According to real estate experts, Colliers International, it won’t be typical restaurants and bars which will see the most footfall this Valentines Day but instead, there will be a rise in people being wooed in interactive ‘competitive socialising’ hotspots, such as table tennis bars, mini golf pubs, and pizza and craft beer venues, which have become increasingly popular across the UK.

Competitive socialising, a new pop-up/turned permanent trend is also benefiting landlords as it can fit into unused space, or units which would have otherwise attracted late night cocktail bars which may not be in keeping with their estate mix.

Rachel Stern of Colliers International’s Licensed & Leisure team comments, “Competitive socialising is a huge industry at the moment, particularly in London where we’ve seen a vast increase in these types of venues opening. In our view, this is just the beginning of a new trend and not a fad as despite many of these venues initially starting as pop-up destinations, high demand has seen most places taking on permanent locations. Many of these concepts also incorporate popular street food brands, such as Patty & Bun, at their sites to provide a mix for customers who want to eat and socialise.

“Customers are increasingly looking for something different to do, rather than just go out for meals or the cinema and even though the majority have opened in the capital, many are seeking to expand to some of the major regional cities throughout the UK and some are already doing this.

“Whilst London has been the hot bed for this talent, it’s not just a London thing, Junkyard Golf originated in Manchester and have successfully made the journey south and opened in Shoreditch, east London. Another interesting concept is Escape Rooms – which is a crystal maze style concept – is targeting major regional towns and cities.  Even Drafts and Shuffle Boards are making a comeback.”

“Similarly, we have started to see bar and club operators installing competitive socialising to their existing bar concepts.   Sakura nightclub in Reading, has reinvented itself to operate as a ping pong, pizza and craft beer venue, called ‘Smash’ during the day, which then opens its top floors at night as Sakura.”