• The Cabinet

The Cabinet Designer Barman: 11 things that are coming in 2021

Updated: Jan 20

If you have anything to do with the hospitality business, 2020 was the very worst year by a long shot. However, as we close the door on that, we look to 2021 to be ever so slightly better and we're excited for all the things that we expect to see as a result of hopefully saying goodbye to COVID-19 at some point in the Spring (fingers well and truly crossed), and a return to some kind of new normal.

Here are the 11 things we foresee coming down the line over the next year:

1. AF as F*ck

As mentioned in blogs before - the rise of the low/no sector. In 2021 this trend will only increase. There are some interesting products being launched as well as some great brands looking to go global with their award-winning AF products. If you haven’t tried them yet, I recommend you seek them out this year.

2. If it’s dark, I’ll have it

Dark spirits are on the comeback, mainly pushed by the rum industry, but you will start seeing more and more dark spirit drinks on drinks menus. I recommend switching up the gin in your regular Negroni for some complex aged Rum – it’s honestly a game changer!

3. Gin lime & soda is a thing

On the flip side of darker spirits being used in cocktails and coinciding with the healthier lifestyle post lockdown, you will see more low sugar mixers being used with white spirits. White spirits are lower in sugar and soda water is just water with gas. If it’s the guilt free buzz you’re looking for - swap your mixer out for a Botanical mixer and you’ll wake up without the hangover (maybe).

4. Day drinking

With the world waking up to the fact that you don’t have to be sat behind a desk for 50 hours a week, to be productive, more and more venues can capitalise on the WFH crowd. Creative bar teams will create atmospheres and menus to cater for young professionals wanting a change from their living rooms to zoom from!

5. Are you dog friendly?

I foresee this becoming a staple question when making a reservation going forwards. With the huge demand for COVID Puppies last summer, guests will soon be looking for “doggie-friendly” spaces. The unruly puppy jumping up at serves will swiftly become the new trip hazard, replacing the current leader - the unsupervised child. (As a side note...I also got a COVID Puppy!).

6. Two pints of lager and a substantial meal

Another odd trend that has arisen from the CV19 guidelines is the definition of a “substantial meal”. It was music to the ears of every venue owner (wet or dry) when even those who wrote the guidelines couldn’t define a “substantial meal”.

Basically, as long as you call it a substantial meal, you’ll get away with it...maybe time to buy shares in a “scotch - egg” company.

7. Show me your fruits!

Maybe this is just a personal love of fruity drinks but it’s time to bring back punch, whether it’s an old time “grog” or a “fish house” punch. The punch branch of the “cocktail tree” has so many outstanding drinks and every bartender has their own favourites. Personally, I think my go to order for 2021 will be “make me your punch”.

8. Organised fun

A trend from before 2020 that I envision returning is the demand for “organised fun”. Be it bowling, darts, mini-golf or even axe throwing, the modern-day drinker likes things to do. After a year of sitting on the sofa, doing “things” will be almost irresistible.

9. Doughnut Hole Economy

A very clear and visible trend has begun to show itself during the post COVID world. Bars and restaurants work best when people go to them every day. With so many people working from home, bars and restaurants near offices will continue to struggle. City centres will take years to bounce back so some of the most successful venues will be suburbs of the cities. Keep your eyes open as your “local” could soon be the best pub in the country!

10. Wednesday is the new Friday

With the strong push from digital companies towards 4 days weeks and flexible work hours the new busy nights might be any day of the week. If you don’t have to go back to work for three days, you go “big tonight” even if that is a Wednesday.

11. This is all nonsense

With all the thought I have put into this list, I can say only one thing for certain. 2020 has taught me nothing is planned and all of the above could be absolute nonsense...

Either way, Happy New Year!