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Adam Robertson, August 30, 2023

Cornish Creatives x Little Palais

Filed under: Brewing Folk / News
Cornish Creatives x Little Palais

As we welcome back Cornish Creatives to the beer lineup for 2023, we have made a decision to not just focus on those who work in creatives industries but also those who are creative within their industry, be that hospitality, retail or any other business. We will still be seeking out illustrators, designers and artists but for 2023 we're looking to cast our net a little further.

Which brings us to the first CC release for 2023. Little Palais, in St Ives, has been on our radar for some time and we finally managed a visit back in June. To say we loved it was an understatement, it's an incredible mix of really fine food,  low intervention wines and beautiful music, being delivered through some sexy analog sound system. Some wonderful Tannoy speakers I believe.

Think small plate Tapas, drinks to match, set in a Japanese listening bar on the Harbour in St Ives. Truly magical. 

Little Palais, St Ives

We caught up with Richard Crossan co-founder of Little Palais and tried to find out more about where the inspiration comes from and how Little Palais began...

Explain who you are and what you do in one short sentence.
My name is Richard Crossan, and together with my partner Jess Sampson and with help from Jake Lemmon and Sam Clarke, we run a bar and bottle shop in St Ives, Cornwall called Little Palais. 

Who/what do you take the most inspiration from and why?
There's no simple answer to where our inspiration comes from, as it's drawn from so many different places. We are an amalgamation of experiences that span over 20 years.

We've been influenced by friends who've helped us and places we've worked. People like Liam Davey and Drew Gladwell of the Hawksmoor Group have left their mark on both of us at different points in our careers.

Visits to restaurants and bars, like Brilliant Corners, have also played a role. Our first visit there was an eye-opener for how you can create something new and exciting, when we experienced it together 10 years ago. Even the town of Nelson in British Columbia, Canada, inspires us when we lived there. We saw young entrepreneurs doing cool stuff in hospitality, in a place where you just wouldn't expect to see it.

We also strive to be different from what's being done locally. This pushes us in new directions and hopefully, it keeps things interesting. And of course, there's a lot of our own personalities in what we do. Which from an onlookers perspective of Little Palais might make myself and Jess quite a simple pair.

How did you get into your groove?
Jess and I met while working together. Having worked in some pretty decent places along the way helped us warm up the groove, and on several occasions, setting up new businesses for other people—with their money—gave us good experience in how this industry works. We really got our groove going as a couple when we started doing a series of pop-ups under the name “Two Balloons,” our bottled cocktail project. We thought, “We can do this, we can open our own thing.” But the groove can come and go, and we really have to be aware that it needs maintenance and development; otherwise it suffers.

If you weren't running Little Palais, what would you be doing?
Running someone else’s place for them and complaining a lot.

What’s beyond your wildest dreams?
Beyond? Well, for our small business, having our bottled cocktails on shelves and in homes around the world, shipping internationally—that is something truly beyond what we could hope for. The concept of pre-bottled drinks to take home has been with us since day one, and we've still not managed to make them consistently available, even at the bar. But we'll keep dreaming and see where this ambition takes us.

What does Cornwall mean to you?
Cornwall holds a special place in Jess's heart, as it's where she was born and grew up; for her, it means home. I wasn't born here, so my connection to Cornwall is different. Undoubtedly, it's a stunning place to live, and having Jess's family nearby has been a source of incredible support. Working in hospitality though, I have a love-hate relationship with the St Ives. The seasonality and heavy reliance on tourism present challenges and constraints that can make building momentum a yearly, and at times, exhausting exercise. However, the local support has been overwhelming, and the sense of community in St Ives is unlike anything I've experienced anywhere else. 
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