Bar Culture & How to Find your Bar’s Identity


Bar Culture


Meeting in bars is still one of our favourite ways to socialise and network. Bar culture continuously regenerates and reinvents itself in line with current trends.

The modern bar culture is constantly changing so you need to be up to date in what’s actually happening in the industry. Your own bar’s culture should take trends into account to be successful.

In this article we’re going to explore some of these trends and how you can tailor your own bar’s culture to meet these demands.

Here are some quick links if you want to jump to a section:

1. Sustainability and Environmentally Friendly Is In… Really In
2. Hey Neighbour, Go Local
3. Specialised Bars Are Fancy
4. Immersive Experiences Are Fun
5. Make Mine a Mocktail
6. I’ll Have a Goats Cheese Tart and Absinthe, Please
7. Change That Menu Up
8. Hello Retro
9. Smooth Velvet Flat White for the Win
10. The Power of… Sport


1. Sustainable and Environmentally Friendly Is In… Really In


This shouldn’t be a trend as such but instead a necessity that every bar should be trying to continuously improve.

It’s not a new concept in the bar industry to be sustainable for happy customers but the importance has increased due to the media coverage and also the age of millennials who will start dominating the presence in your bar.


Sustainable Bar


Nielsen polled 30,000 people and this research suggests 66 percent are willing to spend more on sustainable goods, but interestingly a full 73 percent of Millennials are willing to spend more (Inc).

What’s the largest population in the world currently? Millennials.

Search out how to be sustainable and go one step further by educating your patrons, you will see an increase in revenue and repeat customers.


2. Hey Neighbour, Go Local


Sourcing your food and drink from local suppliers comes with many benefits.

Doing so will help your pour cost, improve your marketing efforts, help with sustainability and last but not least lead to happy customers.

Your pour cost will improve as by going local your delivery fees decrease and you’re likely to use smaller brands that will be cheaper.

Shorter delivery routes will also mean you will be greener, and your carbon footprint will decrease.

A trend that has been around for centuries is the success of storytelling within marketing. By going local it’s much easier to introduce storytelling into your marketing efforts that will lead to happy customers.

Your customers want to know how their new favourite beer is brewed locally or how a local distillery came up with the name of a smooth gin.


Local Brewery


They will also appreciate your consciousness of the environment by going local, so this should be made clear to them from your marketing to how you present your drinks on the menu.

You could also get your bartenders and mixologists to create their own bitters, cordials and grow herbs in house for cocktails. There’s no easier story to tell than a signature cocktail.


3. Specialised Bars Are Fancy


With a rapidly growing population, rise of social media and better targeting for marketing, one trend that is sweeping a lot of nations is specialised bars for specific drinks.

You’ll soon walk into a lot of bars and see pop-up bars such as a gin bar, whiskey bar and vodka bar all under one roof conjuring up different cocktails and tastes.

Each will specialise in a specific liquor, sharing expertise and wisdom trying to ensure the highest of quality. They can then rotate the bars based on popularity, revenue and trends.


Bar Culture Whiskey Bar


Patrons are becoming increasingly fussy with how their drinks are poured and a new standard has been set.

Bars are also taking advantage of better targeting for marketing. For example, it’s now easier than ever to find patrons who love gin. And what better way to market to them by showcasing your new gin bar within your venue.


4. Immersive Experiences Are Fun


Immersive experiences started popping up everywhere in 2018/19 as patrons, especially millennials, wanted more from a bar than just a drink and to meet friends.

There is definitely still a huge market for these types of bars, but immersive experiences have grown in popularity.

Bloc has over 20 immersive bars advertising on its platform from a Breaking Bad themed RV, to a WW2 bunker based on Bletchley.


ABQ London


We were also invited to a War of the World’s experience, where they went fully immersive with virtual reality and fighting aliens.

Are they fads with customers who only attend once? Maybe. Only time will answer that question.


5. Make Mine a Mocktail


The UK is known for their drinking consumption, but this seems to be on the decline.

A study reports the UK’s drink consumption has dropped from 12.6 litres of alcohol (pure) per adult in 1990 to 11.4 litres in 2017. This is a decline of almost 10 per cent, and is going to continue to decrease (Independent).

This is predicted to be because of the increased awareness of the health risks of alcohol and well as a shift in how people spend their leisure time (NHS).

This doesn’t mean the bar industry is dying as binge drinking seems to be on the incline. It just means that you need to cater for those not drinking, or at least, not drinking as much.

Seedlip, a non-alcoholic spirit sold as an alternative to gin, has just been bought by Diageo, a move that analysts believe is proof of the growing popularity of going tee-total.


Alcohol-free bar

You can increase revenue in your bar by going beyond just cokes and soda with cordials. Think bespoke homemade conjunctions like botanic lemonade.


6. I’ll Have a Goats Cheese Tart and Absinthe, Please


Long gone are the days of having a bowl of peanuts on the bar.

Consider creating small dishes and smart snacks that pair with specific drinks on your menu.

For example, a specialised cocktail can be paired with a certain flavour of popcorn. It’s then easy for you to tell a story and build rapport with your customers.


Absinthe Food

Going the extra mile with pairings will increase the likeliness of word of mouth spreading that will eventually lead to dividends being paid in the future via more revenue.


7. Change That Menu Up


Changing your menus works well when sourcing locally. You can supply your patrons with produce that’s on trend or in season.

Keeping your menus fresh will keep your customers engaged and also decrease your pour costs for better profit.


Seasonable Menu

It’s also another chance for storytelling with new menu items and content for your social media.


8. Hello Retro


Cocktails that are riddled with sugar and aimed are women are so noughties.

Iconic high-quality spirits with fresh ingredients are definitely in. Think Aperol Spritz, the Old Fashioned and Negroni’s.

Ever since your grandma’s favourite tipple, the gin and tonic, became trendy, it opened the flood gates for every other retro liquor to be ordered once more.


Aperol Spritz


It’s not just drinks that have come about again, in terms of retro popularity, but also video games, décor and style.

It seems old school is the new cool.


9. Smooth Velvet Flat White for the Win


With a shift in drinking habits and trends pubs and bars are looking for other revenue streams to keep their accounts healthy.

Doubling up as a breakfast venue and selling coffee isn’t a terrible idea.

In the UK for example, JD Wetherspoon branded bars feed 400,000 people a week, a similar amount to McDonald’s. They’re even at the 3rd spot for the most coffees made each week, just behind Starbucks and Costa.



By adding this option to your menu, you can increase revenue and brand awareness to customers.


10. The Power of… Sport


One culture that will never ever go away is our love of sport.

Sports bars are increasing in popularity in line with the rise of the popularity of different sports.

Football still is the most televised and the most popular sport to watch from a bar, but other sports such as rugby, horse racing and boxing are drawing in more and more crowds.

Game bars have also become extremely popular with the revival of classic video games. E-Sports and video gaming from within bars may be a new trend that will hit cities soon too.

It’s not all doom and gloom for the bar industry, but bars need to adapt to supply for changing trends.


Gaming Bar


Drawing crowds, repeat customers, decreasing pour cost and increasing revenue are all goals that should be at the forefront of your efforts.

About Josh Wood

Founder | Writer | Tech Enthusiast