The ‘Christmas Bar’ pop-up event in Bournemouth

Where it all began..

Early last year we had a brainstorm in the office, and decided that we would love to bring something exciting, different, creative and fun to do in Bournemouth for the Christmas period!

We wanted to offer something that we would like to go to, and invite all of our friends and clients. So we set about on our research and planning to add another ‘pop-up’ event to our portfolio (to go alongside our Summer Bournemouth Beach pop-up: http://seventa.co.uk/corporate-events-news/westbeach-seventa-on-the-beach/), which would be open during the winter months.

Our aims.. 

We had a couple of main aims for this project, which can be seen below.

  • Create a venue that would be open during the weekdays and weeknights for ‘shared’ Christmas parties, as many local smaller companies often found it hard to find that ‘different kind of Christmas party’ where they could enjoy a three course meal, Christmas cocktails, and the entertainment of a large scale Christmas party, but for the price of a ticket.
  • Provide an experience for all guests, something ‘a little different from the norm’
  • Transform the venue every weekend to create a ‘Christmas themed’ hangout for guests to come and enjoy Christmas themed cocktails, live music, Christmas tapas dishes and ‘street food’ inspired dishes from local food traders.

Where..

The first step in our journey was to find the location. We sourced a venue, in the town centre of Bournemouth which had been closed for 4 months, and entered into negotiations. It was a hidden gem, a truly beautiful open space venue capable of hosting over 400 guests, complete with a separate bar for 80 guests. We’d found the place.

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What to do..

Research time! The venue had been sourced, our objectives had been agreed, so now it was time to design the space in the best possible way, alongside making it look totally ‘Christmassy’! We had to think about so many logistics with the design, to take the venue from three course Christmas meals in the week, to ‘street food’ inspired food stalls during the weekends. Plus we had to get moving on creating 3 food menus with our Head Chef, and an awesome Christmas drinks/cocktail menu.

This did have the added benefit of course, of having to taste test (a lot of taste tasting!) of our three course menus and our unique Christmas tapas menu, and of course we had to help our food stall holders with a little food tasting as well of their offerings! Plus the many nights (and sometimes afternoons!) spent ‘researching’ into the multitude of Christmas drinks and Christmas cocktails that we could offer! That was fun!

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This was a big project, the venue had to be capable of seating 200 guests for dinner, but then transform overnight into an indoor food market. It took some clever planning, but we worked out the best possible ways of doing this (with the help of some nifty CAD software, layout sheets, experience from previous events, and several coffee fuelled brainstorming sessions!)

The ‘brand’..

We move onto the ‘brand’ itself. We felt it was important to create a sub brand for the ‘pop-up’ as it was to be open for six weeks and we wanted people to get to know (and love!) it by name. Upon searching several different options, we couldn’t quite believe it when www.christmasbar.co.uk was available as a domain name! So there it was, ‘Christmas Bar’ was born. We got our lovely designers onto the job of creating an entire brand for the pop-up from logos to menus, from full page advertisements to billboards, and of course a purpose built website: www.christmasbar.co.uk

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Nearly there..

The construction started, we had 8 days to transform the venue from it’s former glory into a fully functioning, winter wonderland ‘Christmas Bar’!

This included, reconditioning the kitchen, custom building furniture such as the long wooden tables and benches used at the weekends (but building them in a way in which we could remove for the week days/nights), installing a stage with a comprehensive sound & lighting installation across both venues, building the weekend food stalls (in a way in which these could be removed in the week), reopening the bars including all equipment and glassware, installing all soft seating furniture such as sofas, poseur tables, bar stools, etc, and of course decorating both venues from top to bottom!

We are open.. 

We opened the doors to the Christmas Bar ‘pop-up’ on Friday 28th November at 15:00, and to our surprise, we already had people outside waiting to get in! What a feeling! After months of hard work and planning, we had our first guests inside. Did we sit back and grab a bit of shut eye? Of course not! Now the real hard work began, of managing such a large operation, in the busiest calendar month of an event planner.

We employed a team of over 40 people in all, to include bartenders, head chefs, graphic designers, DJ’s, security and management. All of which were fantastic, and we still to this day receive emails about the ‘sheer joy of finding a venue that offers brilliant customer service’. This is something which is the backbone of our business, and vitally important to us. We truly believe that the customer journey and experience of any event, whether it’s planning a conference for 2000 guests, or attending one of our ‘pop-up’ events with 4 friends, your experience should be second to none.

A few thank you’s.. 

We couldn’t of undertaken this project without the help of our ever-growing team, a great list of clients and the general public that supported us. We thank you all.

See what we created.. 

You can take a look at our ‘pop-up’ venue in the pictures below – be sure to let us know if you were at any of the events!

Also, make sure to keep an eye out for our future pop-ups! You can track what we are up to by following us on any of our social media outlets or by subscribing to receive updates via our blog.

Videos:

Imagery:

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