Many of London’s top bars and restaurants see the value of making their outdoor spaces cosy and inviting, so that diners and drinkers can enjoy their terraces whatever the weather. After all, what could be better than cosying up in the cold under a soft blanket, glass of fizz or festive cocktail in hand, friends beside you or lover opposite, city lights sparkling in the distance?
Well, taken a step further this outdoor experience can be heightened even more. While cosy blankets and outdoor heaters can encourage people to spontaneously brave the outdoors once already at the venue, by investing in a more creative, themed space, the terrace itself can become a destination venue, driving footfall, generating word of mouth and increasing social media reach to boot.
Take the D&D group as an example. Over the winter period, many of their restaurants have beautiful, themed winter terraces. The Orrery is bringing a taste of the Alps to Marylebone with an Alpine Terrace in partnership with Courvoisier cognac and Diptyque Paris. Taking inspiration from the rustic chalets that dot France’s mountain slopes, their terrace is surrounded by frosted fir trees and planters over-spilling with fragrant pine cones. Guests can cosy up on the hidden terrace with sheepskin rugs, blankets and fur cushions while enjoying Diptyque’s winter candles which fill the air with the fragrance of an alpine forest. Sounds rather fabulous, doesn’t it?
At Fish Market, near Liverpool Street, a special Winter Actually terrace has been created in partnership with Moet & Chandon. The terrace features nods to the ever-popular festive film, Love Actually, with guests stepping through a spectacular red bow entrance, past a stunning Christmas tree to indulge in special Christmas seafood platters, all washed down with refreshing Champagne.
Plateau, Canary Wharf, has partnered with Sipsmith to create a rooftop winter garden - a cosy hideaway with twinkling lights, herringbone blankets and warming cocktails. And with guests encouraged to get ‘rockin’ around the Sipsmith tree’… it sounds like the perfect rooftop destination over the Christmas period.
Although Radio Rooftop at ME London has unveiled a spectacular winter experience to give Plateau a run for its money: #RADIOFireandIce. Their North and South-facing terraces, each offering their own unique vista, have both been transformed into exclusive immersive spaces. The North-facing ICE terrace is a Nordic-style winter hideaway in partnership with Grey Goose vodka, the South-facing FIRE terrace a hot Latin American, Hacienda-style space in partnership with Patròn Tequila. Well worth a visit over the winter period.
What’s important is that each terrace is packed full of Instagrammable, sharable details that will entice people, whether they’re passers-by or planned visitors, to pop in, take photos and to sit down, relax and fully enjoy the outdoor space. Partnering with a drinks brand can, of course, mean additional budget for the venue to create something truly special, as well as giving the opportunity to create bespoke cocktails, a temporary menu and recommended food pairings.
It goes without saying that investing in beautiful, creatively themed terraces all year round, winter included, can drive footfall, raise awareness and boost restaurants’ and bars’ profits. It’s a win for the venue, a win for the partnering brand and a big fat happy win for the customers who get to have some fabulous festive fun.
Lucy Gillions is founder of Jackanory