HomeLifestyleFood & RecipesWill ‘good nights out’ ever be the same again?

Will ‘good nights out’ ever be the same again?


His meteoric rise has seen him become a figurehead of the London nightlife scene, a pioneer of cultural innovation in the capital and a true trendsetter in every sense of the word. You might not know his name, but you’ve almost definitely heard of his ventures, if not visited them yourself.

After emigrating from Italy to work as a credit analyst in the City, Luca Maggiora quit the rat race and opened the nightclub LUXX in 2009. It quickly became a success story, hosting secret performances from the likes of Swedish House Mafia, Calvin Harris and DeadMau5, to name just a few.

Other big names under his belt include Project in Fitzrovia and Toy Room on Swallow Street – which has branched out overseas with locations in Rome, Dubai, Mykonos, Athens, and most recently Sao Paolo, Brazil and Delhi – as well as the Cuckoo Club a few doors down.

But his latest venture sees him swap nightlife for hospitality, with the much anticipated opening of Bardo, a high end Italian restaurant on One Pall Mall, in September. Already poised to be one of the hottest new openings in the capital in autumn, at Bardo expect sophisticated Italian dishes, an eye-catching bar home to an artisanal menu, a swanky members lounge and live music every evening.

As a man who isn’t afraid of blending the abstract with the familiar, there’s no doubt Maggiora’s latest project will find its voice among London’s established dining options. But how did he get started on this journey, how does he balance his busy, entrepreneurial lifestyle, and what does he think is the future of a good night out?

We have a five-minute chat to find out.

How did you get started on this journey?

My journey in hospitality started a long time ago, in 2008. In January 2006 I moved to London to work in a bank as credit analyst. I knew since day one it wasn’t going to be my “dream” job but I was where I was supposed to be: London. I worked hard, saved a bit of money and two years later I invested everything I had saved into my first nightclub. I always thought it was better for me to own something small but mine than work for a big organisation where I was just a number.

Having worked in the nightlife industry previously, you opened a wellness centre in London during lockdown. How did you end up moving from one extreme to the other?

People might see this as extreme. I see it as complimentary. The network I’ve managed to create in my almost 15-year career in nightlife will be an essential base for my new restaurant Bardo, and through mindfulness and meditation I’ve learnt how to manage my stress and anxiety to be even more efficient in my work life.

With such a busy, entrepreneurial lifestyle, what’s your key to remaining balanced and centred?

My wife keeps me balanced and centred along with my daily 30-minute meditation routine. My wife encourages me to keep living in the moment and to keep taking breaks throughout the day and the week to do something not work related. I find that healthy relationships are a great anchor in each person’s life.

What’s the future of going out in London? How do you expect the definition of ‘a good night out’ to change in the next few years?

The definition of a good night out is “friends, laughs, music and good times”. This won’t change now or in 10 years time. Human beings are a social species, and nightlife will continue existing for centuries to come.

Do you cook at home? If so, what are you cooking to impress a guest?

Funnily enough I haven’t eaten at home once in the past 10 years. I must have tried every single restaurant in London.

On to eating out – what’s your favourite restaurant in London?

I have many. Each restaurant I go to gives me a different experience and a different cuisine. We are extremely lucky to live in a city where the restaurant offering is so vast.

You previously worked in nightclubs. What inspired you to move into restaurants?

I always wanted to open my first fine dining restaurant. Covid just accelerated the process. Seeing my venues closed for 16 months made me realise it was time for myself to have a plan B.

There are lots of Italian restaurants in London. What will make Bardo different?

Everything. Literally everything. Bardo is not only a restaurant. It is an 11,000 square foot venue with an incredible cocktail bar, a walk-in wine cellar, a 150-cover Italian restaurant and a members lounge. All under one roof. The live music offer will be Italian and the interior will reinforce the idea of bringing the dolce vita back. I envision customers transported to an incredible experience every time they visit Bardo.

Bardo is opening in September. What’s next for you after that?

Onto bigger and better things. Once Bardo opens in London, I already have three more Bardo openings in the pipeline in three other cities in the next 24 months.

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