To celebrate the first anniversary of its men’s Shoe Gallery on Oxford Street, Selfridges commissioned interior designer Lee Broom to design an innovative new pop-up bar to sit alongside the department. (Restaurateur Mark Hix, who has other concessions within the store, will operate it.)
The new bar, claimed to be the first of its kind in a retail environment, launched pre-Christmas. The project, called “Mark’s Bar,” is comprised of a collection of furniture that’s completely moveable, so it can be relocated to different areas of the department store. “It was great to work with Selfridges and Mark Hix on the bar design,” Broom says. “I have a great deal of experience in furniture, bar and high-end retail design, so combining all three disciplines into one brief was an exciting prospect. There were many unique requirements, which ultimately have really enhanced the design of the pieces and I’m very proud of the result.”
There are three main pieces to the collection: a sideboard, a hostess trolley and a tallboy drawer set—each with a distinct and important function to the operation of the bar. Every piece is entirely bespoke and handcrafted in the U.K. using walnut wood with polished and brushed brass accents. It was critical to employ durable materials to enhance the practicality of the bar. When the bar is not in use, the components sit together as an installation of lounge furniture that complements the retail environment. When in operation, the pieces seamlessly transform to display and house everything one would need in a working bar. The spirits cabinet, for example, elevates from the interior of the sideboard and the work surface raises up to reveal the inner workings of the bar.
When designing the bar concept, Broom was inspired by 1960s America, when entertaining at home was growing in popularity. The bar recreates the sense of theatre from that era by producing a heightened version of home entertaining. To tie the bar design together and help create a domestic atmosphere, Broom has added an oversized circular mirror using the same wood and brass finishes. A matching long wooden table and stools accompany the bar, so shoppers can sit and enjoy one of the delicious cocktails on offer amid the bustling shop floor.
“It is great to have the smallest cocktail bar in the largest men’s shoe wear department in the world,” Hix says. “We aim to create some fantastic cocktails, but this time taking inspiration in our approach from famous shoemakers.”
Shoes and cocktails? We’ll cheers to that!