VENUE OF THE MONTH: Ballie Ballerson

14 Forrest Road, Edinburgh

Ballie Ballerson was born in London with the leading idea of creating a nostalgic, back-in-time experience. Enticing the consumer’s inner child, the venue was designed by Owner Wenny Armstrong the way she imagined she would have as a 10-year-old. Featuring the signature ball pit and a giant slide, Ballie Ballerson has merged these elements with the perks of being of age: alcohol!

As Wenny explains, the majority of the cocktail menu is based around childhood sweets and boasts playful, innovative garnishes. “We’ve got a bubble on top of a cocktail, a pink scrunchie garnishing another and an actual dip dab sweet in one more,” she adds.

This is reflected throughout the bar concept thanks to design choices and décor; envision your 10-year-old self drawing with crayons or spray pens – the goal was to make their customers feel like they did just that!

Ballie Ballerson has received a great response from the people of Edinburgh; as much as there are a few innovative concepts dotted around the city that provide entertainment, Wenny believes that consumers are deep in the era of going out, but not just to drink.

She comments: “People have really responded to that up here. They’ve said there hasn’t been too many other places where you can do that. For us, it’s about losing your inhibitions and being a bit silly, which I think is almost necessary in the current climate. That’s what we try and channel, especially our flair bartenders doing tricks and going above and beyond – you look at them in action and you just smile!”

The bar is a centrepiece at Edinburgh’s Ballie Ballerson, and they recently held the world flaring championships with one of their own, Michael Marin, placing in the competition. What flair bartenders do is being a mean to extra entertainment for an all-round fun atmosphere. They’ll be juggling with five mixing tins, entertaining one person while making another one’s drinks and somebody else’s order – multitasking is key!  

Wenny says: “Just interacting with the customers and getting them to do a bit of a trick is what we aim for; it’s all about getting people involved. However, it is of vital importance for our bartenders to use their cue intelligence and see how the crowd is responding – the last thing you want is an angry queue going thirsty while you balance some lemons!”

Targeting a vast audience – from student nights out all the way up to 50th birthday parties, Ballie Ballerson is the proof that fun translates into any demographic! Since the pandemic, Edinburgh has been a very popular destination for drinkers all around the UK, meaning that consumers are attracted by a high-volume, high-energy cocktail bar experience. 

Wenny concludes: “I think a lot of people haven’t necessarily seen flair bartenders in action on a big stage, hence why we have placed our bar at the forefront of our business plan. A first-class cocktail menu won’t be a winning asset by itself – it’s how you deliver it that makes the difference, and we do that in quite a unique way!”

With top-notch cocktails, delicious pizzas, a massive slide and one giant, glowing ball pit – which gets regularly cleaned, ball by ball! – and a dance floor complete with Edinburgh’s biggest disco ball, the Ballie Ballerson brand continues to honour hospitality and deliver unforgettable experiences for their guests.


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