Restaurateur to champion hospitality and nightlife in the West Midlands
Restaurateur Alex Claridge has been appointed as the region’s new night time economy advisor by the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA).
In his role, he will act as a champion for the region’s pubs, clubs, bars, concert venues, theatres and restaurants as they look to rebuild following the pandemic.
Born and raised in the West Midlands, Claridge has been part of the region’s hospitality scene for over a decade and is currently the chef-patron of The Wilderness restaurant, as well as the owner of cocktail bar and creative studio, Atelier Birmingham.
He said: “It is a privilege to offer my time and energy to the city and wider region that has been so very kind to me over the years. Our region would be a very dull place indeed without the continued existence and evolution of the many spaces and places that animate our evenings.
“It takes a certain talent, character, and energy to work in or run the many diverse businesses that make our evenings memorable. I want to harness that creativity and tenacity to fight the good fight. For many of us operating across the broad banner of the night-time economy, the tigers have found us.
“I know many of my peers today are cornered – rising energy prices, staff shortages, strikes, rapidly increasing costs, and the rest of it. With such talent in our region, it is my good fortune to be asked to serve as the West Midland’s first Night Time Economy Advisor and it is my promise that I will fight alongside you to achieve change. We will fight present challenges together, and we will celebrate the dynamic future I still believe in for hospitality together.”
Julie Nugent, WMCA’s executive director for economic delivery, skills and communities, said: “Alex’s role will play a huge part in the creation of jobs for local people in hospitality venues across the region and we want to ensure that he will look towards generating a buzz for the already exciting nightlife in the West Midlands, as well coming up with ideas to attract new visitors that will bring in the custom for our local businesses to thrive.
“He has already shown to be a huge advocate for the West Midland’s pubs, clubs, bars, concert venues, theatres and restaurants and it will be exciting to see him use his voice to get the best for all businesses and the people who need them.”
Claridge was chosen for the role following a WMCA recruitment process that also involved Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA.