Let’s face it, no matter the options on offer, bars are always going to be a vital part of the social fabric. Providing spaces for people to unwind, connect, catch up and celebrate. But it’s very easy for any popular establishment to become tired and behind the times.
To thrive in a highly competitive market, the key is to find innovative ways for bars to stand out and maintain their presence and (dare we say it) cool factor without continually investing in new fit-outs. So in this blog we’ve put together some practical strategies that bars can employ to tie hand in hand with branding and aesthetics to ultimately create a timeless appeal that keeps customers coming back for more.
Embrace Timeless Design
Instead of chasing fleeting trends, opt for a timeless design to begin with that exudes sophistication and comfort. Classic elements like exposed brick walls, warm lighting, and comfortable seating can create an inviting ambience that never goes out of style. Investing in high-quality, durable furniture and fixtures can save money in the long run and eliminate the need for frequent replacements.
Revamp Your Bar's Aesthetic
If you’re trying to give a new look to an existing space rather than starting from scratch, you can easily revamp your bar’s aesthetic without the need for a complete overhaul. Updating your bar’s look can be as simple as playing around with colours, textures, and decor.
Finishes should work in unison with one another so a holistic approach to a revamp is key. It’s also important to think about your branding. Does it marry up with your current offering or is a rebrand worthwhile? Updating wall finishes, reupholstering existing furniture, incorporating bric a brac and planting are all easily achievable however, it’s important to think about the overall look and feel you’re trying to achieve rather than adding things for the sake of it.
Embrace the Power of Lighting
Lighting can make or break the vibe of a bar. Steer clear of fluorescent lights and place more focus on mood lighting. Install dimmable lights that can be adjusted to set different moods throughout the night and create ambience and mood. Warm, soft lights work well during cosy hours and more vibrant, colourful lights help aid a lively weekend buzz. Add light fixtures that can be easily replaced or updated to add a touch of personality to your space and leave a lasting impression on your guests.
If your bar is open both day and night, it’s worth considering a scene setting control system. They allow you to incorporate pre-set scenes suitable for varying times of day. For example, there may be a brunch, early evening and night time scene, whereby each light is set to a particular level to create a mood suitable for that time of day. It’s an investment, but can take the pressure off staff setting the light levels themselves and provide consistency and efficiency in the long run.
Master the Art of Mixology
Cocktails have become an art form, and a well-curated drink menu can be a significant draw for customers. Invest in skilled mixologists who can create signature cocktails that set your bar apart from the rest. Unique and innovative drink concoctions can become a defining feature of your bar’s identity, reducing the need for frequent changes in other aspects.
Engage with Art and Local Talent
One way to keep your bar constantly fresh and changing is to support local artists and showcase their work within your bar. Supporting local artisans can not only give your bar a distinct identity but also foster a sense of community. Collaborate with local artists to display their artwork or create unique decor pieces for your bar. These one-of-a-kind elements can become conversation starters, elevating your bar’s cool factor without requiring constant renovations. Rotate art pieces regularly to keep things dynamic and organise events to bring in art enthusiasts and create a unique experience that extends beyond a typical night out.
Elevate the Experience
A bar’s success often hinges on the overall experience it offers. Develop a unique concept that goes beyond just serving drinks. Consider hosting themed nights, live performances, or interactive activities that engage customers and create lasting memories. Building a loyal community of customers who value the experience will ensure steady footfall without relying on constant refurbishments.
Stay Active on Social Media
In the digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial. Keep your bar’s social media accounts updated with pictures of happy customers, special events, and promotions. Engage with your audience by responding to comments and messages promptly. Social media provides a fantastic platform to showcase your bar’s unique vibe and connect with potential customers so use it to your advantage.
Sustainability and Eco-Friendliness
Nowadays, it’s cool to be sustainable and people like to visit places that incorporate sustainable practices. Use eco-friendly materials for packaging, straws, and utensils, and ensure proper recycling and waste management. Customers increasingly value environmentally conscious businesses, and adopting sustainable practices can boost your bar’s appeal and reputation without requiring significant financial investments.
Staying on trend and relevant in the bar industry does not have to mean continual fit-outs and major investments. By focusing on timeless design, exceptional experiences and a few quick wins to revamp the aesthetic without breaking the bank, bars can create a lasting impression on customers and build a loyal following. Embrace the unique elements that set your bar apart, and let your creativity and passion for hospitality shine through. By doing so, your bar can stand out and maintain its cool factor, setting it on a path to long-term success.