Interactive experiences which team food and drink with competitive entertainment are becoming increasingly popular on the urban social scene. As a concept, this is nothing new – bowling pioneered the trend years ago (e.g. All Star Lanes) – but recently a flurry of sports and gaming bars/cafes have hit high streets. Think Haggerston’s board game café ‘Draughts’, Holborn’s cocktail bar and ping pong venue ‘Bounce’, Chancery Lane’s French dining, wine bar and petanque facility ‘Baranis’, and Old Street’s social darts bar ‘Flight Club’. Traditional gaming activities from old working men’s clubs and pubs - which have always been inherently social - are being modernised, reinvented for the 21st century.
A city mini golf venue to be housed in a warehouse by The Gherkin, by the cheeky name ‘Swingers’, is next in line, due to open its doors this May. The originators have gone so far as to coin the phrase ‘Institute of Competitive Socialising’ to describe the new leisure concept.
Competitive socialising’ is just one component of a wider experience revolution sweeping across the leisure sector. Immersive and participatory experiences also play a key role. Often started as pop-ups, the two have quickly gained traction, covering everything from theatre (You Me Bum Bum Train),
cinema (Secret Cinema), music (BitterSuite), through to nightlife (Inception Group), crafts (Drink, Shop, Do) and as ever, the art world (Carsten Holler et al).
Living in a digital era, now more than ever we seek physical experiences and human engagement.
The rise in immersive experiences and ‘social competitiveness’ directly respond to this longing, which is exactly why they are at the heart of the experience revolution.
In a market destined to become saturated, and fast, the ability to constantly evolve is key. To avoid such leisure activities becoming stagnant they must constantly strive to bring something unique, to find innovative ways of using digital channels to enhance physical experiences, and ensure distinction above competition.
Author: Sarah Moor
Totality has already been advising clients on how best to implement entertainment - from virtual golf facilities to cinematic experiences – on a number of schemes. For more information please contact Nick Jones on firstname.lastname@example.org.