Ad Lib Bar, 246 Fulham Road, Chelsea
November 2002 - December 2006
Dylan Roberts, Owner & Manager:
I opened Ad Lib in November 2002 after several years working in the bar industry. I chose the name because I wanted a strong musical theme featuring DJs accompanied by solo musicians improvising with each other. I’d been influenced by a bar I went to in Albufeira in Portugal which had an amazing flute and saxophone player performing alongside the DJ.
I gained some valuable experience in the following areas: business plans and forecasts; raising investment; setting up a limited company; buying and selling the lease; design and refurbishment of the bar; employing accountants, solicitors, numerous staff; dealing with the landlord and various planning / licensing issues; arranging contracts with drinks suppliers; branding and design; marketing and PR; management and development of the bar over 4 years. By the middle of 2003 the bar had become very popular and in 2004 Ad Lib was nominated by the Evening Standard as one of the 10 best bars in London. I sold the lease at the end of 2006 for £165,000 (originally purchased for £25,000).
4 years of seriously hard work and a lot of parties / good times, thanks to all who made it to the bar, and to some of the amazing people who worked there...
Evening Standard - Bar of the Year 2004 (Top Ten)
“I went to this place for the first time a few weeks ago. At the front of the bar there were the people sitting at tables and the ambience was more chatty.. Go in to the back however.. and you find yourself in a completely different establishment!! Can I just say, who was that dude on percussion...? He actually plays with his head!!! MANIAC!! That dude has to be seen to be believed... all in all I found my Friday night in Ad Lib to be a resounding success. I couldn't recommend it more..." Andy P, 13 June 2006 (www.myvillage.com)
“Ad Lib is a great name for this bar! It is one friendliest bars I've ever been to in London and especially in Chelsea. The music was a funky mix to keep any music lovers toe tapping, after 10pm The DJ knocks it up a level and is accompanied by a guy playing the bongos – it was full on live entertainment. This was my first time at Ad Lib and I took a chance and it definitely paid off. I will be going back. If you want a really friendly night out, then this is the place. Even the doorman joined in with the fun.” Claire 19/05/2006 (www.viewlondon.co.uk)
“Ad Lib is by far the best bar in Chelsea. It has a really cool, friendly vibe to it. The staff are super friendly (let's be honest that is rare in Chelsea!) and the music is fab. If you want a tune on, the DJ will go out of his way to find it for you. The drinks are lovely too, not over priced at all. I would recommend Ad Lib and I for one (and my friends) will be going back. See you there!” Abi Sonkour 06/04/2006 (www.viewlondon.co.uk)
“As I was walking down Fulham Road wondering what to do with my spare time, I stumbled upon a really classy, chilled out bar - Ad Lib. The music was a wonderful variation of all types, the staff were really inviting and the drinks were reasonably priced and not to mention delicious (even for the non-alcohol drinkers!). I'll definitely stop by Ad Lib again.” Anonymous 02/12/2005 (www.viewlondon.co.uk)
“I hadn't been there for ages, but I went with some of my girlfriends on a Wednesday and loved it. The staff were really nice and the music has really improved. The DJ was friendly and played a fab set of R'n'B and house which we were all loving. I'd definitely recommend it and will be making Wednesday's a regular night in my diary!” Joanna 17/11/2003 (www.fluidfoundation.com)
“Wicked bar with a great vibe! I went on a Wednesday night and it was excellent. The DJ was really good, playing wicked R'n'B and funky house all night! The drinks were good if a little on the expensive side, but the staff were very helpful and there were drinks promotions. I'll definitely be going back, hot tunes, hot ladies and chilled drinks, what more do you want!” Steve 17/11/2003 (www.fluidfoundation.com)
“I absolutely loved this place, as soon as we stepped in I was greeted by someone who offered to take my coat. The music was a fantastic mix of latin and soul aided by the beats of a live bongo player, drinks were reasonable and the whole atmosphere was friendly, cool and totally laid back.” Gaby Aung 10/11/2003 (www.fluidfoundation.com)
“Lovely place to chill and start an evening; delicious cocktails and nibbles; DJ is fab, and saxophone player (not sure if a one-off - not always there) very cool - can actually talk to friends over the music; comfy seats and sofas, nice decor and lighting; very cool place - great atmosphere; like it a lot.” FNewman 19/05/2003 (www.fluidfoundation.com)
“This is one of my favourite haunts in London...it's size is perfect for being able to chat to mates without having to shout over the noise, have a bit of a dance if you feel so inclined or just people watch...the staff are all full of energy and help you come down off a hard week, and you never get the same crowd dominating the place unlike some other places I can think of in the area...the dj's excellent as is the live percussionist - gives it that special something... the food's loooovely too! Go go go go go!!!” R, London 08/06/2006 (www.fluidfoundation.com)
“I've been to Adlib twice and both times my friends and I have had an amazing time. Funky music, great cocktails and there always seems to be a friendly atmosphere. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone in the Fulham area!” by: Marcus Alexander, 08 June 2006 (www.worldsbestbars.com)
“Absolutely fantastic! I went here with a few girlfriends two Fridays ago and had THE best time! We had great Thai food and the live band was amazing, especially the saxophone player who was just out of this world! To top that, the staff were so friendly making it an even more memorable night! The only thing I'd ask for is a wider red wine selection.” by: Maureen Mulwa, 03 October 2006 (www.worldsbestbars.com)
“This is one of the best small bars in London... the atmosphere is excellent, always providing the party vibe. The bubbly staff make a mean mojito or vodka martini, the crowd there is always dominated by fitties, the food is good and the DJ and live percussionist really kick off your night the way they should everywhere at the end of a long hard week. Totally worth the visit!” by: Rowe, 08 June 2006 (www.worldsbestbars.com)