Bar of the Future Competition


Project Description

What do students want on the bar of the future? Social responsibility, environmental awareness and future tech. Not snakebite & black…

When Asahi UK asked students at Brighton University to design the bar of the future, over 90% of all entrants focused their designs on future technology, environmental issues and social responsibility — a fascinating insight into how the next generation envisage our future attitudes towards drinking and the environments we’ll be socialising in. In the process Asahi discovered what truly appeals to this emerging consumer group and how Asahi and their customers might connect with them.

As people and spaces converge, bars are becoming places to drink, eat, shop, talk, wind-up or wind down, at any time of day or night. Driven by open minds, facilitated by new technologies and delivered through a focus on what customers want, new venues are challenging our perceptions of what a bar can be.


“While we tasked the students with the hard work we used our tried and tested sales promotion techniques to develop a campaign with a strong hook,
to build intrigue and to deliver a strong pay off.”

But what does the bar of the future look like? Answering that simple question is the challenge that Asahi UK set in the Bar of the Future design competition. Launched in partnership with the University of Brighton, first prize was a dream trip for 2 to Japan, with flights, accommodation and Bullet Train travel included, plus an SLR camera too. Exclusively open to students at Brighton University, entrants were asked to communicate their vision for the drinking, eating and socialising spaces of tomorrow. What could the evolution or perhaps revolution of the bar/pub be? Imagination and innovation was key.

While we tasked the students with the hard work we used our tried and tested sales promotion techniques to develop a campaign with a strong hook, to build intrigue and to deliver a strong pay off.  We chose Facebook as the primary communication channel. The promotion was launched on Facebook, we connected with Groups we knew our audience would be a part of, we made entry packs available to download and we delivered a regular calendar of posts for ideas, inspiration and the all important entry reminders.

In our role as creative arbiters, we set the judging criteria and evaluated every submission against them, lending our vote to a panel of industry experts.


Asahi Article

And the winner is… Third year Graphic Design student, Zoe McElya for her entry called The Lacuna Bar, proposing ‘an individualised haven from the chaos of future urban life’. Following the theme of ‘efficient innovation’, Zoe’s Lacuna Bar retains elements of a traditional bar whilst offering a completely customisable space through the use of folding walls and a multi-level layout. Flexible and adaptable, The Lacuna allows consumers to manipulate the space of the bar itself. Customers can create a cosy nook for drinks with friends, or a unique corporate space for a business meeting. The Lacuna integrates outdoor and indoor spaces ‘for ecological and psychological benefits’. Such was the quality of the submissions, Asahi UK and Ape plan to run a similar competition again next year.

“I did not design a ‘bar of the future’ that focused on flashy technology or sci-fi architecture. Instead I answered the brief by looking at the psychology of the consumer. Through researching and analysing which design innovations have been successful I established that increased ‘efficient innovation’ is key to what future consumers will want and embrace.”

Zoe McElya
Winner of Bar of the Future Competition 2017

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Project Details

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