A bar without walls

Spotted in a barber shop last week. I won’t name names, as I’m not entirely sure how legal it would be…

During last summer, they opened up within strict COVID guidelines, as did the pub nearby. As with most pubs, the pub implemented a technology-powered table service system – just order where you are, and we’ll bring you your drink.

The folks at the pub and the barber shop know each other pretty well, and as with a lot of businesses were trying to help out friends where they could in difficult times.

So each barber chair last year was allocated a ‘table number’ from the nearby pub. You could order a drink whilst getting your hair cut, and they’d pop round with it.

They’ve stopped now, but what a lovely idea. It also reminded me of this from a recent train journey. No need to queue in the buffet carriage any more, just order at your seat and they’ll bring it to you in ten minutes.

The way we think about space and service will keep changing. Can central London bars and pubs operate differently, flexibly, more profitably, if licensing laws allowed bars to be wall-less? Could offices be less fixed, and breathe in and out based on needs, adding local rooms and desks as appropriate?

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