Bars see little sign of ‘Dry January’ as bookings soar

Adventure Bar Battersea

It may be “Dry January”, but bookings at Britain’s bars are up 60% this month, according to nightlife website DesignMyNight.

DesignMyNight’s Collins booking management system has seen the figure soar compared to January 2015 alongside a 25% rise in traffic for the national bar, pub and nightclub website that was launched in 2011.

The data reflect what has been seen by leading bar operators. Tobias Jackson, director of London’s expanding Adventure Bars, said: “The first week of January caught us off guard as it was really quiet, but our guests have awoken from the second week and are back to enjoying themselves, with no signs of ‘Dry January’ or the cold weather seeming to affect us at all. If people were trying to cut down, they didn’t last long!”

Matt McClymont, director of Rise46 and The Schoolhouse bars in Battersea in south London, said: “After the usual first-week struggle in January, we were pleased to see people saying ‘no!’ to Dry January and ‘yes!’ to good times.

“The Schoolhouse actually had a record-breaking week sales-wise during the second week in January. Rise46 also saw all areas for weekends quickly get booked up. We are on for one of our biggest-ever months there too. We have also seen an incredible conversion rate in part down to our Collins booking system.”

Nick Telson, CEO and co-founder of DesignMyNight, said: “Even before the popularity of Dry January, bars are always concerned about the noticeable negative effect the start of the year has on their businesses after the Christmas excess.

“Many try to campaign against it on social media, while of course still supporting giving money to charity. However analysing the number of bookings that have been processed by Collins, our industry-leading booking management technology, it would suggest that consumers, for the most part have been keeping January wet, looking for deals and happy hours, to save money where possible and providing the bar and casual dining market with a steady run of bookings.”

“Exclusive online offers” search is up 28% this month versus the average, and the website’s “January nightlife sales” has been the fifth most viewed content on the platform. For January, 58% of bookings have had a deal attached compared to the monthly average of 35%.

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