Aug 10, 2019 | By Luke Tebbutt
Experience Lifestyle & Interiors on WGSN.
In recent years, theme restaurants have come to seem a bit naff. With chefs focusing on beautiful plating and seasonal ingredients, and carefully telling the story behind each course, there hasn’t been much appetite for all-singing, all-dancing entertainment dining. But now – the theme restaurant is making a comeback. We’re suddenly very much in the mood for its fun and frivolity: it’s perfect for the experience era, ideally suited to Instagram and Snapchat stories – and this revival comes too at a time when escapism seems very much needed.
With this in mind, here are five of the theme destinations that are rising to the top of the foodie travel wish list.
Live On Air, New York
The world’s first live-streaming restaurant has opened. Broadcasting from Park Slope in Brooklyn, Live on Air‘s Twitter and Facebook feeds capture the bar, the restaurant and goings-on on the street outside, and customers receive 10% off their bill if they are interviewed on air. Ratings for the streams are not yet huge, but are growing as the restaurant begins to stage specific events. The gimmick factor of this restaurant is huge, but reassuringly, the food has also received positive reviews. Go for the story, stay for the Louisiana-infused American cooking.
The Wolf Market, Hong Kong
The stock market bar is not a new concept, but it is an undeniably fun one. At The Wolf Market, drinks are priced according to their popularity, with the current value of each displayed on a ticker that’s projected onto the ceiling. The bar offers a number of specialist cocktails – try the Cayenne Bubbles (Ketel One Citroen, lychee liqueur, grapefruit juice, lemon, basil and chili syrup) – and a good edit of snacks and lunch options.
Platform 1094, Singapore
This Harry Potter theme restaurant recreates the look and feel of Hogwarts’ Great Hall with ring-shaped chandeliers and long wooden tables. But it’s the menu that is the real draw at Platform 1094: beetroot and carrot soup is served in miniature black cauldrons, while cocktails take inspiration from the Goblet of Fire and Elixir of Life. Other dishes are more loosely connected to the books: the Black Magic dessert includes black sesame panna cotta, squid ink profiteroles and charcoal bread, while Bloodberry involves two mousse- and parfait-filled chocolate shells that are served with an edible chocolate wand.
Situated in London’s bustling Soho, vintage speakeasy Cahoots is decorated like an old Underground station, complete with retro seats and drinks served in hip flasks and tin cans. The Blitz-era experience opened in 2015 and has built a steady fanbase since for its nightly parties and live 1940s music, plus its brace-wearing bar staff and inventive mixology. A fun experience for tourists and Londoners alike.
The Avocado Show, Amsterdam
If the food world has a top-billing star, it’s the avocado – which makes The Avocado Show a theme restaurant with a healthy spin. Billed as “Europe’s first avocado restaurant”, its menu is currently under development, but will include breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night snack options. Its Facebook page teases avocado-centred pizzas, burgers, tacos and poke – but you’ll have to wait until it opens later this month to see the whole line-up.
WGSN Lifestyle & Interiors subscribers can find out more about the growing power of experience – and how it will apply to industries spanning retail, hospitality, design and homewares – in the A/W 18/19 Lifestyle & Interiors Forecast: Dark Wonder.
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