Great blog from the Barblogger – “Remember that YOU are not YOUR customer”


I am fortunate to work with many bar owners in the course of my work and to listen to their ideas, share their enthusiasm and watch as many of them go on to succeed with very profitable businesses.

Of course there are exceptions to this. There are certainly a large percentage of failures on the bar world and I recently came across two such bars, struggling to stay afloat. Each owner was very different in terms of their management style, the bars were distinctly different yet both catered to an older clientele due to their locations in more affluent neighborhood. They also shared the same problem: Both bars were owned by guys in their late 20s/early 30s, who were trying their hardest to fill their bar with 40 yr old + neighbors at each location.

It quickly became obvious what the problem was. The owners were not their own customers and as is the case in many businesses, YOU are not YOUR own customer. How a twentysomething runs a business will not instinctively be in a way that appeals to potential customers twice his age.

Him playing hip hop loudly at 9pm on a Tuesday night may not be what his target market want to hear, but this understanding often comes only after a failure.

Him populating the menu with HIS favorite dishes instead of his customers is him not being his own customer.

Him offering a Shots menu instead of a Martini menu is him not being his own customer.

Take some steps today to be your own customer.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What newspapers do my potential customers read?
  • Where do they spend their time online?
  • What are the food & beverage trends in my demographic right now?
  • Are you asking your customers if they enjoy their experience?
  • Do you receive regular feedback from customers other than friends or family?
  • What’s important to them on a night out?
  • If they don’t visit my bar, where DO they spend their time?

If you don’t know the answer to any of these questions, you’re more at risk of failure than those that do. While these are steps that should be taken long before you open the doors, as long as you’re still in business, you can “retro-fit” the experience you offer.


Three pieces of irish magic


The magic of Irish pubs continues ………………..

At the recent Galway conference and work shop we discussed the future of Irish pubs –

We see a small resurgence of Irish iconic shows like Riverdance and Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance.  His Celtic Tiger is now unfortunately mis-named due to Ireland’s demise into the Celtic mishap but the content of Michael’s show puts our reputation where we can grow the future of our Irish pub business.

Why –

Because he moved from traditional culture to modern culture and the achievements of the Irish in America and hence everywhere – The influence we had and still have.

In pub culture now in Ireland we flounder in the abyss with some exceptions.

Abroad there is still the Magic when one creates an Irish Pub.

A  MAGIC which we need to foster and grow.

How –

Irish Pub Company is working with three projects that reignite MAGIC.

MAGIC 1 Bucharest

Placing the diversity of our culture in a multi mix projects improves the customer base and allows diversity in design just as Michael’s Celtic Tiger expressed movement of Irish dance from tradition to modern.

In Romania Bucharest we have completed for a great entrepreneur, Noel Tynan – The GIN FACTORY and OLD HAVANA in one large venue in Lispscani Street, Bucharest.

This mix allows a collective prime time day parts on the weekend use.

It has such diversity in design and entertainment that the customers’ pub crawl is in one place.

Yes, GIN FACTORY remembers how Aldous Huxley compared the Victorian pub’s ability to provide an escape from reality.

The Irish MAGIC is the hook and the Cuban madness fits well with that.

Of course, anyone who owns a restaurant that’s called ‘Le Bon Crubeen’ can think laterally enough to run such an operational challenge.


Fado for many years looked at Miami as a location for a flag ship pub and recently settled for Mary Brickwell Village, away from the strip.

It is however, in a hot zone for entertainment, as Kieran  McGill CEO of FADO says “We presented a challenge to the design rule book of FADO with this location”.

In the Fado Miami the Irish Pub Company tested some of the modern aspects of our design expression by introducing Mood Changers as a high light to a modern expression of traditional Irish – what ? yes, quite traditional in value but changes in atmosphere.

These allow a day part change, selected to suit the atmosphere for dining / entertainment / and late night celebration.

In a Miami venue that’s a must – Another touch of IRISH MAGIC.


In contrast to the first two pieces of magic , in Australia the Irish Pub Company have hooked a new  traditional pub with a second venue based on our own rock culture history.

Placed in a Mining Town, the expectation and excitement of a double expression of IRISHNESS is like a bush fire.

The IRISH VILLAGE will start with a mix of Irish traditional expressions in a large venue and an equally large entertainment complex for banqueting and partying.

A design separated not only because of customer profile but scale.

Middle Australia awaits this MAGIC and will soon ‘FIND WHAT THEY ARE LOOKING FOR’ – THE MAGIC!


The Potential for a ‘revitalisation’ of the Irish Pub Concept – Mel McNally, Irish Pub Company

anois…We have long held the opinion that there is enormous potential for a properly conceived (and delivered) Irish Pub concept which moves the original concept into a new realm. Our opinion is founded on the following;

-The global insatiable appetite which we encounter for concepts that deliver sociability, warmth, humour and good times in an accessible and stylised environment.

-The weakness of indigenous Bar cultures – UK, Ireland and Australia excepted – where customers seek concepts of substance which are intrinsically different and engaging.

-The over-exposure of the Irish Pub concept in some markets of less than acceptable quality has led to a dilution in interest  and driven customers away. However that latent demand still remains.


