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Ever considered running a pop-up bar but need some advice on getting started? We have teamed up with Mr Fogg’s Bar in London to find out the best tips for running a summer pop-up bar of your own.

The nights are getting longer and the days are getting warmer, marking the beginning of the long-awaited summer months. Warm toddies and mulled drinks are replaced in favor of fruity and refreshing cocktails. More and more consumers are looking to enjoy their summer drinks in new and unusual places, driving the demand for new experiences often offered in the form of pop-up bars. From Mexican-themed Tequila bars to typically British PIMM’S summer gardens, pop-up bars are adopting all manner of innovative identities. A pop-up bar is a great way to test and try new menu ideas or design techniques and experiment with your current bar offering.


There are many reasons to consider running a pop-up bar.


First, it is an excellent way to increase awareness of your venue. Perhaps your bar is slightly off the main road or in a different area of the city. By hosting a pop-up in areas of high foot traffic during the summer months you can entice customers to your pop-up while also getting the chance to recommend visiting your main establishment. Pop-up’s offer great marketing potential too; Mr Fogg’s in London has run pop-up bars for many years and now runs them even during winter months. Harriet Cuming is Pop-up Events and Marketing Manager for The Inception Group (owner of Mr Fogg’s), “Our pop-ups aim to create an immersive experience that delivers the same uniqueness and entertainment that Mr Fogg's does on a day to day basis. They offer great marketing potential, allowing our brand to be seen and enjoyed by wider audiences. We often partner with various brands such as Diageo, and both find the PR and publicity that is created from a pop-up invaluable.”


A pop-up bar can also be a great way to test a new location. If your bar is considering expanding and opening an extra outlet, a pop-up is a great indicator if a new area would be effective for your bar. By running a pop-up in a location you can gauge how busy it is both day and night, what the local area and clientele are like, the competition and also research practicalities such as parking and access.


One main factor for running a pop-up is the increased revenue it can generate for your venue. For bar staff, there is high incentive to run a pop-up as it offers extra hours of work and also the opportunity to earn tips. Working in a pop-up bar is also a great extra for any bartender résumé as it shows flexibility and experience in working in different conditions.

“It allows us to make new connections and contacts, whether that is from a local point or a wider reach. Recently we were at the Mayfair Awards which enabled us to increase our interaction with the local community. On a grander scale, we built a large townhouse at Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland - the ability for us to create such a large pop-up and deliver such a high standard of cocktails for 43 days was not unnoticed. Pop-ups are a large focus across all the venues of Inception Group this year, having started with Mr Fogg's and seen the benefits of them it is something we are keen to extend across the group.”

How to run your own Pop-up Bar

We asked the team at Mr Fogg’s to recommend their top tips for planning and running a successful pop-up bar.

1. Choosing the Correct Brand to Work With – It is important to ensure you choose a good brand to support your activation and make good relations with your local sales representative and brand team. Good relationships will make sure both your bar and the brand get the most out of the activation.

2. Building a Bar/Structure – It is important to ensure the venue, style and structure you choose reflect the overall goal of the bar you are trying to open. Nowadays there is a huge array of exciting, innovative designs for pop-ups but remember to design and plan within your own limitations and ensure that if you are hoping to run a summery, Gin pop-up that the location, design and structure reflect this. The better the design the better the end result!

3. Staff – A pop-up bar is a speciality; make sure your staff are well trained to deliver the experience and standards expected. If this requires more training in advance it is worthwhile finding the time to do this – it will pay off in the long run with better service making better tips and happier customers!

4. Marketing and Social Media Opportunities – One vital thing when running a pop-up is ensuring your customers know about it! Social media is a great way to promote your pop up with photos and videos capturing the latest news and images, perfect for enticing customers to come down. For regular customers in your original venue, encouraging them to visit your latest pop-up venture is a great way of building on your current good relations. For more top tips on using social media to promote your outlet check out our Guide to Social Media Article.

Want to find out more about Mr Fogg’s? Connect with them on Facebook.

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