Published: 13:16, 05 July 2020
| Updated: 10:19, 06 July 2020
Ever sat with a group of friends in a sunny beer garden and uttered the five words: "We should buy a pub"?
Well, thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit of a Gravesend businessman anyone can see what it's like to be a landlord for the day with his inflatable pubs.
Richard Martin set up The Social Bubble during lockdown and is now already inundated with bookings into next year.
As pubs reopened across the country this weekend, Richard says he feels many people want the comfort of having a pub in their own back garden and the inflatable element certainly sets it aside.
"A couple of us just had a Zoom call and got together and had a few beers and said we wished we had a pub in our gardens," Richard said.
"I've worked in leisure for years and with lockdown it just sprung to our minds.
"We bought one pub and then bought another one and now have three.
"It's a good way of social distancing and having a feel of the pub. They are small enough to get into a garden but the idea is that they could go anywhere."
The 6x4 metre inflatable bars are waterproof and windproof and weigh about 120kg so Richard says are sturdy structures.
The pubs come fully kitted out with beer taps and the team is able to provide additional extras such as kegs of beer and drinks, put in pub benches and wooden flooring or even man the bar for the duration.
Each pub is customisable including fitting your own sign and choosing the name of the boozer for the day.
"One customer we had was called Phil Mitchell. For his 50th birthday he wanted to have his birthday in the Queen Vic," Richard said.
Other requests have included a sports bar with a 126-inch screen for a Liverpool fan to watch their title-winning game last week and also a poker room equipped with game tables.
Bookings have taken off in the past few weeks, with a post on social media receiving 6,000 views in less than a week.
The 33-year-old says he's receiving about 100 inquiries a day and has dates confirmed into August 2021 with four bookings confirmed for this weekend.
"People have hired halls but now don't feel comfortable going," he added. "It's going to be a year of madness with people flocking to the pub and not everyone wants that."
But the inflatables don't have to be used just as a boozer. Richard says he can set them up as Santa's grottos and for one booking it was turned into a tuck shop for a Scout camp.
The business is operating in Kent, Essex and London but Richard says there's no reason why it could not expand further once he's able to buy more pubs.
He says his girlfriend is fully on board with the venture.
"It's a bit of a weird idea but it seems a great idea. I've always got some crazy ideas but this one seems to have hit it off," Richard said.
The company has a website where customers can check availability which costs £295 for a day to hire.
For more go to www.thesocialbubbleuk.co.uk
More by this authorMatt Leclere
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