•Is about taking ‘Irishness’ into the 21st Century •Its about presenting an alluring culture in a modern context •Its about dispelling cliché’d imagry and attitudes with dynamic and contemporary alternatives •Its about taking the best of the culture and giving it a new look and new attitude and a new tempo


10 Amazing Bar Interior Designs

Bar Interior Designs make or break a bar. Long before you have had a chance to order a drink, a first impression has been formed. The artists, architects and designers that have created the amazing designs below have  not only created evocative, memorable and visually inspiring decors, they have set the tone and subtly constructed the flow and layout in ways that promote atmosphere and most importantly: help increase sales. Get some inspiration for your bar below, in no particular order:

1. Tote on the Turf, Mumbai, India

White metal pillars branch out like trees as they reach the ceiling, creating the effect of walking down a forest path. Strategically placed skylights in abstract shapes, mimicking sunlight breaking through dense foliage, heighten that feeling. By contrast, the 40ft long bar upstairs is all dark chocolate wood. The faceted wood panels on the walls give the impression of looking through a kaleidoscope, or at paper that was folded to make an origami figure and then opened out.


Design by: Serie Architects

2. Alcatraz Brewing Company, Indianapolis, Indiana

The interior features an industrial motif: glass block flooring at the mezzanine, exposed mechanical ducts, galvanized table tops, and chrome and wood chairs. The back lit trim at the bar is made from recycled bottles. An ”Alcatraz Prison” theme is reflected in the “Golden Gate” bar tables and “prison cell bars” at booth partitions.


Design by: Design & EDG

3. Bluu Bar, Birmingham, UK

In the evening you can venture down to the super sexy basement bar, with its retro design and imagery, black and red leather booths and dance floor. On the ground floor is a bar/brasserie that provides a setting for day to day informal eating, drinking and socializing. Cleverly designed the bar links to the brasserie in a seamless style, where customers dine from the seasonally changing modern British menu.


Design by: Macaulay|Sinclair

4. Bar Missoni, Edinburgh, Scotland

Cocktails are the main lure on the drinks front with Italian inspired drinks like the Basilito (which, as the name suggests, is a basil-based Mojito) and the rather nifty Biennale. There’s a solid wine list and a rather limited food menu too. Yes, design is the dominant force here, which can impact on atmosphere: this is, at the end of the day, still a hotel bar, but in terms of visual invention, this place wins without question.


Design by: Matteo Thun

5. Geisha Bar, Nottingham, UK

The environment is sleekly detailed and glamorous. The large bar is moodily lit, low-seated and impressively detailed, from one exquisitely mosaic-tiled wall to another. Flickering tea lights in red glasses, glossy black chopsticks and dramatically elegant wine glasses sit on stained dark wooden tables.


Design by: Macaulay|Sinclair

6. The Sound Club, Phuket, Thailand

The fantastic lighting, designed by Inverse (London and Bangkok) uses the latest club lighting technology. One of the central attractions is the bar lit by a stunning 19-meter graphic equalizer LED screen that is synchronized to the music that ranges form electronic music, hip-hop and R n’ B to house depending on the DJ and the theme of the night. The walls and décor contribute integrally to creating a superior acoustics and audio environment.


Design by:

Orbit Design Studio

7. Obsidian Bar, Manchester, UK

Obsidian Restaurant and Bar is a sensationally luxurious venue in Manchester. Whether you are after an uber sexy place to have a stylish soirée or an intimate and discreet moment with a loved one, or even an impressive dinner with clients, Obsidian restaurant and bar is the one of the best places to choose in Manchester. Obsidian also has private dining and private hire facilities for any special occasion, party or celebration.


Design by:

Julian Taylor Design Associates

8. Vanity Nightclub, Las Vegas, Nevada

Vanity is an eclectically layered maximalist jewel box of a club- an organized chaos of glinty faceted forms rubbing up against soft cut velvets, deep satins and rich tapestries. It is a mix of saturated jewel tones fused with bronze and gold metallic, antique mirror, rubbed brass and black chrome. References to pearls and hand cut crystal abound.


Design by:

Mr. Important

9. Bangalore Express Bar, London, UK

The décor is modern and sleek and the red, black and beige geometric patterns, large wooden benches and booths catered for intimate group and couples dining, create an atmosphere of easy sophistication. There is draft and bottled beer and an extensive range of non alcoholic drinks including lassies, smoothies and freshly squeezed juices.


Design by: Outline

10. El Tubo, Lima, Peru

Inside, the volume of this long funky house everything abstract – a simple, clean-lined, white bar is equipped with a minimum of bar stools and chairs. The bar is a Tube-shaped structure and has been drilled with holes to allow the soft purple light to penetrate the space. Overhead, a collection of contemporary lighting equipment is a sculpture, artistic addition, creating a stunning focal point.


Design by: Felipe Assadi

Video: Stop making your customers search for you

As more and more businesses attempt to connect with their customers using social media channels, more and more bars, restaurants and cafes are making basic errors that end up preventing any type of connection at all.

This video was prompted by a recent visit to a local cafe, but is one that I’ve been wanting to make for some time. Would love to get your feedback below too.

Watch the video.

The clothing chain Forever 21 have got it right with their social media references, including the URL on all their advertising for their Facebook Page, Twitter Page and Blog: sign

Fill ‘er up – with whisky!

It looks like there’s a whole new meaning to the phrases “tanked up” and “drink driving” after an Irish scientist has perfected a green way to fuel cars with Scotch.

whiskey glassWhile it’s a far cry from rocket fuel at this stage, it appears that the biofuel made from the by-products of Scotch whisky distillation is just as effective as normal petrol and just as easy on the engine, which requires no modifications.

He has patented the process and is currently working with drinks giant Diageo — which owns the Guinness brand — to look at future partnerships with the oil industry to develop the fuel as an alternative to petrol.

It could get confusing when filling the car up, not knowing whether to fill up your glass or the car…

Full (Great) Story here