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Recycled Alchemist post - why popular bars lose their bar-attitude

I wrote this post in October 2012. And things have changed dramatically here in the ME.
Fancy bars are rather losing business. Only few al fresco places and greasy spoon venues [pubs] are still successful or even gain more guests.

Anyway - it is not only the business, which demands a change in the attitude of bars.

Have fun to read this more than 4 years old post...



Thursday in Dubai is like Saturday in Europe and the US. Everybody is going out! I am writing this, after the major business - it slowed down, after it was just more than busy, more than crowded - even more than crazy! Lets say it was insane!
I don’t want to complaint. The revenue will be very good; we had not too many complaints; it was not too bad. However I just wanted to think loud, what is about bars which are so busy that they become “beyond” a bar! 
The attitude of the guests, the loudness of the music, just the vibes are more like a nightclub than a bar. Again, I don’t want to complain because the people want to have fun and it is also fun to work sometimes a bit more casual.
The actual loser is the bar culture itself. There is no more space for nuances, no more time for a chat with the bartender, no more patience for artisan drinks, no more serenity for a nice drink suggestion!
The veritable threat is a common mechanism in the bar business: 
a bar gains a good reputation because of their cocktails and/or service
it becomes more popular under the “trend people”
it becomes chic to go to this bar
more and more people get to know this trendy place
the bar becomes more and more busy
the guest-group changes and mixes more
the service flaws are appearing, because of the very busy operation
the essential gastronomic quality decreases
often the crucial people are leaving the place (guests and staff)
the venue just lives of their former reputation - however is more a shadow of itself
Can we do anything against it? I am not sure. It is important that bars become good known for their uniqueness. To welcome bar flies and employ excellent staff, a bar need a good reputation.
And last but not least the revenue is one key factor of the success of a outlet in the bar-BUSINESS.
But still, that doesn’t make anything better.
There are ways to avoid this, however I don’t find them really appealing: You can have kinda member-bar (and/or restrict the bar to a certain target group of guests) - this is seen especially in London in several bars. 
Or you can be presenting your bar and yourself so peculiar, that a lot of people (especially who don’t fit) don’t have the wish to visit. (That applies especially to the Rum Trader in Berlin, with its bizarre unique owner-bartender Mr. Gregor Scholl, so you have to stand him and his approach...)
Off course there are also some crossovers of these two ideas.
Or is it better to rely on a certain dress code? Wether you need a door-man who is playing fashion police (which is always a bit dangerous and also annoying for some guests) or you have a rigid, however inflexible dress code, which upsets also a lot of people...
May be you have to work in detail and have several too tool. And the selection of drinks is another (for a cocktail bar may be a couple of really artisan beers - no normal lagers; really special wines, instead of the usual average white and reds; vintage champagne instead of the normal brut variety; boutique and classic cocktails instead of Long Island Iced Tea and Sex on the Beaches; et cetera). An upscale dress code would also help (business casual and elegant - instead of casual or smart casual).
Please be honest: the system, that you can wear what you like is not really working! Shorts, worn out pairs of jeans or T-Shirts in a gourmet environment becomes more and more normal but it has no real style (and no actual advantage for any side)...
Only announced visits could be another idea. That means, that you needn’t to make it so difficult to the guests like them of Milk and Honey, (the owner is changing regularly the telephone number) - but it is not really bad to announce the visit. 
Finally we, whose are working in the bar business are hosts and our guests are... well yes our guests. Would you accommodate guests at your home without invitation or at least announcement, which are not standing really close to you?
I think we lost a little bit traction over the bar operations and we should try to gain back the control!
What do you think?

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