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Mr Fogg’s Residence using mannequins for social distancing
Photograph: Inception Group

This London bar might use mannequins to enforce social distancing when it reopens

As if returning to the outdoor world wasn’t scary enough...

Laura Richards

If the last few months haven’t seemed to you like rolling scenes from a horror movie, maybe this vision will haunt your dreams instead. The bar group behind immersive London venues Mr Fogg’s, Cahoots and others has been toying with ways to reopen once the government gives the go-ahead. One of the solutions it’s landed on? Mannequins.

The static figures dressed in Victorian garb could occupy tables at Mr Fogg’s Residence in Mayfair in a measure the Inception bar group describes as a ‘playful solution’ to social distancing. That venue is themed around the Jules Verne novel ‘Around the World in 80 Days’, and as such, some mannequins will represent characters from the tale.

The idea is that, with the venue likely operating at half capacity or less, the mannequins will help maintain a buzzy bar atmosphere, eliminating the appearance of empty tables and chairs. We’re not sure we’re that bothered by the sight of empty chairs after seeing images of the props in situ, though...

Mr Fogg’s Residence using mannequins for social distancing
Photograph: Inception Group

The bar group hastens to add that it will be following all the expected procedures and safety measures in line with government guidelines when the time comes to reopen its venues. But it didn’t want to lose its trademark sense of fun from proceedings. ‘We do not want to welcome visitors back into spaces that feel sterile, devoid of personality and atmosphere because of the new measures,’ said Inception Group co-founder Charlie Gilkes.    

Playful social-distancing measures being considered for the group’s other bars include authentic WWII gas masks at Blitz-themed bar Cahoots and bee-keeping suits used as PPE at Mr Fogg’s House of Botanicals. You’ll probably have to see it to bee-lieve it. 

Mr Fogg’s House of Botanicals using bee-keeping suits as PPE
Photograph: Inception Group
Cahoots using gas masks as PPE
Photograph: Inception Group

Perhaps it took inspiration from this Michelin-starred restaurant near Washington DC where the patrons are also mannequins

What other measures can we expect from London’s bars and pubs when they reopen


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