About Us

we wanted to open a burger bar, so in the spring of 2O14 we went to london to visit good burger bars for inspiration. first up was patty & bun just off oxford st. they were good, very good, “hmm, we need to be that good to be special” i thought. we then went onto pitt cue just up the road in carnaby street. a tiny basement restaurant serving fantastic BBQ food. the setting was hipster & grungy, the kitchen was spotless and the food was awesome. i changed my mind. BBQ is where it’s at, not a one-trick pony like a burger!

so the team and i went back to cambridge and came up with SMOKEWORKS; real BBQ food in an american style, but with influences from all over the world. that was our first inspiration

then we found the quirky little site on FREE SCHOOL LANE which lent itself perfectly to our concept. the food we knew we could nail, but what about the design… what could we do that would set us apart and get the customer interacting with the restaurant. then the lightbulb moment, literally, was the “switch”. no trying to get a waiters attention with a raised hand or british reserve. if you wanted something, anything, turn the switch, lights come on and the team swoop on you! a bit gimmicky? yeah sure, but it works perfectly and people loved it. a gloriously analogue solution in a digital world. so SMOKEWORKS was born and we have been trying to paint cambridge orange ever since!

so, how did we get from smokin’ meat to slingin’ darts? post-pandemic i felt we needed to do something different. i looked at the space we had at STATION ROAD and thought it lent itself perfectly to host the city’s first smart darts venue. so, SLINGERS at STATION ROAD was born. it’s a smart digital darts experience that combines the classic SMOKEWORKS offerings of great food, drinks, and service with a fun and competitive social activity. it has become increasingly clear that people are looking for new and unique ways to enjoy their time out of the house and at SMOKEWORKS, we understand that going out isn’t just about grabbing a drink and something to eat – it’s about finding a way to make the experience memorable and enjoyable. that’s why we’ve decided to add SLINGERS to the menu!


Who's who

Founder, MD & General Dogsbody!

3O years in the industry has led me to SMOKEWORKS. i love great service and buzzing atmospheres in bars and restaurants. add to that mix; great food, interesting drinks and fun people and you’ve got the ingredients (excuse the pun) for a cracking experience!

there are a few words that have become key principles for us at SMOKEWORKS, and they are; BBQ, BEER, BOURBON, FUN, SLOW COOKED. FAST, TECHNOLOGY – new and old (ie the switch) and MUSIC. everything we do has to live up to these principles. if it don’t fit, then it ain’t getting in!

i’m hands-on and always getting involved… or in the way depending on your point of view, and you’ll find me on site every day. while a Londoner by birth, i’ve lived and worked in cambridge for the last 21 years. when I’m not talking about SMOKEWORKS I’m talking about scalextric, and one day I’ll get both my passions combined. watch this space!

Brand Manager

ED grew up in the industry in businesses owned by his family, friends and even a few by himself. he’s also worked in national chains including fullers, greene king and nando’s before joining the team at SMOKEWORKS

starting out as the gm at FREE SCHOOL LANE and then heading over to lead the team at STATION ROAD, he now finds himself in charge of all things brand at SMOKEWORKS. from menu development through to all things social, you’ll usually find him either working on his laptop or with his mobile in hand helping drive the business forward through all things BBQ, BEER, and BOURBON!

Vicky [Vickster]

VICKY, aka VICKSTER, has worked in hospitality venues around CAMBRIDGE for the past 1O years. she started her career off behind the bar, and that’s where she found her passion for both hospitality and also her voice! trust us, she loves nothing more than a good natter. eventually she made her way on to the floor, where she goes out of her way to make sure that you, the guest, not only has a great experience while visiting her restaurant, but that you’ll also remember this experience when you leave!

known to dress up a little when she’s on a night out, she loves a good party and isn’t afraid to help get the party started on a friday, saturday, or any night come to think of it, in our TAP bar or restaurant

“i love how creative i can be at SMOKEWORKS. i can fully immerse myself into the SMOKEWORKS ethos”


IVAN joins us from MESSINA in the northeast of SICILY where he studied the culinary arts for 5 years before moving to the UK in 2O17

“after moving to the UK I thought I was looking for somewhere to develop my experience in fine dining, but instead I ended up falling in love with SMOKEWORKS. the feeling I get when I see ribs coming out of our smoker after being simply rubbed and smoked for 4-5 hours is truly unbelievable!

teamwork is also a key part of working here at SMOKEWORKS, and having such great colleagues around me not only helps me be creative and happy but also motivates me to be my best every day!”

Bookings & Events Manager, SLINGERS STATION ROAD

step right up and meet TOMAS, the bookings & events manager at SLINGERS. with a whopping 15 years of navigating the delightful chaos of the hospitality universe, he’s seen it all; from birthdays, bar mitzvahs, gender reveals, and large corporate events. if there’s a reservation riddle to solve or an event enigma to crack… then he’s your man. so make sure you get in touch if you’ve got any questions about an upcoming event that needs resolving!

when not juggling reservations, you’ll find TOMAS either reading a good book or being a movie buff… sometimes even at the same time!


managing and running our outside events, BEN brings with him many years of experience from working in the industry to help make our mobile events as epic and ‘smoked’ as our restaurants! from grilling on the RIB RUNNER mobile BBQ, to shaking cocktails in various wedding venues; BEN is always out and about spreading the SMOKEWORKS love!

when not working until the early hours of the morning, you’ll likely find him building star wars lego sets; of which he one day hopes to be able to get his hands on the the 7541 piece millennium falcon!


after more than a decade and a half in the hospitality industry, with my journey beginning at eat before moving on to jamie’s italian, before eventually finding my place at SMOKEWORKS in 2O18. my journey at SMOKEWORKS started as an assistant manager at FREE SCHOOL LANE, but after returning from maternity leave, I made the transition to an administrative position, where I thrive behind the scenes!

outside of office hours you’ll find me cycling around cambridgeshire, tending to my garden, or simply cherishing moments with my family