Designing a bar ‘Part 1’: The theme
Creating one’s own drinking station that could actually make you money would be many people’s dream. I know quite a few bar/pub owners and therefore am acutely aware of how difficult it is to make a tidy profit though charging people inflated prices in exchange for drinking in their haven. And that IS the basis of a bar/pub – anyone can go the the off-licence and buy a beer for £1, the challenge is to make your premises so appealing that they will pay £4 fore the same beer on a continuous basis. In the restaurant business the same basic premise also exists but with the difference being that far more effort goes into the creation of the average meal than does for even the most complex cocktail. As a result, I would argue, bars and pubs require amazing Design to ensure that the 400% mark-up on a beer is actually a good deal.
One bar franchise that has done an excellent job throughout London is ‘B@1’ where, incidentally, the 400% mark-up is particularly prominent as I ordered a Guinness that was then poured out of a can … Regardless, I am happy to pay to drink in such establishments and even tip for the the can to be poured. Why? The ‘B@1′ theme hits the nail on the head. The theme is’friendliness’ and I mean ‘Deep South American Friendliness’. Upon entry you are greeted by the bar staff like you are a local and they actually talk to you. One’s first impression of this can be shock and horror (don’t talk to me, I don’t like to talk) but once you get use to it you notice that it enhances the drinking experience. What has this to do with Design you say – nothing, but it is a starting point from which Design can sprout.