The appeal of a unique speakeasy bar

This month Amadeus launched their 1920s themed speakeasy at Arena Birmingham with an aim to drive footfall and increase dwell time.

With an approach focused on word of mouth marketing, the new bar was purposefully kept a secret and makes one ask if themed bars driven by different marketing tactics is the best way to make a positive impact.

For live event fans, attending shows at the Arena, they can now soak up a pre-event drink at The Garrison, an intimate 60-person capacity bar transporting customers back to the era of the 1920’s.

The main appeal of a speakeasy is often discovering one by accident, stumbling across it – and this is what Amadeus are achieving with their new bar. Visitors know they will find premium gins and whiskeys, alongside popular choices from local brewers Sadlers. The aim behind it all is creating an attractive area for customers to dwell. 

“Our innovative food and drink offering, while also providing added value to the venue.”

Social media often secret bars in a tough spot. Many rely on platforms to get word out about new offerings and customers now expect to preview the bars they go to online and find new venues through buzz. Therein lies the difficulty for an incognito theme. The advantage for Amadeus is visitors will be at Arena Birmingham anyway and may find the bar whilst looking for a pre or post show drink – such as at Jeff Lynne’s ELO where the bar was launched.

The Garrison has been designed and delivered by Amadeus and in a first for the venue, catering staff will wear 1920’s dress to serve customers. The speakeasy will also stay open an hour after each performance has finished as the Arena’s official post-show bar, giving people a chance to relax and unwind before embarking on the journey home.

Nick Cole, Amadeus General Manager at Arena Birmingham, said:

“We are constantly looking for ways to improve the customer experience at Arena Birmingham through our innovative food and drink offering, while also providing added value to the venue. We designed The Garrison to drive footfall to the Arena pre-show and to encourage visitors to dwell at the venue post show, opening up new revenue streams for the business.

“We believe our new speakeasy bar will resonate with our visitors and become a destination where people want to be seen.

“Capitalising on current trends for ‘secret’ or hidden bars, we have decided to keep marketing of the bar to a minimum, allowing people to hear about the venture through word of mouth.  Visitors will need to keep their eyes peeled to spot the speakeasy!”

Guy Dunstan, General Manager for Arena Birmingham added: “Launching a themed bar on the Arena concourse is another exciting development to offer the best experience possible for our customers. We already provide first class food and beverage options across the venue, and this will add a flavour of historic Birmingham in a fun and informal setting, which we are sure customers will enjoy.”