The trend for pop up stores, restaurants and bars has remained strong for years, allowing creative teams to create temporary installations to promote their products or brand. Those with the most impressive aesthetic or theme are sure to grab the attention of cynical city dwellers, often with an incredibly simple design being incredibly effective.

Soho+Co’s pop-up sake bar, London

Envisioned by London architecture and design studio Soho+co, this portable sake bar was erected in the British Museum’s Great Court as part of a collaboration with Japan House. Celebrating Japan’s national drink that has become as well known in its own way as sushi, this staple of al desko lunch is even protected under Geographic indicators law in the US, the same way champagne can only come from one region in France.

The modular bar is composed of 20 hexagonal units, allowing for smooth movement into different arrangements. Image source 

The pop up bar was composed of 20 hexagonal units that allowed for smooth movement into different arrangements and the top surface of each unit is finished in Japanese sen. Each of the columns featured several illuminated holes, contrasting the bar’s heavy character. The modules form various crystalline structures when in use, but can then be packed away concentrically, similar to nested matryoshki.

The pop-up sake bar, designed by Soho+Co, is installed in the British Museum’s Great Court. Image source

‘We were after a multi-purpose, portable structure that was elegant, easy to transport and store, and also flexible in the ways it can be used,’ says Kylie Clark of Japan House London. ‘The hexagons can be configured as a bar to present a wide range of Japanese drinks – from teas and sake, to lesser-known drinks such as awamori and shochu.’

Alcoholic Architecture by Bompas & Parr, London

Developed by Bompas & Parr, Alcoholic Architecture experimented with the concept of breathable cocktails. Hosted temporarily in Borough market in London, the installation was an alcoholic weather system in which meteorology and mixology met.

Bompas & Parr’s pop up bar provided cloud-based cocktails patrons could breathe in. Image source

Alcoholic Architecture was a pop-up bar that contained a cloud of "breathable cocktail" and offered a drinks list entirely made up of spirits and beers created by monks, such as Chartreuse, Trappist beer and Buckfast tonic wine.

The fully immersive alcohol environment brings the world’s best drinks to architectural scale. Image source

Set in a Victorian building that was once the original home and offices of The Trustees of Borough Market, the bar took over the basement – itself a former banana store for unripe fruit arriving from the West Indies – and sourced many ingredients for its drinks list from Borough Market itself.

Crumpled paper grotto, Osaka

Designed by local studio Naoya Matsumoto Design, this small Yorunoma pop up bar in Osaka features swaths of crumpled tracing paper cocooning the interior. The motif transforms the Japanese gallery into a cozy cave.

Crinkled tracing paper transformed the space into a cave-like pop up bar. Image source

Conceived as part of a summer programme at Abenoma, the gallery occupied a row of converted houses in the city. The designer used rumpled tracing paper to create the crinkly surfaces, forming a textured, rock-like appearance across the angular walls and ceiling.

Dim lighting created pockets of light and darkness, adding to the subterranean feel of the space, as shadows were prominent in the crevices of the wrinkled paper. A thick wooden table at the centre of the space provided a temporary serving bar for patrons, surrounded by cross-shaped stools.

A cozy feel pop up bar in Osaka offers a place to meet, and a place to learn origami skills. Image source

"This huge space made by paper is like a secret base and turns into a bar at night," said the designer, after the opening. "I hope people get together and make new friends there and enjoy the space."

The venue was used as an evening meeting spot where visitors could share food and drinks, and during the daytime could attend paper aeroplane and origami classes.

Black Balsam Laboratory

The Buildner Black Balsam Laboratories is looking for designs to help bartenders and cocktail makers invent the next big drink. The traditional Latvian liquor has a long history of being enjoyed for its bold and unique taste, dating back to the 1700s.

In order to entice a younger audience and expand the traditional drink’s popularity, Buildner are tasking participants with designing a series of small-scale “laboratories” which could be situated in any location around the world. Each laboratory would only need to be big enough to accommodate a bartender and provide a workstation for guests to experiment and create their own cocktails using Black Balsam.

This is a chance to combine the traditions of the past with the trends of the future, all while getting pleasantly tipsy. The Black Balsam Laboratories competition is now open until April 20, with winners of the US $6,000 prize to be announced on June 20, 2018.

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