The organisers of a city centre street food and bar pop-up in Aberdeen have hailed the three-month event a ‘great success’ as the venue comes to a close.
North-east club promoters, Rory Masson and Scott Forest, forged up the idea of The Bike Yard back in lockdown and decided to launch the outdoor pop-up to give DJs, food vendors and other local businesses the chance to trade during a difficult time for hospitality.
Welcoming more than 5,000 unique customers through their doors at the former McGown Motorcycles on Hutcheon Street, the yard opened on July 1 and has been busy every weekend since opening.
Rory, who has watched the “creative hub” grow into a community project says the concept couldn’t have gone better, with new businesses launching within it and other firms being provided a lifeline to trade.
He said: “We think it has been a great success. We have done what we set out to do which was make a unique space in Aberdeen using an old building that was sitting doing nothing.
“We’ve had thousands and thousands of customers through and we 5,000 unique customers, a lot of which were repeat customers. We built it up from nothing and we’ve navigated through the council loops. The local council loves it and overall it has been a great success.”
Closing the space officially due to demands from their “old jobs”, he and Scott are now being kept busy as club promoters with the return of nightlife just last month.
The Bike Yard will continue to offer pop-up and private events on an irregular basis, with two to three events taking place each month.
End of a short era
During the time it was open the venue employed 15 bar staff. Rory is adamant they have helped 25 to 30 people, including catering staff, at The Pigs Wings, the team at Two Raccoons and multiple DJs, all make a living over the summer from The Bike Yard.
In total, 6,783 pints, 3,456 cocktails, 2,345 snow cones and 1,473 gins have been served at the premises.
He added: “The only reason we’re closing it down is that we have our old jobs back with clubs reopening and we need time to focus on that.
“It was only ever meant to be a three-month run. All the nightclubs have reopened and we have Cultivate Festival this weekend. It is just too much to run all of these projects at the same time. We built The Bike Yard to be an outdoor venue. It is a natural end to the run.
“I don’t think it will be back next year in its current form as there’s someone taking over the site as of February next year and it will be a mechanics garage again.
“As for doing another pop-up bar, we hope to do something else next summer. We’re not ruling anything out.
“We’re actually not closing completely just now. We are closed for normal service but will be switching to an events venue until February or so.”
Closing weekend success
The Bike Yard was the first pop-up venue to receive an outdoor music licence in Aberdeen and Rory says this is one element of the event he is most proud of – being able to give DJs who hadn’t played to crowds in around two years the opportunity to do so.
He added: “The closing weekend was awesome. We had a midnight licence for the final three days. There was Two Raccoon’s wine tasting on the Friday and they’ve been selling hundreds of bottles of their wine.
For Oktoberfest on Saturday we had 200 to 300 people down. It was an amazing end to the three months.
“Being given the go-ahead to play music was great and we had multiple DJs down to play who hadn’t been able to play for two years or so.”
Cultivate Festival takes place this Saturday at the Beach Esplanade from 2pm.