Restaurateur Joey Ghazal is founder and managing partner of The MAINE Oyster Bar & Grill in Dubai and recently opened his first London outpost – The MAINE Mayfair in Hanover Square
Why did you decide to bring The Maine to Mayfair?
Mayfair wasn’t part of the initial plan to be honest. We’d been looking at London for four years before we settled on the site in Mayfair. We saw dozens of sites in Chelsea, Marylebone, Soho and even the city, but 20 Hanover Square is such an iconic building and was too good of an opportunity to pass up. It’s one of the only surviving Georgian buildings on the square and we felt an great pride and privilege when designing The MAINE here.
Was the rebirth of Hanover Square a catalyst for choosing this location?
Hanover Square had been under construction for over ten years so it was largely forgotten. It’s really thanks to the landlord, Great Portland Estates, and their vision for the square and for choosing us to be the anchor tenant of the square. It’s amazing how the square has come alive with the reopening of the gardens and I can only imagine what will happen when the Bond Street Crossrail station opens in June.
How would you describe the concept of The Maine?
The MAINE is an American Brasserie and an homage to the nostalgic summers I spent on the East Coast as a child.
How does it differ from your Dubai venue?
The MAINEs in Dubai are pure restaurants, whereas The MAINE Mayfair is the evolution of the brand – live performances, cabaret and nightlife take ‘centre stage’ because the property allowed for it and because of the sheer amount of talent available in London. We truly have the best musicians, singers, cabaret performers and DJs.
Does it attract a similar clientele?
I jokingly refer to Dubai as a suburb of London – I’m constantly surprised how many familiar faces I see from Dubai, although the nightlife element at The MAINE Mayfair does attract a more diverse, fashionable and refreshingly eccentric crowd.
What do you love most about the atmosphere in Mayfair and Dubai?
The sense of event, celebration and the appreciation for the finer things in life – big steaks, fresh seafood, premium wines, world class service, perfect cocktails and great jazz.
What similarities do you see between the two?
No matter which location or which city, you can always expect quality food, great cocktails, friendly service, buzzy atmosphere, great value and massive chandeliers at The MAINE.
How does the restaurant scene differ?
Dubai is a young, exciting and competitive restaurant scene, but to be in Mayfair is to share the world stage with some of the most iconic and the most established brands in the world.
What are your favourite restaurants/bars/hotels/clubs in Dubai and Mayfair?
I do love a Martini at Duke’s, breakfast at the Wolseley and quick bite at Sabor.
The Colony Grill room, Santo Mare, Il Borro.
Where do you go to party?
If I’m not at The MAINE, you will find me at Chiltern, Louie or the Nomad.
How have Dubai and Mayfair changed in recent years and do you think they will see a boom post-pandemic?
There is a lot of pent-up demand following the pandemic and we can already see that people are looking for more than just a night out at a restaurant – they want to be entertained, they want to have options and they want to belong.
Why should Dubai and Mayfair be added to one’s bucket list?
Dubai and Mayfair are built on the superfluous – the biggest and the best of everything.
How would you describe your style – and where do you shop in Dubai and Mayfair?
I’m quite classic in my fashion choices. I love a bit of Brunello Cucinelli, Zegna, Ralph Lauren, Burberry. I’m enjoying the seasons in London and finally getting to wear my winter fashion.
Where is home for you and how do you split your time between Dubai and London?
Both – I’m trying to divide my time equally between Dubai and London. I go where I’m needed the most. The MAINE Mayfair is new baby, so it needs a lot of attention, but winters in Dubai and summers in London is not a bad set up.
What other projects are you currently working on?
We are always on the lookout for new opportunities for The MAINE – Miami, Vegas and Mykonos are on the radar, but our priority is the launch of the terrace of The MAINE Mayfair in the spring and a host of exciting new events and entertainment that are planned throughout the summer.