kitchen facilities, and as part of the Flanagan’s set-up it can access to a wide range of food and beverages.
In the past, the Outback Sports Bar has also been used as a venue for private functions, but this blocked the bar from functioning as a sports bar for regular customers.
The solution was to take over the empty space above, which during the 1990s was the popular Rock Room music venue. That space is now The Loft.
“This place has lots of history for people. It is a great function room,” said Chris Garland, general manager and director of Harbourside Holdings.
“It is good for birthday parties. Charities can have meetings, you can hold a quiz night. People can bring the concept to us.
“And it can be used for training sessions. It has audiovisual equipment, and we have had companies trying it during our trial period.”
The venue can provide full catering, whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The menu options range from continental breakfast to canapés, sandwiches, wraps, party and seafood platters, to barbecue and carvery buffets and pizza.
The Loft can also handle requests for specific menu items, which can be brought in.
Mr Garland said: “There was a gap in the market for this size of space at the right price.
“The key is it’s in the centre of Hamilton. Sometimes small businesses and groups have to go to a hotel to hire a space and that rental fee is more expensive.”
Since mid-November, The Loft has hosted about 15 events.
Debra Whited, manager of functions and catering co-ordinator, said: “You can create a private space. You could have 50 friends together and enjoy it. We have done baby showers, birthday parties, comedy-themed, Christmas parties, and golf meetings. We can put slide shows on the TVs.”
Feedback during the trial period was encouraging. LaVarr Raynor, franchise and catering operations manager, said: “It’s all positive. You hear a lot of people say it’s what they have been looking for. We really want to push the privateness it offers.”
The Loft has given the company the opportunity to promote Mr Raynor and Ms Whited, both Bermudians, into managerial roles. They have both been with the company for around ten years.
Mr Garland said those promotions are in keeping with Harbourside Holdings’ aim of employing and promoting Bermudian staff. The company opened Divots Bar, Grill and Terrace at Belmont Hills golf course last year, creating jobs for about ten Bermudians.
“As Harbourside Holdings expands, it creates more jobs and opportunities. We have hired five or six chefs who are Bermudians,” said Mr Garland.
Looking ahead, he said this year should a busy one for the business, with the ITU triathlon event in Bermuda and the Fifa World Cup being televised during the summer.
He said last year’s America’s Cup, and ongoing initiatives by the Bermuda Tourism Authority, have been positives, adding: “The investment was done. We are going to see a different type of growth.”