Peppermint’s Festive Pop-Ups At Southbank Centre

This winter, you will have heard us shout about our two festive pop-ups at Southbank Centre; The Circus Bar and Bar Under The Bridge.

The Circus Bar is our exclusive festive pop-up bar, housed in several magnificent showman tipis sitting in front of the Royal Festival Hall, serving up street-food, sizzling steaks and loaded baguettes. Its neighbour, Bar Under The Bridge, is located under Hungerford Bridge and is Southbank Centre’s hidden gem this winter. You’ll find some oozing cheese offerings which you can wash down with a hot mulled wine or a soft drink of your choice.

This week we spoke with our Project Manager, Michael Gwyther, to get an idea of what went into the process of bringing these pop-ups to life.

How did you choose the design for The Circus Bar and BUTB?

“Choosing the theme for the Southbank project was one of the easiest parts of the process. Southbank Centre winter theatre season included a show called ‘Circus 1903’ that celebrates the Golden Age of the Circus world. Traditionally these shows took place within tipis, so it felt like the perfect fit. Our in-house design team, headed up by our Production Director, Robin Hassell, brought both areas to life with detailed drawings showcasing both environments. Our sister agency, Equals, looked after all of the site branding on behalf of Southbank Centre.

“Originally the BUTB was going to be circus themed but as the project drew closer this didn’t feel like the right fit. The decision was made to change the theme of BUTB to a winter ski lodge; perfect for the cheese offering down there.”

And the implementation?

“The build of the environments were excellently delivered by one of our partners, Stunning Tents, who brought our drawings to life with bespoke built bars, fine dining areas and creative dressing.”

How did you make sure you chose suitable brands and staff to best represent Southbank Centre?

“Peppermint works alongside some big-name and smaller independent brands that we handpick to best show off our clients. The brands chosen for the venue were driven by providing a range that would please children and families on the weekend to city workers on the weeknights. Amstel, Maltsmiths IPA, Lagunitas and Heineken 0.0 are on offer, alongside luxury hot chocolates suitable for children that can be upgraded with a shot of King’s Ginger for adults.

“We worked with staffing agency HOST to get the right staff into the venue and implemented a training day on opening night to bring the staff up to speed to ensure a friendly and professional customer experience.”

What measures did you take to show off Southbank Centre at its best,
increase its customer base and maximise its sales opportunities?

Between Peppermint, Stunning Tents and Jimmy’s Pop Up (the pop-up restaurant) and working with Southbank Centre’s marketing team, we got some great coverage within the press. The fine dining fire pit (VESTA) was featured on ‘The Londonist’, Lad Bible and Daily Mail and also created additional interest in the Circus Bar.

“Additionally, Southbank Centre’s marketing team produced some fantastic promotional videos and we also bought in our own photographer to capture both locations as their best.”

What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?

“The footfall at Southbank Centre is obviously incredible, but with thousands of people coming off Waterloo Bridge whilst the build crew were trying to move pallets, it had its challenges. However, we still managed to create two different areas that provide a great customer experience in a festive, central London environment.”

As with any of our clients, we took this project on by the horns and have delivered two immersive pop-ups that have been hugely successful and have shown Southbank Centre in all its festive glory. What’s more, we have thoroughly enjoyed both of these projects and are always looking for new brand activation opportunities.

If you are interested in working with us, please do get in touch with us on 0333 043 7845 or email