24 May The audacious Australian
Cameron, the owner at OAK N4, has had a fairly chequered career.
Originally from Queensland, Australia he ran nightclubs in Brisbane for 10 years. His beer prices were so popular with students that it was rumoured that the competition had put a contract out on him. ‘These were big clubs with capacities of 1,500 people. I crashed the drinks price to a dollar which got the numbers in but hurt the other club owners in town. I wasn’t their favourite!’
Escaping to London he helped setting up a coffee distribution business and then got a job selling slot machines to casinos. ‘That job literally took me around the world. I sold these things in 18 countries and was constantly in the air. On one trip I got the idea for a wine store through a chance meeting in a shop in Hanover.’ It was the start of an even longer journey that finally resulted in OAK N4.
‘Living in Holloway for the past 10 years, I was more than aware of a gap in the market for exciting wine experiences.
My concept was for a combined wine bar and store. I studied under wine consultant Raul Diaz who still advises the business today and runs our Wine Flights.’
‘I thought to myself that there had to be a way to create a great wine experience without all the snobbery that often surrounds it, so often an intimidating experience for many people. I realised that this was a chance to create something out of the ordinary, a wine bar where you could meet up with friends, a place to learn about wine, and a wine store all rolled into one .’
What you see at OAK N4 today is the result of Cameron’s research, hard work and vision. It’s a relaxing and cool wine bar where you can interact with the knowledgeable and friendly staff. But it’s a full-on job.
‘I like to relax with a walk on Hampstead Heath with my wife, daughters and our dogs. But I don’t get a lot of time free. That’s been the way with much of my career. The difference with this is that I truly love what I’m doing now, and especially the people that come for a glass or to buy a bottle. Customers say they think it’s a cool place to hang out. That tells me I’ve got this place just right.’