It’s safe to say that when the fireworks boomed over the Thames at midnight marking the start of 2020, there were very few people who could have predicted what the year had in store. The Covid-19 crisis has had a huge impact on this country’s economy - and with bars, pubs, restaurants and more ordered to shut their doors, the nightlife industry has hit free fall. But as some semblance of normality starts to eek out, businesses are looking ahead to consider what the future may hold. From outdoor seating and social distancing to delivery, we asked a range of organisations their predictions on life after lockdown for the nightlife industry - and where they’re missing the most right now.
The Immersive Experience Pro: Sebastian Lyall
If the name Sebastian Lyall doesn’t ring a bell, the Lollipop founder’s concepts will certainly be on your radar, including the Breaking Bad-themed cocktail experience ABQ and code-cracking Bletchley. He predicts that it’s the consumer that will change, with home becoming the new entertainment space: ‘I think the FOMO of going out will be subdued and people will be happier spending nights in. This means the industry would really need to adapt to this and reach the consumer where he/she is comfortable’. Lyall believes it will be a long time before busy bars are able to function once more, though the team have created a cocktail delivery service - while, in the meantime he is looking forward to days spent at Shoreditch House once again.
The Activity Bar: Flight Club
They changed the way the world saw darts and now Flight Club is looking into how they can continue their high-tech offering. With a focus on social distancing, the brand is fortunate that the oches already allow for space between groups in a semi-private setting. It’s not just the contact between customers; marketing director Juliette Keyte explains that the menu will be reduced in order to allow food staff plenty of room to work, along with the creation of an app for people to order straight to kitchens. And while she believes that habits will undoubtedly be changed, people will still want to socialise and see loved ones. Her first port of call once lockdown is over? ‘In London it’ll be Forza Win, Padella, Dinerama and Crown and Shuttle. In Manchester, Albert’s Schloss and El Gato Negro, and Tattu in Birmingham. It’ll be such a treat to have someone cook for you or pour you a drink again – it’s hard to know where to start’.
The All-Dayer: The Lebanese Bakery
When he’s not dreaming of a beach bar serving great cocktails for his post-lockdown drink, Samer Chamoun is the owner of The Lebanese Bakery. The entrepreneur anticipates that restaurants will turn towards localism: ‘working with local farmers and suppliers, and a careful selection of products with a lot of transparency in the process with the customers’. For his own business, Chamoun has pivoted to delivery: ‘as a brand we are looking to be more present online, and increase our operational and tech capabilities for online orders and delivery trying to get as much as possible the same experience of eating in and ordering home’. And while he suggests that some fine dining spaces could struggle, in turn there will be a rise of ‘ghost kitchens’ - outliers across the city that exist solely for delivery purposes.
The Swanky Sleeps: The St Pancras Hotel Group
Following the UK government guidance closely, the operations director of The St Pancras Hotel Group is optimistic on the future of the hospitality industry. The group predict a fine balancing act - doubting that diners will want to socialise in a space where servers wear marks and face coverings, but also finding a way to ensure the safety of their visitors. Although the organisation foresee that places with outdoor space will be among the easiest to adapt, they are looking at implementing strict structures across their portfolio: ‘At The Megaro Bar & Eatery, our first step is to look at key operating times, social distancing, cleaning procedures, re-training in both safety procedures, as well as improved product knowledge.’
The Brewery: Fourpure Brewing Co
As well as brewing some stellar craft beer, Fourpure Brewing Co has a taproom in Bermondsey, forming part of the Bermondsey Beer Mile. It’s going to be all about hygiene according to Chris Beaver, the group’s head of trade: ‘(there will be) a huge focus on hygiene, including hand sanitiser on all tables, very strict cleaning regimes and attention to detail. Cashless ordering will be even bigger – it’s already active at Fourpure’s taproom, but I imagine a lot more places will catch on to this’. And a top tip for when this is all over? Beese’s Riverside Bar in Bristol, a cute pub on the River Avon, which can only be accessed by ferry.
The Neighbourhood Restaurant: Sam’s Riverside
With its stunning river views and mix of Anglo-French dining, Sam’s Riverside in Hammersmith is well-established on London’s dining scene. Owner Sam Harrison is aiming to stay upbeat about the current situation, especially given the uncertainty of the culinary landscape once this is all over. The extension of the furlough scheme has been a huge relief, meaning that when Sam’s Riverside does reopen, they can still ensure that their staff are paid. And when businesses are given the green light, Harrison is planning on focussing on ‘an outside terrace, delivery, click & collect offerings and also a new Sam’s Larder retail space’. In the meantime, he’s missing fish and chips in Cornwall and pints at his local, The Parlour.
From cocktail deliveries through to epic bingo games, we've got great ways to stay entertained at home while we wait for bars and pubs to reopen at DeliverMyNight.