New Flight Club site success could unlock more high street locations

By Stuart Stone

- Last updated on GMT

Plans on point: Flight Club’s Steve Moore says there could be three or four new sites per year
Plans on point: Flight Club’s Steve Moore says there could be three or four new sites per year

Related tags Darts

Flight Club co-founder Steve Moore explains that hitting the mark in a new site in north London could help the concept branch out onto high streets in smaller towns and cities.

Discussing the launch of its fourth venue in London at the end of November – joining existing capital sites in Bloomsbury, Shoreditch and Victoria – Moore outlined that the success of the social darts concept’s site on Islington’s Upper Street could provide the blueprint to targeting sites outside of the UK’s leading cities such as London, Manchester and Birmingham.  

“Islington’s very exciting,” Moore told The Morning Advertiser​. “The high street is really under pressure and, I'm not saying we could fix it, but this is our first smaller format play on a road like Upper Street. We're really interested to see how that pans out – so far the demand has been massive.

“It would prove quite a lot because a slightly smaller format would unlock particular places like Cambridge and Reading. The other venues are beautiful, big venues of, like, 400 people while the one in Islington is 150. If that goes well then the sky is the limit in unlocking more potential.”

Moore adds that plans are already in place to expand the concept to Leeds and Cardiff once the latest site is up and running.

“We’ll be looking to do between three or four Flight Clubs a year in the UK. Each of them takes a lot out of us – a year, all in – from finding it to designing it, because they're all super bespoke to that area. We already know the pipeline because you have to be a year ahead of yourself.”


Growth of experience-based concepts

The announcement of Flight Club’s latest venue comes amid a widespread clamour for quirky experiential leisure brands.

Off the back of recent success, Ball pit cocktail bar Ballie Ballerson unveiled both a new site in London’s West End as well as plans to refurbish its original Shoreditch site while Junkyard Golf Club revealed plans to open first permanent London site​ – four years after launching its first pop-up in Manchester​.

“There’s no hiding the fact there’s a lot of doom and gloom out there at the moment – both in the US and the UK with what’s going on with Brexit, what’s going on with Trump and Boris’ start,” Moore explained.

“What we've spent years and years creating, and some of our competitors are doing a good job of as well, is a little bit of escapism and lots of positive energy.

“Nobody uses their telephone in Flight Club because they're just so immersed.

“We're quite nicely positioned in the market – there's so much energy in the product and demand is so high. It just seems to be such a fresh brand that people seem to associate really well with and like.”


Electric Shuffle launch

Moore and his fellow Flight Club founder Paul Barham recently unveiled new shuffleboard concept Electric Shuffle, which will open its first site in Canary Wharf​, east London, on 29 November.

As Flight Club did with darts, Electric Shuffle takes the core elements of shuffleboard and reinvents them for the 21st century consumer – using unique technology to create an accessible, fast-flowing game.

“It's been about three and a half years in development, pretty much the same time as Flight Club opened we stumbled across shuffleboard,” Moore said.

“What we liked about it, and I can't think of one other activity apart from it and social darts, is the energy it has – you get your own little amphitheatre, your own little section, your mates are huddled around it.

“It's a beautiful analogue game that we have applied visual technology to. You're playing a beautiful game but no technology has interfered with it.

“I honestly think that the two activities that we deal with are the only two with those sorts of characteristics. We could digitise pool tomorrow – the amount of in-house talent there is means it wouldn't take long – I just don't really see it. I don't see everybody sat round a table like you do at Flight Club or Electric Shuffle.

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