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What New Bar Set Up It’s Shop Inside of Abandoned Restrooms?

Thanks to a plethora of cocktail lounges, taverns and nightclubs, more and more bar owners are desperately searching for new and inventive ways to lure in customers. One modern marketing tactic relies solely on shock, awe and location, location, location!

Who’s Up for Drinking in a Toilet?

By setting up bars in odd and off-the-wall locations, bar owners hope their businesses will become unforgettable. Using clever themes, the bars attempt to target new, younger segments of the population and turn them into regular customers. And it’s all done under the banner of booze.

Of all the strange locations to open a cocktail bar, London’s newest watering hole easily takes the top spot.

Will Borrell, owner of a bar called Ladies and Gentlemen, set his sights on the former public restrooms in Kentish Town, in Northwest London. Naturally, the community wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of having a bar in what used to be a crowded restroom space. Locals voiced concerns about the inevitable increase of intoxicated patrons, along with public loitering and littering. Borrell says he battled local residents for 18 months prior to obtaining a 15-year lease on the space.

He didn’t want to lose his sense of humor after the long fight, though. So, he created a drink called NIMBY, an acronym for “not in my back yard.”

Borrell restored the underground restrooms, which include a pre-World War Two marble floor, traditional beams, a wall of porcelain urinals and, of course, the toilets. He also added a kitchen to serve hungry guests.

Crazy Locations Worldwide

London certainly doesn’t have the corner market on these strange marketing tactics. Here’s a quick look at some other weirdly placed watering holes around the world:

  • In Zermott, Switzerland, there’s an outdoor ski bar where patrons stay warm with heat lamps and fur-lined bar stools.
  • Closer to home for Americans, Spotty Dog Books and Ale, in Hudson, N.Y was the town’s firehouse from 1889 to 2002. Now one can browse its 10,000 titles and sip craft beer at the same time.
  • In other parts of the world, there is a bar 16 feet below the surface of the Red Sea, a frozen bar—attached to a hotel—that is reconstructed once a year, and a 15-person bar in the hollowed out trunk of a 6,000-year-old tree.
  • In Zanzibar, one can wade off the coast to a tiny island that houses a bar as its only structure.
  • In Playa del Carmen, Mexico, cave dwelling critters, stalactites and stalagmites are drinking companions.
  • Japan boasts bars with resident owls, cats and penguins. You can be served a hot towel by a monkey as you wait for your drink in one of the country’s monkey bars.

The Race to Find Niche Customers

Just as there are plenty of bar locations way off the beaten path, there is also no shortage of off-the-wall themed bars serving up copious amounts of alcohol. Take for example, the Hobbit House in Manila, founded by a former Peace Corps volunteer and featuring all things Lord of the Rings. The Hobbit House also reportedly staffs only little people too.

Another strange themed bar in the U.S. is Donny Dirk’s Zombie Den. Located in Minneapolis, this bar caters to die-hard (no pun intended) fans of the hit TV show The Walking Dead.

Finally, for patrons who are into handlebar mustaches, there’s London’s Windsor Castle Pub. The establishment is an official host of The Handlebar Club meetings and, as you might expect, no beards are allowed.

Additional Reading: ‘Safe Alcohol’ with a Sober Antidote – Too Good to Be True?




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