19 Nov 2019

INTERVIEW | Harriet Gidney, CF Commercial

Harriet Gidney, Associate Director at CF Commercial, discusses her thoughts on competitive socialising.

CFC has quite a history with the concept of competitive socialising. How did the team become so involved in it?
Back in 2015, when the City Fringe area surrounding Worship Sheet and Finsbury Park Square was devoid of nightlife, save for Worship Street Whistling Shop, we caught wind of Adam Breeden’s concept for Flight Club. It was a youthful twist on a traditional game complete with good drinks and a dose of tech to add to the competition.

It was during that time that we were helping to shape the area, beyond offices and the traditional bar offering. The competitive socialising concept is a relatively new idea, and we’re seeing an increase of operators testing the waters with everything from Against-the-clock concepts to urban mini golf, VR and bar games.

Does competitive socialising have a future?
We tend to think so! It’s always been around, from traditional darts and billiards, to pub quizzes. A healthy dose of competition alongside good food and drinks is a great way to spend an evening with friends. Overall, competitive socialising has the ability to span so many needs – from all-day family friendly locations to corporate activities where the ability to offer something stimulating beyond drinking is appealing across many industries.

To that end, the large spaces needed to accommodate many of these concepts, whether in ground floor retail or shopping centres, give developers and landlords the ability to shape the retail and leisure offering and increase the footfall not only during the day but throughout the evening.

Will the concept expand to other parts of London and cities beyond?
In London, with Crossrail opening in 2020, and with the influx of young creatives heading to ‘East Bank’ we’re confident that we’ll see more competitive socialising venues opening further east, alongside interesting restaurants, bars, head offices and fitness concepts going that way. We feel we’re on the brink of such an exciting time for East London and can’t wait to see all the hard work that’s been put into the area continue to develop and come to fruition.

Further afield, we’ve seen great interest in concept bars across Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol. It’s clear that there is nationwide enthusiasm for the idea and people are hungry for more experiences, whether it’s a family, friendship or corporate bonding. The passion for these shared experiences goes beyond the here and now, and is underlined with sharing images and video across social channels.

Ultimately, many of these venues are built around great bar concepts at the heart and that is a tradition that is certainly not going anywhere in a hurry!

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