It’s 2020 and the battle for footfall is fiercer than ever. Slick branding, mouth-watering food and exceptional service – these are baseline expectations. Consumers spoilt by seemingly infinite choices aren’t just looking for great food, quality drinks and a reasonable price-tag any more; they’re looking for the most unique experience possible.
In response, the marketplace is seeing more and more experiential hospitality venues opening: conventional outlets such as bars and restaurants with a themed or interactive component to make for quirky and instagrammable experiences.
Whether you’re looking for inspiration for weekend inspiration or considering how to upgrade your own hospitality offering, check out these 5 hot London destinations doing experiential hospitality right.
A nice bar is a nice bar, but a nice bar with a mini golf course? That’s the setting for your best work-do to date. Brought to you by the team behind Bounce, London’s favourite ping pong bar, Puttshack, uses smart technology to link track your own personal ball so you don’t have to worry about keeping score or playing in turn. Just enjoy the amusing hole designs – from the trivia quiz hole to the drum-roll hole – and try your best to swing straight after your fifth martini.
Originating in Taiwan, the concept of cat cafes has swept across Asia and finally made it to the UK. The simple idea is that enjoying a cup of coffee or speciality tea is far more enjoyable if you are surrounded by cats. And frankly, yeah, it is. At Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium in Shoreditch you can book a 90-minute slot to enjoy drinks, cake or afternoon tea while hanging out with their ‘clowder of wonderful rescue cats’ in their Wonderland themed rooms.
Picture this, it’s a Friday and you’ve finally finished a long week of work. Your friends invite you out, but your hair is in desperate need of a cut. So, you and your friends all head to Blade Soho, the hair salon and bar combined, and they hang around drinking cocktails while you get your fresh do. All prettied up, you head out for round two and the best night of your lives. Pretty cool, right? Blade is pioneering the #hairclubbing movement and making your next haircut something worth looking forward to.
The next venue on our list likely tops the charts for most the instagrammable bars in London. From its kitsch decor to its large UV ball pool, Ballie Ballerson offers sweets-themed cocktails and bottomless brunches in a unique, ethereal environment which harks back to childhood days… but with more booze. High energy club nights make it an interesting option for going ‘out out’, but it’s also well suited for work groups, stag or hen do’s, where the light-hearted vibes make it easier to relax and have fun with acquaintances or colleagues. Either way, be sure to grab some shots for your insta feed while you’re there.
Eating a four-course meal in the O2 with 500 other diners sounds like novelty enough in itself, but throw in an all-singing, all-dancing performance of Abba’s greatest hits and you’ve definitely got a night to remember. A ticket to Mamma Mia! The Party gets you access to the Nikos Taverna on the Greek island of Skopelos, conveniently relocated to the heart of London for the night. Inspired by the success of the West End show and movies, this four-hour immersive theatrical experience brings you slap-bam into the heart of the lighthearted story and its well-loved soundtrack, while providing ample food and wine to help you get in the mood for a singalong. If you’re into musicals, Abba or family-friendly party vibes then this is definitely not one to miss.