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Young people are returning to the bar and club scene

Young people are returning to the bar and club scene

Written by

Abbie Dawson


April 25, 2022


Latest research

More young people are returning to the UK bar & club scene, whilst more couples are getting married in pubs.

There’s going out, then there’s going ‘out out’. The comedian Micky Flanagan built an entire stand up tour around the concept of ‘out out’ (check this out out if you want a good laugh). In a nutshell, out out is extending the night into the wee small hours, usually by going to a bar or club.

And there’s reason and evidence to be optimistic of the ‘out out’ nights returning in earnest. The club owner Rekom has found evidence that young twenty something night owls are not only turning up earlier on nights out but also are spending more on drinks in clubs and bars than in March 2020.1

It’s positive news that has allowed Rekom to open 10+ bars this year, with the Copenhagen-based company now having 48 UK outlets. Their research also revealed that just over 60% of 18 to 24-year-olds are more enthusiastic about going out to clubs and festivals due to not having the opportunity to during the pandemic, and nearly half of 25 to 34 year-olds said the same.1

Also, more people are choosing to get hitched in more relaxed style wedding celebrations down at the pub too, which is hugely encouraging news after two exceptionally tough years for the hospitality industry.

Research from hospitality job board, reveals that laid-back wedding receptions are becoming more popular, with 1.8 million people opting for a pub wedding.2

If you are contemplating going out out, there’s a new hospitality trend that could make the perfect start to your evening: competitive socialising.

The term is used to capture traditional pastimes often found in pubs and bars, like table tennis, pool, darts and board games, but there is a new breed of entrepreneurs who are taking competitive socialising to the next level and into the future by fitting out former retail spaces and arenas with immersive experiences, where they also serve high-quality food and drink.

So those posts on Instagram of celebrities throwing axes are probably starting to make sense now, as this is an example of the new form of competitive socialising.

London, perhaps unsurprisingly, is the hotbed for this new trend, but it is now spreading to smaller UK cities and towns. A 2021 KAM Media survey said 48% of Londoners were aware of the term 'competitive socialising', compared to just 13% in Scotland and 15% in East Anglia.3

The survey also had some other interesting insights regarding the demographic segments that enjoy competitive socialising:

  • 41% of Gen Z have been before and 47% would like to go the future
  • 29% of millenials have been before and 60% would like to go in the future
  • 16% of 45+ have been before, and 55% would like to go in the future
  • 22% of people with no kids have been before, and 56% would like to go in the future
  • 33% of those with kids in the household have been before, and 58% would like to go in the future.3

Stephen Plumer, Director of Marketing at TOCA Social (the world’s first interactive football and dining experience) gave his observation on the current landscape; “We are starting to see increasing use of digital and social experiences, blurring the lines between the physical in venue experience and what takes place virtually.”


So what is a great hospitality customer experience?

Yes, music is important, but it takes more than just music. We call it Music+.

For us at Startle, it is something customers tell friends about. It elevates a brand to distinction, with all sites harmonising in unison. Ultimately it improves your bottom line.

What do we mean exactly? For your own brand and business, imagine an atmosphere that’s built to run itself, optimising moment to moment the music, displays and lighting to make sure the experience is always it’s best. Couple that with bespoke entertainment or competitive socialising that integrates seamlessly into your atmosphere and we’re suddenly talking about the pub of the future and we’re already building it.

It’s all possible with Startle.

Why not download for free (and with very little effort) our hospitality brochure? There is one for pubs and restaurants, as well as hotels and cafes.

And if you think we can help, we’d love to hear from you. Call us on +44 (0)203 397 7676 or drop us an email at


1The Guardian; ‘Making up for lost time: UK goes ‘out out’ after two-year break’. 22nd April 2022.

2Hospitality & Catering News; ‘ reveals 1.8 million people opting for a pub wedding’. 21st April 2022.

3KAM Media; ‘Resources’. Various publication dates.

Young people are returning to the bar and club scene

Abbie Dawson

Marketing Executive at Startle. It's my job to manage marketing, making sure to spread the word of Startle to as many brands as possible. When I'm not working, you'll find me vinyl shopping to add to my collection or working out at the gym (usually making enemies with a punching bag).

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