Sunday, 20 January 2013

Unusual Bar, Lounge For Art, Intellectual Discourse

By Anote Ajeluorou

It has become somewhat of a given that when you want to discuss art or hold any other intellectual discourse in the city of Lagos, the place to go is on the island, Victoria Island, to be precise. It boosts of venues that have the right ambiences for just such matters. And so from art exhibitions to book readings and discussions, book launches and other intellectually stimulating discourses, Victoria Island is the place of choice.
  But this may soon change with the opening of a new, posh restaurant, bar and lounge on the mainland, specifically in the city’s capital, Ikeja, at one of its highbrow areas, Opebi Road. It’s called Forks & Fingers located at Salvation Road Junction on Opebi Road, Ikeja, Lagos. It’s an ingenuous creation, a vast, open space set in dinning style manner, but with compartments set further deep inside to guarantee homely cosiness that is alluring and salutary.
  Founded by commercial law expert, Mr. Andrew Akporugo, Forks & Fingers will delight families wishing to dine out or simply hang out in a place just as good as home and even more. Akporugo simply described his new place as a “Thinking man’s bar, lounge and restaurant; a meeting place for business people and intellectuals. There are books available for intellectual discourses; projectors and meeting cubicles for meetings and seminars for five to 10 people. It’s a family place for children as well as adults alike. There are ayo and ludo games to delight family and friends, with a wine bar that is arrayed with assorted drinks plus food. Mark you, Forks & Fingers is not a night club”.
  The cuisine is a rich blend of favourite local and continental dishes that are fairly priced. It offers a special buffet on Sundays, an after-church brunch from 11 – 3pm, where families can first digest their sermons before getting home.
  The interior décor of Forks & Fingers speaks volumes about the artistic and intellectual taste of its owner. On Tuesdays, Forks & Fingers hosts a book club from 7 -10pm, where guests freely and openly discuss books and sundry issues such as politics and businesses. On his taste for art collection that dominates the décor, from paintings to ironworks, Akporugo said at Forks & Fingers, “Has a mentally stimulating at ambience – from the art décor, setting to the acquarium, bookshelves and old music tunes spilling from the Home Theatre.
  On his passion for the collected artworks he privately holds (over 631 works of different artists) and from which he has lavishly decorated Forks & Fingers, Akporugo stated that he would hold an exhibition in the future to show off some the works. Among his favourite artists are Olu Ajayi, Sam Ovraiti, Tony Ebodaghe and Soji Yoloye. He said Yoloye is probably the master painter soon to explode on Nigeria’s art scene on account of his immense productivity and profuse use of colours.
  Akporugo, son of latte renowned journalist who rose to the height of his career at The Guardian as Executive Consultant, said although he has set up Forks & Fingers, he was not quitting law practice. Having trained and worked at the feet of Goodie Ibru at his Goodie Ibru & Co law chambers for 20 years, and headed the firm for 10 years, Akporugo indicated he could never have had a more fulfilling law training and practice than he did at Goodie Ibru & Co law firm.
  He noted, “Ibru has been training me to offload me into the world. I had absolutely no problem with my mentor for leaving; it’s just a mutual agreement. He’s my boss for life. Even in this restaurant, I’m in the line of what my oga (Ibru as owners of Sheraton Hotel & Towers group) is doing; learning more from him how to manage a service delivery firm. Don’t forget, my late father, Akporugo, a first class journalist, was a close associates of the late Dr. Alex Ibru”.

ACCORDING to Akporugo, what makes the difference between success and failure in any endeavour in life is the amount of details put into it. That is why at Forks & Fingers, he has taken special care not just to tastefully make the place homely with the décor, he said the amount of care put in place to serve customers was something to cherish. In businesses today, he noted, “The difference will be made for people who go for details. How much attention do you pay to details? I’m committed to details. I look at how the drink is served to a customer, how a customer is handled. Everything I do is with details both as a lawyer and restauranteur.
  “You see, in Nigeria we are wealthy without having class. We have too many wealthy people who don’t know how to do simple things like handling cutleries. We need finishing schools for a majority of Nigerians to get the simplest things right. So, at Forks & Fingers, we want to connect people with class. Unfortunately, most Nigerians think class is expensive; it’s not. For instance, people don’t know that Sheraton Hotel is the most affordable place to eat; it’s not, especially food.
  “So, what you find is that there are a lot of beer parlours springing up everywhere in dark places without class. This should not be so. At Forks & Fingers, we combine class with moderate pricing”.

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