Seasonal Pop Up Bars

Seasonal Pop Up Bars

We have all been to or at least head about bars and restaurants with crazy themes or a gimmick to get people through the door. Maybe the most well-known is the 20s style speakeasies all gussied up like a prohibition era bar, complete with a flapper on her iPhone. There are also your basic theme restaurants which are all over big tourist spots. Nashville has several “honky-tonks” around 2nd Avenue that look like a mix of saloons and cattle barns, sans the smell. We also have the big chains like Planet Hollywood and The Hard Rock Café in places like Vegas and L.A.

All of these have themes that are relevant year-round. Speakeasies can be as much a summer thing as a winter thing, honkey-tonks (even the safe mockups) are always fun no matter what day it is, and the chain tourist traps work because of tourists. This left a huge underserved market for holidays that are strictly seasonal. As much as we may love Halloween and Christmas, there isn’t much demand for either of those in the middle of March.

Enter the Pop-Up Bar.

The idea of pop-up restaurants/bars has been around since the early 2000's. Most of these are connected to festivals or such and are set up in old warehouses, factories, or even a private residence. They provide a safe way for savvy people to capitalize on a temporary event, without having to put in a long-term investment. Pop-up restaurants/bars are also a great way for budding entrepreneurs who want to start a place one day. It gives them the chance to experiment and gain experience without having to risk bankruptcy or invest insane amounts of capital.

Another dimension to the pop-up bar phenomenon are the ones that focus on a specific holiday. This is one of those great ideas that took longer to happen than it should have. When the Christmas season gets into full swing, those of us who don’t hate it tend to love it. We are suckers for things like a local farm that gets transformed into a light show you can see from orbit, all the parades, and even the shopping centers that go heavy in the decorations. Why not carry that over to a bar?

Pop-up bars can go that extra mile when it comes to nailing a theme. Sure, a regular bar can throw up some decorations or have a tree in the corner, and even the themed speakeasies and touristy type places can get in on the action. When it comes down to it though, they are still their own thing with a few strings of lights hanging from the bar. There is a huge difference between that, and a place that was designed from the ground up to feel like the December 26th afterparty at the North Pole. There are many variations on the Christmas themed pop-up bars out there. Some play up the nostalgic joy and excitement of being a kid while others recreate a more Normal Rockwell sense of the holidays. If there is a widespread idea for Christmas, there is a pop-up bar that works to encapsulate it.

This is an excellent opportunity for small distilleries. These pop-up bars don't exist in a vacuum. The people who run them have other businesses that often go hand in hand with booze. They may even have several themed pop-up bars over the course of the year. Valentine’s Day, Halloween, or huge festivals are perfect for these hyper-themed up bars. So, get out there and help each other make a name for oneself.