Trendsetting Islington bar celebrates 4 years

�One of Islington’s best-loved watering holes celebrates its fourth anniversary this weekend.

Barrio North, in Essex Road, has been preparing for the birthday party on Saturday that will feature the turntable talents of Oliver Night, DJ for Roots Manuva’s Banana Klan.

Since opening in 2007, the Latin-themed bar has become a firm favourite with Islington’s more discerning revellers.

Perhaps best known for having a full-size caravan on the premises, Barrio has been the scene of many a legendary party during the last 48 months, welcoming acts such as The Nextmen, Trojan Soundsystem and J-Star.


The success of the bar represents fortune favouring the brave for Islington-based owner Ferdie Ahmed, who sank his life savings into the venture.

Mr Ahmed – who was born in Burma (Myanmar) and brought up in Barnet – has opened a second Barrio in Soho and takes mobile versions of the franchise to Glastonbury. Now he is ready to open a third premises in East London.

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He said: “When I first took over the bar I had just left the corporate world and never wanted to go back – that was as much a motivational factor as putting all my savings into it, because I knew if it didn’t work out that is what I would have to do.

“I think Barrio has been successful because a lot of other bars don’t get the basics right. They are busy anyway, so they don’t care about things like customer service, they just want to make profits.

“I asked myself what I like about bars and tried to maintain that – friendly staff, good drinks and a nice environment, not just four walls selling booze.”

Mr Ahmed, who also celebrates his birthday this week, turning 37, says Saturday night should be one to remember.

“Regulars will know every weekend is a party in there, but this one will be bigger and better. We wanted to say thank-you to all the people who have supported us over the years.”

n More information on Barrio’s fourth birthday party can be found at