Pop-up Alfresco Dining

This month we are focussing on outdoor spaces and with that we look into the trend of temporary food & beverage stalls. Is this pop-up trend an emerging opportunity for hospitality focused brands? 

Over the the last few years we have seen street food take a more sophisticated approach and some have even been winning Michelin stars around the world. At Design Insider we see this as an opportunity for interior designers and outdoor furniture suppliers to help bring these pop-up dining experiences into the design world.

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Street food is known for being at the forefront of food innovation so why should it fall behind when it comes to design?

BCFA member Hillcross Furniture, offer a comprehensive range of contract-grade outdoor chairs including styles that would suit a pop-up stall incredibly well.

Hillcross say;

“Preparing your outdoor space with quality contract furniture can provide a substantial return on investment for years to come.”

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Robust, UV and weather resistance are key features for these sorts of environments as well as the ability to be able to stack and store the furniture with ease. Hillcross also go on to say that outdoor accessories such as parasols and planters for flowers can add a lovely designer feel to your alfresco space.

As we see this pop-up alfresco market growing more and more, we wanted to find out a little more about it. We sat down with Oxfordshire based, pop-up vintage bar provider Midsummer Nightcap.

What exactly is it your offer and how did you get started? 

After university, a year of travelling and a career in running bars/pubs, I eventually settled on a converted caravan with wood and cream feels, I wanted to make it as adaptable as possible and also wanted it to be welcoming.

I didn’t want to get stuck themed, or to appear too exclusive. I wanted it to be a adaptable bar which works for many events and occasions, from there it has grown into its own event business with everything from creative space dressing and lounges to accompany the bar, tipi tents, two caravan units and event planning and catering.

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How did you come up with your design aesthetic for your bars?

Looking through the internet, at different concepts and designs for ideas. I wanted something old and rustic, but didn’t want to invest in an engine, I also wanted to be able to stand inside in case of the British weather so a caravan was the clear choice. A lot of what I base my designs on now is items and furniture I like, and would love to keep to have in my own house.

I select furniture which I think compliments the look I am going for, a lot of the furniture is from my own house, or what I buy to hope to use in my house one day.

Who supplied your furniture/built your sets?

I did the designs and had people carpenters etc help me put them together, the furniture I find online I use gumtree a lot.

Have you seen a rise in the need for street food/alfresco dining/bars? If so, how has this affected your business?

I have seen a domination of the mobile bar scene by big brands, which is a shame as it really narrows down the opportunities at certain events for more unique mobile bars. I never have the same menu at any event and a lot of thought goes into the set up and drinks offering. Where big brands can spend lots of money on big set ups, and pay a lot of money to have exclusivity at the events. I think it is different for food and there is so many fantastic pop up food places, although there is a lot of competition for them, the ones which have great food do very well.

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Contract quality furniture may not be in the forefront of this type of businesses minds BUT we can certainly see an opportunity for contract suppliers to offer their products. Highly-durable and weatherproof (as unpredictable as England is!) seem to be key issues that can be solved by using quality furniture and finishes.

Another BCFA member, Furniture Fusion has a great solution and material perfect for these kinds of spaces. Furniture Fusion comments;

“With the weather changing within minutes and environment in mind, we at Furniture Fusion believe that concrete is the perfect material for the outdoors.

Forget the cold feeling associated with concrete, our concrete bench and table are designed to absorb the warmth of the sun, which makes them perfect to sit on. The long-lasting material is easy to maintain and can handle heavy use in public areas for years to come, in any weather.”

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If you’ve got a pop-up bar or dining space to design, why not check out the BCFA members here? All BCFA members offer the highest quality products suitable for high-impact areas. 


About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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