In all honesty, it took a while for it to sink in for me that, yes, we would be able to organise a live event this year. We are all well aware that the bar industry has encountered endless ups and downs in the last two years, and let’s face it: there were more downs than ups. A live, on location BCB was a well-deserved and long overdue up.
New Location and the Highlight of the Palais
It was BCB’s first year in its new location: Messe Berlin. A major shift after all these years at Station Berlin, the show had to find a new home that would be more adapted to the growth it has experienced over the years. That meant a drastic architectural turn around: goodbye the Neo industrial brick walls and hello the 1950s classic architecture in the iconic Palais. Some recognised it as a filming location of Netflix’s "The Queens Gambit", but it the shining star of the event was no other than Rémy Savage and his London team.
BCB Bauhaus Pop-Up-Bar with Rémy Savage
Rémy Savage and his team from London took over the bar on the upper floor of the Palais this year and decorated it in their popular minimalist Bauhaus style. It was the first time a full bar had been recreated at BCB, creating an opportunity for guests to take a break from the show and relax in a real bar atmosphere. The furniture was sourced from partner Zeitlos Berlin, who specialize in Bauhaus architecture. As Bauhaus design is a focal point of London's famous "Bar Without a Name", this was a phenomenal collaboration.
The Light at the End of the Tunnel
The bar world has shown amazing strength under the circumstances of the past two years. We had to learn to be patient, improvise, adapt and bounce back, but the focus of BCB wasn’t on licking our wounds. Instead, it was a celebration: an opportunity to celebrate the light at the end of the tunnel. We may not be out of the woods yet, but every event organised, and every bar show brings us one step closer. This year’s BCB was a reminder that we are all still here and we are ready to get cracking!
Stage Highlights that fascinate and inspire
The stage program reflected this sentiment as well: With the bar community looking eagerly to the future, one of the focuses of the BCB seminars was on what lies ahead and how we can evolve. On the Liquid Stage, for example, Maria Gorbatschova gave a fascinating talk on the art of tasting. On the Main Stage, we traveled to Singapore with Vivian Pei and to Miami with Naren Young. The two stages covered a wide spectrum for an audience thirsting for knowledge, hope and perspectives. What's also great is that all of the Main Stage talks were broadcast through a live stream this year and continue to be available online.
Evening Events attracted Visitors to Berlin's Top Bars
For the first time, BCB organized evening events in collaboration with international and local bars: from Moscow to Beirut, some of the world's most talented bartenders traveled to present their concepts in Berlin: This allowed the Bar Convent to naturally expand to include the city itself as part of the BCB experience. As always, guest shifts in the evening were an essential part of the festivities: Six popular bars in the German capital (Wax On, Velvet, Green Door, House of Gin, Black Rabbit and Provocateur) became venues for fantastic parties. Here, bartenders from all over the world could celebrate the get-together together and safely – thanks to strict hygiene regulations.
Looking further ahead
The pandemic is not completely over, and has left lasting marks on our industry. Organising BCB with strong limitations and regulations may not have been going back to total normality, but it was a step closer. It was the bar industry saying loud and clear: we will be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Despite curve balls, last minute changes of plans, and unexpected difficulties, we were happy and proud to be able to open the doors of the new location to our visitors for the first time. We had an absolutely amazing time, and were thrilled to get to spend it with so many of you. We are already pumped and motivated to keep working hard and organise next year’s BCB to be even bigger and better. It is with love and dedication that we are proud to bring you the best of the bar world for three days, in Berlin, a city that is tough, bold, and beautifully imperfect: just like us.