James English

What inspired you to set up The Gentleman's Academy? I guess The Gentlemen's Academy evolved from an idea we called 'Man Friday'. Friends and I would get together once a month and try to arrange something different, rather than just sit in the pub.?Many of our girlfriends and wives were members of book clubs, fitness or art groups and were great at organising social meets. We tried to fill a hole in the market for men to do similar.?It became more and more popular with friends, and then friends of friends, so Chewy and I took the concept and created The Gentlemen's Academy.?We?love to socialise and still enjoy a drink (or 5) but our evenings create a different focus.

What were your influences for it? The Gentlemen's Academy's main influence is its members, a motley crew made up of everything from graphic designers to baristas, artists to lecturers, DJs to lawyers and film makers to restaranteurs. Their enthusiasm to share and learn new skills and open-mindedness is what makes it work.

What are your future plans for it? We have some new Disco Brunch style events on the way, we are starting to move our educational nights over to London and have plans to improve and develop our website. We set out to do something different, have some fun, meet some cool people and now we are enjoying developing the brand and seeing where it takes us. It's exciting!

We love the Disco Brunch! So do many others obviously - will you expand it? What is there not to love? Brunch, disco, cocktails and dancing. There is no secret recipe, we have hosted it in some of our favourite local restaurants like Coppinger Row and work with some great Irish DJ's. Disco Brunch started as a small, once-off charity event with friends over 14 months ago and has exploded into a regular sell-out. It's an inclusive occasion and its great to gather together members and friends, wives, girlfriends and partners, we've even had our first Disco Brunch couple. We have been lucky to'develop a loyal following of keen disco brunchers, but we also know how important it is to try and keep things fresh. We have flown DJ's like Tronik Youth over from London and will be streaming our June Disco Brunch live on Radiomade.ie, so friends abroad can tune in. We have some big plans and some disco dining spin offs are on the way.

We hear you're moving? What's the beef? Our home will always be Dublin and while we have plans to grow and expand here, Chewy is now based in London and I am going to be based on the East Coast of America. This is far from the end of The Gentlemen's Academy, for us it's just the beginning.


What are you listening to these days? DJ Greg Wilson's classic playlists are the soundtrack to my summer.

If you weren't doing this, you'd be... My background is in sport so I'd guess I'd be some kind of World Champion, that would be my alternative way of bringing home the bacon (bad brunch pun).

Your high five moment (i.e. when a good plan came together) We have had a few high five moments. We hosted an Oyster Masterclass recently at 3FE with World Oyster Shucking Champion Michael Moran from Moran's Oyster Cottage, Galway. The perfect evening for any shellfish glutton as Michael talked us through bucket loads of the finest oysters from around the world. A close second would have been sitting in The Bernard Shaw Pub in Portobello, enjoying our 6.6% IPA 'The Ageing Hopster' that we had made six weeks previous in our Homebrew class. I guess there are always a few high fives by the time we reach the Disco Brunch after party.

Favourite clothing label? Indigo & Cloth in Temple Bar has some great brands like Oliver Spencer, Our Legacy and Norse Project and is usually my first stop for some new threads, but equally love the satisfaction of picking up a bargain tweed jacket from one of the many thrift shops on Camden Street.

Favourite skincare? I love Kiehl's on Wicklow Street but you cant beat a hot towel shave at The Waldorf in London for a treat.

Favourite joke? (go on!) Why was the mushroom invited to the party? Because he was a fun-guy. (I tried!)

By Ellie Balfe, who is excited about the next Disco Brunch this Sunday, June 16th.


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