Homeboy X Ockham's Razor Apparel


The Interview

Aaron Wall & Ciarán Smith

It’s not the fact that each year Homeboy gets awarded and nominated major prizes that makes it so good. It’s the two Irish hospo-veterans Aaron and Ciarán and their love for the detail which makes their first own bar so unique. Having worked across some incredible venues throughout their career; spanning London, Dublin and NYC. Homeboy is the product of their dedication and mission: bringing modern Irish hospitality to one of the hottest neighbourhoods in London and the world.

ORA: Tell us about yourselves in a couple of lines, who you are, how ye met and what brought you together.​

CIARÀN: My name is Ciarán Smith and I am the Co-Founder of Homeboy Bar. I’m a very driven and motivated person. Aaron and myself met years ago in Ireland and we always stayed in touch when I was living and working abroad. What brought us together was that I moved to London and we became housemates and the rest is history as they say.

AARON: My name is Aaron Wall, I’ve worked in pretty much every facet of the industry and have a love for hospitality in its truest form. Ciaran and I know each other from back in Dublin and always had the same view of hospitality which is: it’s all about how special you make your guest feel not how you “act”.

ORA: It’s fair to say that that ethos is apparent from the first second you step foot inside the door of Homeboy and there is a smiling face to welcome you. When we last spoke you mentioned the story of a playlist spawning a bar and that is an idea that resonates with us so much, can you talk a bit more about that? 

AARON: The playlist and doing our first bar shift together were I suppose just solid moments of “we’re fuckin’ deadly” (our new, latest Homeboy mantra). We did a shift together in a bar I worked in because I needed Ciaran to do a little disco shift one night and we broke records. Then doing the playlist while on holidays made us realise we are into the same music and want it played in a bar for the same reasons we want our guest to feel either cool or sexy and that is what Rap, Hip Hop and RnB do and I guess that resonates with Irish because a lot of the time that is raw storytelling like traditional Irish music.

CIARÀN: The music policy here at Homeboy Bar is Hip Hop & RnB. Why? Firstly, because we love these two genres but looking at the bigger picture Hip Hop and RnB often have incredible beats compared with other genres of music that is appropriate for every hour of the day. Whether it’s 5 pm in the evening and you’re just building your night or whether it’s midnight and it’s going off I can guarantee you there is a Hip Hop song track for every occasion. Essentially this is how we build our nights here at Homeboy we have 4-5 playlists that have appropriate Hip Hop & RnB tracks to reflect the time of the day and how ramped up we want the venue at those times. If you want to give them a listen they can be found on Spotify or follow the link below.
ORA: What’s in your glass right now?

CIARÀN: Vodka Martini: Dry Vermouth, Lemon Twist.

AARON: Honestly me and Danni Nevsky have been talking about our set menu in the bar and it’s put me on to more of a “Dublin Dynamo”: Guinness, Irish Coffee and a shot of Roe & Co. So funny, seeing as most people that come into the bar for an Irish Coffee almost always order a pint of Guinness.

ORA: Gun to your handsome faces, what one album do you take with you to the other side?

AARON: During lockdown when I started running I solely listed to Malaki the Dublin Hip Hop artist on my runs and to be honest I’d have no problem having some of his tunes on the other side. Like him, I’ve a poetic soul myself.

CIARÀN: Either Drake: Nothing was the Same or Notorious BIG: Ready to Die.

ORA: What is Modern Irish Hospitality to you? ​

CIARÀN: Modern Irish Hospitality for me is the face of the new Irish Bar.

AARON: Modern Irish Hospitality is that warm welcome you expect from a great Irish Bar paired with skill and knowledge that has made us one of the best bars in the world. What we try to make sure in the bar is that we are relevant to all that. It might seem like I’m working backwards here but the book stops with us at hospitality over everything else, our link to Ireland, home, is so important to us to show a Modern dynamic but still fun representation of the Ireland that raised us and we love. For a little island, we have a huge impact.

ORA: You’ve put some thought behind a drink to go with the release of the tee, what did you come up with? ​

AARON: Our Whiskey Smash embodies what we are all about. Rather than being shy and retiring, we are reclaiming the whiskey smash original a shaken mint julep. At the time Irish whiskey was the top-selling whiskey in the world and these drinks were being made in fancy establishments you’d think they’d be using the best whiskey. Fast forward 100 years Dale DeGroff sees the rise of the mojito believes this drink could do with some acidity. We agree we just use spinach in a mint syrup as the acidity. It has an acid very similar to the acid found in apples and most Irish Whiskeys have a tasting note of apple. A little Vermouth and some Orange bitters to round it off and boom.

ORA: What are some of your favourite bars you’ve visited? ​

AARON: Some of my favourite bars are The Stags Head – Dublin: for what was back in the day a €12 special (Guinness and Redbreast 12) and on Christmas Eve with Pat Dowling orchestrating his team and his guests Christmas conviviality. Satan’s Whiskers – London: you won’t get a classic cocktail done better anywhere in the world. London Cocktail Club – London: just consistently a fun night. Cask – Cork: for Chats and Gats. I’d like to think Homeboy has a little bit of each of their footprints in our DNA.

CIARÀN: Beaufort Bar at The Savoy – London. The Dead Rabbit – NYC. The Attaboy – NOLA. Napoleon House Cafe Bar – NOLA.

ORA: Favourite place to smash a quick pre-shift meal? ​

CIARÀN: La Divina – Chicken Caesar Salad. Bar Darling – Tokyo. Bar Swift – London. Punch Rooms Edition Hotel – London. 37 Dawson Street – Dublin.

AARON: There is a mom and pops Italian up the road from Homeboy. Is there cream in the carbonara? Probably. Does it taste delicious? Definitely! Great service simple delicious food. La Divina.

ORA: What is London’s reaction to a not-your-typical Irish bar? ​ ​

AARON: We knew what our USP would be, we didn’t realise how sorely it was needed. Genuine warmth and making it easy for guests to enjoy their night. Simple, right? Seemingly not. If we get to open in Dublin our USP would be speed of service. And if we ever got to open in NYC it would be great drinks, quick and a great time.

CIARÀN: People love it, they resonate with the genuine hospitality.

ORA:  ​The sky is the limit – what is one thing you would love to achieve this year?

CIARÀN: Open a second venue.

AARON: To open a second Homeboy. We operated diligently since opening so don’t owe anyone any money. With that in mind, there will be a time when a small operation like us can be agile and move quickly when rents come down before the big boys and hopefully pick up a great space. Hopefully being able to employ a few more staff and give a little light out of this darkness.

ORA: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk, we can’t fucking wait to come visit again. 

The Apparel


We met through other projects in the past and have enjoyed many hazy nights in their humble Islington venue. Aaron and Ciarán’s concept of Modern Irish Hospitality was already clearly impressed upon us and the design process came through fluid conversation and constant sound boarding. It’s easy to do good shit with good people.

Inspired by old school Irish graphics design from the modernist era we created this timeless collection for youse.

Sláinte motherfucker! 🥃