Access talks to four mobile bar providers to find out about the latest developments within the sector

From rustic craft beer containers to futuristic tech-enabled units, it seems the possibilities are endless within the mobile bar sector. Providers have seen a huge rise in requests for bespoke, custom-finishes, with clients keener than ever to ensure every element of an event has been tailored to meet their individual specifications.

“Once upon a time we may have delivered an illuminated bar and everyone would have been very happy with that,” says David Hendry, managing director of Bash Bars. “Now, more customers are requesting not just graphics, but a finish in the bar that makes it looks part of the venue and totally at home at the event.”

Andy McDonald, project manager at Simply Bars, believes the move towards making event more experiential has been a driving force behind clients seeking customised creations. “The importance of getting across a strong brand image to guests has led our clients to expect full customisation of colour and finish as standard,” he says. As a result, the company has taken on some significant custom builds for clients. Its converted shipping container bars will be hitting the festival circuit this summer.

Guests have also come to expect a more premium and immersive experience. “Bars have become destinations within festivals or parties and no longer primarily function as just a place to grab a drink,” says Dan Gardner, events manager, Arribar!. Its DIY drink stations such as ‘Pimp Your Prosecco’ have proved popular as they give guests the opportunity to mix and customise their own drink.

Festival bar specialist Peppermint is currently developing themed rum, craft gin and sparkling wine bars to run alongside its mobile wine bar, Wondering Wine, this year. “It’s an exciting time – our insights teams are seeing some very interesting trends at macro level – it will be really interesting to see if they break into the mainstream,” says director and founder Adam Hempenstall.

Adding tech-enabled features such as controllable LED panels is another way clients can look to customise their bars. Simply Bars is incorporating light change panels with its existing stock for 2018 to offer customers more variety. Meanwhile, Bash Bars is considering adding moving images into its units. “Our clients, especially in the drinks sector, could have promotional messages running in the bar as people are waiting for their drinks,” explains Hendry.

With providers continually being encouraged to innovate, we are sure to see some clever creations this year. AAA