Inception Group, the London-based hospitality operator behind venues Mr Fogg's, Cahoots and Maggie's, has released details of its plans to comply with distancing guidelines, which include beekeeping suits, Victorian mannequins and inflatable pool toys.
The company has said that while its top priority is "adapting working practices and spaces to create safe socialising environments", creative measures will be "woven into the experience in imaginative and playful ways," while honouring its distinctive brand concepts.
To address potential distancing measures without the need for removing furniture or keeping tables empty, visitors to Mr Fogg's Residence, a cocktail bar in Mayfair, will be met with an assortment of characters – in mannequin form and dressed in Victorian clothes – from Jules Verne's novel, Around the World in 80 Days, which inspired the collection of Mr Fogg's bars.
Staff and guests at Mr Fogg's House of Botanicals in Fitzrovia – themed around exotic flora and fauna – may be asked to wear beekeeping suits or lightweight head veils, while 1940s-themed cocktail bar Cahoots in Soho is planning to repurpose its World War II gas masks as face-covering solutions.
Late-night 80s-themed bar Maggie's in Chelsea will be transformed into a "Club Tropicana paradise", filled with inflatable rubber rings to encourage party-goers to keep a safe distance while dancing.
Charlie Gilkes, co-founder of Inception Group, said: "Now more than ever before, people will need spaces that spark a sense of escapism and imagination, and we are determined to adapt what we were doing successfully before to the new ways of operating, while staying true to what we do best: creating unique and memorable experiences."
He acknowledged that new restrictions would pose "significant challenges" but said he and his team were "trying our very best with what we can do".
"We do not want to welcome visitors back into spaces that feel sterile, devoid of personality and atmosphere because of the new measures."
He added that eventual decisions on the company's "playful solutions" would adhere to and be determined by official government guidelines, but said that "crucially for us, this must be done without forgetting, or compromising, what originally drew people into our establishments, and helped us build a loyal following."