Themed pubs and bars have been with us for a long time now.
There are many alive today who can remember the days before the themed bar and when they first started to be developed many veterans of pub life viewed them with grave suspicion.
Originally, it’s probably fair to say that a themed bar was seen as something of a novelty and gimmick. Sometimes an individual establishment would change its theme several times within a few years in an attempt to keep on the crest of the wave of fashion change. Since then, such bars have become commonplace across much of urban Australia.
In many town and city centres it’s possible to see themes such as Victorian, the 1950s, U.S. West and of course there are probably now far more Irish pubs around the world than there ever were in Ireland itself!
The choice is endless but is there a risk for a bar owner or manager in terms of taking theme development a little too far?
Some argue that’s a real risk and that in some pubs and bars it’s now difficult to see the beer for the various adornments, décor, machines, lights and other “trinketry”.
We are obviously not going to take sides on that one!
What it’s possible to say though is that at its very heart, the pub is somewhere people go to socialise with each other. As part of that, they usually look to have a few drinks of their favourite beer or other tipple.
Anything a bar does that gets in between the customer and those two objectives might be downright risky. True, somebody who has never been into a particular theme before might initially be amused by the décor and gadgetry lying around. However, that novelty might quickly wear off and it certainly won’t compensate for having “iffy” beer distribution systems leading to poor beer.
On balance, the theme of a pub is probably harmless fun.
It might make sense though to be a little cautious about going too far and taking your eye of the ball in terms of reality. In the longer term, the success of a bar might depend upon its ability to keep its customers happy with what it’s selling rather than what is hung up on various walls.