“Buy the ticket, take the ride” as Hunter S. Thompson once said. We were there at the beginning when the MEATwagon would revive the hungry punters of South-East London’s finest hostelries. Through the happy chaos of MEATeasy to the slick international operation of today - we found the tunes and they made them louder.
MEATliquor, the legendary burger joint founded by Yianni Papoutsis and Scott Collins, has become an eleven plus chain of Happy Days meets Burning Man themed restaurants with sites from Leeds to Singapore.
Serving up nirvana-inducing, artery-clogging “dead hippie” burgers, buffalo chicken wings and with a cocktail list featuring The Donkey Punch and The New Cross Negroni, the restaurants have acquired cult status and, for many, become a lifestyle choice.
The brief was to always remember the 3 Rs: it has to be Raucous, Relentless, Rowdy and absolutely no BBC - Beatles, Bieber or Coldplay.
From Iron Maiden to Dolly Parton, taking in Yianni's love of bluegrass, Scott's old-skool hip-hop classics and with just the right splash of The Fall mixed in. As long it was MEAT-ey, it was on the menu.
Finally Scott, as an early champion of our Secret DJ app, wanted us to create jukeboxes that ensured both punters and staff were front and centre when it came to controlling the vibe - this is the MEATliquor way.
Oli worked closely with Yianni, exchanging playlists and bouncing off each other over whiskey with meat chasers.
Initial ideas coalesced around Americana taking in Blues, Heavy Rock & Hip Hop. This evolved over time to include some fine Punk, Disco, Reggae & Electro moments.
Overtime, it became clear that sometimes Oli would have to be a voice of reason, toning down some of Yianni’s more brutal Dead Kennedys delivered short, sharp, shocks to fragile feeling Sunday brunchers.
Nevertheless, the trust was there and over many a windswept Peckham night, a sound was created that was unique and faithful to the MEAThos.
Four years on, the ever-twisting and turning MEATliquor soundtrack is still as distinctive a part of the brand as the Triple-Chilli-Challenge for which we provide the theme tune.
Scott and Yianni are always coming to us with new ideas and challenges and we’re very proud that they consider us part of the MEATliquor family.
"With all of our ventures we try to work with the best talent we can to make up for skills we lack. Scott doesn't claim to be a bar manager and I don't claim to be a head chef. We like getting people involved and pooling talent.
Often that can end up feeling like you're herding very drunk cats but not with c-burn. They nailed it from the off, though we've also enjoyed a few jars with them too.
The music they put together for our first ventures really captured what we're about, a bit Gonzo in spirit - we knew we'd found like-minded folks we could trust.
Since then, they've collaborated closely with us to create and evolve tailor-made playlists for each of our venues.
Whenever we've brought new ideas and concepts to them they've been as excited as we are and came up trumps again with CHICKENliquor's music.
We even let them loose with their own show on our radio station MEATtransMISSION.
Their Secret DJ app also fits what we're about, letting customers add to the atmosphere and be part of the experience."