Work Christmas do’s are back with a bang this year, as City bar and pub chains report strong bookings.
Publicans are excited about the industry’s first full Christmas trading season in three years, void of Covid-9 restrictions.
Although consumers are caught in the teeth of what’s set to be a protracted recession, Young’s boss, Simon Dodd, said Christmas bookings were “significantly ahead of last year.” In recent weeks, its City pubs have seen sales up 11 per cent versus last year.
Businesses’s hopes for a lucrative Christmas were dashed at the eleventh hour last year when fears over the Omicron virus variant saw commuters instructed to avoid the capital.
However, this year, “people want to go out and party,” Sarah Willingham, whose Nightcap firm owns chains Barrio, The Adventure Bar Group and The Cocktail Club, said.
Corporate demand was so strong that the cocktail bar operator has seen entire venues booked out by companies wanting to celebrate with their staff.
Large bookings were up 168 per cent for Christmas versus this time last year for Simmons, which operates several Square Mile haunts, while enquiries have shot up 560 per cent at live music bar Amazing Grace.
The Breakfast Club’s marketing manager, Tom Charles Williams, said individuals and companies were “very excited about throwing a ‘making up for last year’ kind of party.”
Gaucho and M restaurant owner Martin Williams said the economic crunch meant punters were “dining out less overall, but are premiumising.”