The annual London Cocktail Week festival is due to go ahead this year despite the global pandemic, helping to bring trade to the capital’s struggling bars, pubs and restaurants.
Now in its 10th year, the event will run the entire month of October instead of for only a week, celebrating and supporting London’s internationally renowned bar and cocktail scene.
The Cocktail Village – a hub of pop-up bars that, in recent years, has taken over parts of Old Spitalfields Market and the Old Truman Brewery – will not happen this year, shifting the full focus onto the bars, pubs and restaurants.
The event, from 1 to 31 October, will feature the popular Cocktail Tours where anyone with a London Cocktail Week ticket can access signature cocktails for only £6 at hundreds of bars.
There will also be in-venue brand activations as part of the festival’s partnerships with 26 different drinks brands through Brown-Forman, Diageo, Edrington-Beam Suntory and Moët Hennessy. The organisers at DrinkUp.London also say that, this year, they are adding an “at-home element”.
Although bars, pubs and restaurants were allowed to re-open from 4 July onwards in England after more than three months of shutdown, anecdotal reports point to low footfall making it difficult for some venues to operate profitably.
Tickets at £15 will go on sale in mid-August via londoncocktailweek.com. The list of participating bars will also be announced in August. The festival organisers will work with all the bar partners to ensure the latest social distancing and safety procedures are in place.
Announcing this year’s festival, organisers Hannah Sharman-Cox and Siobhan Payne from DrinkUp.London said: “We’ve worked tirelessly for a decade to put our city firmly on the map as the cocktail capital of the world and we now occupy a unique position as the conduit between drinks brands, bars and thousands and thousands of consumers.
“As such, we feel it is our duty to use our platform and our voice to provide a solid, trusted foundation to support small businesses within our trade and help get the London bar scene back where it should be.
“We feel hugely grateful for the incredible backing of this mission from our sponsors and believe that London can act as a blueprint to show other major cities around the world what can be achieved when an industry shows a united front in the face of adversity.”
The move has been backed by Amy Lamé, night czar for the Mayor of London. She said: “London’s bars and pubs are at the heart of life in the capital. They are community hubs as well as important local employers, so I’m really pleased that this festival can play its part in rebuilding the hospitality industry in the weeks and months ahead.”