Our first step into hospitality was made by a man named Ron Knowles in 1958, when he opened up a successful Off License in Battersea, London. Ron fell in love with the industry and decided to open up his very first pub 2 years later - The Prince of Wales in West London. He continued to run fantastic pubs opening up 5 across London across the following 2 decades. At this point Ron decided it was time to retire and handed over the young thriving business to his son Keith Knowles in 1982 at the age of just 18.
Keith’s enthusiasm and young creative mind drove the continued development opening up further pubs, up until 1994 when he opened up the very first Belushi’s Bar’ in Covent Garden. With little money and a pretty derelict building on his hands, the Belushi’s well recognisable design was born from reclaimed materials including scaffolding stolen from a nearby building site, and posters from Camden market instead of wallpaper.
You will see this raw and slightly grungy look continue to thrive throughout our branding and venues today. The name Belushi’s was actually born from John Belushi’s from the Blues Brothers. At the time, this was an iconic movie and we played a lot of the music in our venues, which again continues throughout in the music we play from pop rock, indie and classics. (not much of the Blues Brothers is heard these days) Move forward to 2003 and Keith had opened up a further 9 bars across the UK, as well as created and delivered the successful concept of St Christopher's Hostels utilising the space above our bars, providing budget accommodation for backpackers travelling Europe to party, sleep, meet other like minded travellers and quite often work for us in our bars to earn cash before they set off to their next destination!
In 2005 Keith decided to broaden the horizons, and took a trip over the pond to Europe, opening up our first European bar and hostel in Bruges. Then shortly followed Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, Prague then Barcelona. Since then we have opened or acquired a further 5 bars and hostels across these cities. To this day, the business remains a family business, which is one of the main reasons it feels like such a great community and one big family. There is much more on the horizon, and we will never stop exploring and developing. If you think you would like to be part of this next exciting chapter, then jump aboard!