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2008 industry predictions

Published:  23 July, 2008

Robbie Bargh, owner, Gorgeous Group

Fashionable is a dangerous word as it implies faddish. What will do well next year will be those concepts that will divide into two areas. Convenience and Experience.

Convenience bars that offer that little bit more, simple great quality food and dink for value for money prices with a great story to tell will do well. Around the Uk bars like this are few and far between. Ramsay's Gastropubs will do well as will establishments such as Geronimo Inns and The Living Room group. I long to be asked to work with the guys at Mitchells and Butler and Punch Taverns.

Regarding the experience end - this will grow massively too. There will be more destination luxury bars where trading up will continue to be the norm. This will more than likely be opened in luxury hotels. The private club world will also have a shake up, at least two more opening in capital - The Ivy gets one and The Soho House empire will grow even more. Oh and watch the Mahiki guys they will be dipping their toes into the world of International Hotel Chains associated to Paris Hilton by opening a venue spitting distance from their Mayfair Tikki bar. Lastly Airport eating and drinking will shake up with Terminal 5 along with Carluccios, Ramsay etc Gorgeous Group will be fronting a new fantastic cocktail bar concept smack bang in the middle of duty free. The idea being you try the drink, you buy the product to take home and you go and re - create.

What will fall out of fashion?

Mid end fashion bars, clubs etc. All bar one, fine line what ever they are called now - they need a good shake up. Out of town hotel bars will get better but only in Hotels who understand the value of creating eating and drinking experiences to fill their rooms. Malmaison, Abode, Hotel Du Vin, Radisson, are all looking at their bar offerings.

When it comes to cocktails, out will go over mixology prickly pear "whatevers" we will continue to see more and more classics on the list. We will be drinking less but better. Daiquiris, Manhattans, Martinis, Gimlets etc. Watch out also for big stories on luxury gin Tanqueray No Ten, Tom Estes and his Tequila, The Dorchester's Old Tom Gin, Bacardi Legacy Cocktails, Beefeater London Classic drinks and Malts just got sexy with Johnnie Walker Blue shaking up its image with a younger, cooler approach. People will trade up and trade down with their cocktails. For this reason we need to see much better education programs behind the brands we are told what to drink.. Also other things to look out for. Selfridges will open its brighter and better Moet Bar. People will be drinking more at home especially when they can buy great cocktail mixer products such as Funkin and Stirrings and finally we will see Champagne selling more and more, with Rose being the big buy for let's hope a gorgeous summer...