Five Miles (external link) is a popular bar, brewery and state-of-the-art club in Seven Sisters which also boasts an acclaimed middle-eastern inspired restaurant called Torshi. It is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10am – midnight; Thursdays, 10am – 4am; Fridays 10am – 4am; Saturdays, noon to 4am; Sundays, noon – midnight.

Five Miles is owned by Mark Hislop, Mark Shaffer, Deano Jo and Luke Smith. We met with the two Marks to find out more about their business and the Opportunity Investment Fund.

Why the name?

(Mark Shaffer) “It’s because we’re five miles from the centre of London.”
(Mark Hislop) “Actually, it might be something like 5.1 miles but ‘Five Miles’ has more of a ring to it!”

Why Tottenham?

(Mark Shaffer) “We were aware that lots of creative folk were setting up some very interesting stuff here and then the opportunity arose to build a club and bar in this space. I suppose for me the biggest decision was the availability of space which, first and foremost, really does drive a regeneration area, and the cost around here is good for artists and musicians who can’t necessarily afford to set up in Hackney or wherever.”

(Mark Hislop) “Also, we really like the community here. I like going into the cafes, and I get my hair cut around here, and everyone chats to you. We never wanted this venture to be for people who don’t live in Tottenham. Our doors are very much open to the local community. We are very happy being here and I reckon the next few months and years are going to be a good time for Tottenham.”

How did you hear about the Opportunity Investment Fund?

(Mark Shaffer) “Two-thirds of this warehouse is run by Ten87 Studios. They got some OIF money and told us about it. I think it’s fair to say this wouldn’t have happened without them. At the time we were talking to a high street bank and we had got them to tentatively agree to the funding. But when we were told about the OIF this seemed a much better solution and took a whole tonne of pressure off us. Obviously the interest rate is more competitive, because there’s no profit motive there.”

(Mark Hislop) “And one of the other differences is that it’s more about what we’re about, it’s more social, and is tied into stuff such as how much we pay our staff and about us giving out apprenticeships.”

What was the OIF money used for?

(Mark Shaffer) “Well, the whole project pivoted on myself and Luke being able to deliver the club space – a custom-made, class act that is a step away from what everyone else is doing. So, effectively, the funding paid for the build and the equipment as well as all the backroom stuff including the bar and kitchen equipment.”

How did you find working with the council on the loan and wider business support?

(Mark Shaffer) “Dealing with Haringey Council was a breath of fresh air. We met Keith Trotter (Tottenham Town Centre Growth Manager) at a networking event and he is really down-to-earth and straight talking. Keith was meticulous, as were the people who are monitoring what we’re doing, while the accounts guys were good, helping us go through the business plan etc. In fact, everyone we’ve met from the council were great to deal with and I have to say that the kind of support we received was brilliant.”

Would you recommend the OIF to anyone else?

(Mark Hislop) “Definitely, and I have already! I’ve put a couple of breweries onto the council including Pressure Drop Brewery who are good friends of ours. It also means I get a little discount on my beer as well!”

Tell us some more about Five Miles…

(Mark Shaffer) “What we have here is a bar, brewery, kitchen and club. We are open six days a week with events most nights. We have 20 taps boasting lots of local beers such as Pressure Drop and One Mile End and we’ve opened a café/restaurant called Torshi that’s been getting great reviews and features lots of vibrant, healthy food with fresh seasonal salads and sandwiches.

And the club just happens to be a world-class performance and dance space which is helping to put Tottenham on the map. We’re trying to elevate people’s experiences of what a nightclub is and have engaged some physicians who modelled the whole space for us. It’s state-of-the-art stuff and the acoustics are amazing – they really are on the next level and I certainly haven’t heard anything better in a performance space.”

(Mark Hislop) “We’ve had many memorable nights ranging from top DJs to former snooker star Steve Davis doing a set behind the turntables! I’m also involved in running our own micro-brewery which is based just outside in a shipping container. It’s called Hale Brewing and we sell the beer inside.”

(Mark Shaffer) “We always had this idea that we should build something that acts as an incubator. It shouldn’t just be about people getting blotto at the bar, it should be this cultural hub with people and groups of creative folk feeding into each other. We all remember clubs serving dodgy beer, horrible staff and black walls and we are trying to keep the good stuff, which is the sound systems and the excitement of coming into a space, but complement that with great drinks and great people so there’s a real sense of buzz and occasion.”

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