London Cocktail Week, the UK's largest drinks festival, has announced a partnership with Seven Dials, Covent Garden, in a move that will bring the event's seminars, pop-up bars, tastings, parties and master-classes to the heart of the West End for the first time.
The new Covent Garden hub is expected to bring 20,000 cocktail lovers together to celebrate the capital's unrivalled cocktail culture. As before, the festival will provide a platform for more than 150 industry-hosted activities, from Monday 8th October until Sunday 14th October, located in the bars, shops, hotels, streets and event spaces around Seven Dials.
Major drinks companies such as Bacardi Brown-Forman, Diageo, Pernod Ricard UK and First Drinks, as well as many boutique brands, have already committed to hosting events.
The new West End hub also means most London Cocktail Week participating bars - offering £4 cocktails - will be within walking distance, while a complementary Routemaster bus service will ferry festival-goers to venues further afield. For 2012, the number of bars is being deliberately restricted to around 100 sites to ensure the best-possible quality mixology is on offer.
Hannah Sharman-Cox, Festival Director, said this year's London Cocktail Week was already shaping up well with events including major product launches, special pop-ups in collaboration with some of London's foremost retailers. Other significant events will include 'An Audience with...' series of interviews with high profile figures and the unveiling of Drinks International's 50 Best Bars. There will also be several large-scale trade-focused pop-ups at Seven Dials hosted by drinks brands.
She said: "London Cocktail Week acts as a unifying platform for different brands and drinks companies to celebrate contemporary cocktail culture in London. We're now in our third year and thrilled by the level of support we're already seeing from the drinks trade. The 2012 Seven Dials hub is a perfect pedestal to celebrate the capital's cocktail culture and will gain unprecedented attention for everyone from top mixologists to those who just love consuming great cocktails."
Festival-goers need a wristband to qualify for £4 cocktails at each of the participating bars and to gain entry to events around Seven Dials, many of which are limited capacity. Wristbands will cost £4 each though are free to members of the drinks industry (proof of employment required). Everyone wanting to participate will need to register online from August onwards.