Pop-up establishments provide the wow factor for multiple reasons.
They offer a unique experience for visitors, create a buzz within the local community, attract new customers, and provide room for the team of the business itself to experiment with different concepts.
There has been a rarity of pop-up bars and restaurants in the north-east over recent years, so when one sprouts onto the food and drink scene, it’s fair to say that people from across the region – of all ages – are eager to try it out for themselves.
And this was certainly the case for The Ivy Lodge, situated on Shiprow in Aberdeen.
Despite only being able to open its doors to the public for a matter of weeks, the stylish pop-up bar made its mark on the city, offering an array of drinks and delicious pizzas.
General manager Steven Rough emphasised that the venue caters to all tastes. He said: “The Ivy Lodge is a great venue that offers something different for everyone.
“We have such a great team here at The Ivy Lodge, so much so that every day I’m eager to come to work and start the day.
“The venue officially began operating on November 3 last year. Being a fairly new bar, our team is still quite small, but everyone plays a massive part in making The Ivy Lodge – it’s like a family now.”
Steven has been working in hospitality since the age of 18, so has spent a number of years learning from industry experts to build up his knowledge.
“I’ve always been one for speaking to people and getting to know new people,” Steven added. “It also helped that I loved a night out, so everything seemed to make sense and fit into place.
“I’ve used my knowledge and skills to build up The Ivy Lodge. We offer everything from cocktails, mocktails, lagers and beers, to warm drinks and spirits such as whisky, vodka, gin and rum.
“Cocktails that featured on our menu included a raspberry daiquiri, margarita, bramble – one of our most popular drinks – cosmopolitan, strawberry daiquiri, zombie, long vodka and Bailey’s white Russian. We also had ‘winter warmers’ available over the festive period.
“Oh, and there’s also our handmade pizzas including cheese and tomato, meat feast, pepperoni, hot and spicy, veggie supreme and vegan delight options. Our pizzas were a big hit.
“We are all part of one big team here at The Ivy Lodge, so everyone has an input into what goes on to our menus.
“To someone who hasn’t been to the bar, I’d describe it as very welcoming and homely.
“To your left could be a couple having a wine night and to your right, you could have friends catching up over coffee. It’s a place for everyone.
“Personally, I think what makes us unique is how different we are to other bars in Aberdeen. We try to offer as much as we can so that everyone who visits us leaves feeling satisfied.”
Although the bar is currently not operating due to Covid-19 restrictions, the general manager is looking forward to welcoming back customers, new and old alike, once again when it is safe to do so.
He assures that there will be a line-up of measures in place to ensure both members of staff and visitors feel at ease while enjoying the bar’s food and drinks.
“It’s been great being a part of The Ivy Lodge and I can’t thank the owners and team enough,” Steven said.
“The coronavirus pandemic obviously affected our business, along with many others, but as safely and as soon we can, we can’t wait to open our doors and start welcoming people back into the bar again.
“As soon as we can get going again, we have a lot to offer in 2021, so please keep updated on our website and social media platforms.
“This year, our aim is that everyone who visits us has a great time and leaves with a smile.”
A Round of Questions with Steven Rough
Keen to find out more about Ivy Lodge’s general manager? Well, take a look at how Steven got on in our round of questions.
What’s your customer ice breaker?
I’d just keep it simple by welcoming them and asking how their day was.
It’s the end of your shift – what do you pour yourself?
We offer such a wide variety here at the Ivy but I’d often stick with a beer.
If you were a drink, what would you be and why?
A shot of whisky – I’m perfect in small doses.
Most unusual drink you’ve ever been asked to make?
A malibu and milk. Turns out it’s actually very nice.
What would the theme song to your average shift be?
What’s in your drinks cabinet at home?
There are always a couple of bottles of gin in the cupboard and a few beers in the fridge.
Best food and drink pairing?
Definitely an Ivy pizza and a lager.
If you were stuck on a desert island, what drinks would be there with you?
If I’m in a desert I’ll have a sex on the beach cocktail to make it a holiday… Oh, and a Guinness.
If you had to make a drink to represent Aberdeen, what would it be?
I’m a beer man myself, so probably a local Fierce IPA or a Big Juicy.
You have to serve your favourite superhero or celebrity a drink. Who is it, and what do you serve them?
I’d serve Daniel Craig a vodka martini.