BOW BAR

Francesco Betti, Bar Manager at Bow Bar, Hilton London Metropole, shares more about the planet-forward venue, revealing what winning The Environment Award means to the team.

Please tell our readers about Bow Bar and the venue’s approach to sustainability.

Bow Bar is the East London-inspired destination bar at the largest Hilton outside the US, Hilton London Metropole. Bow Bar’s tagline, ‘street attitude, city refinement’, captures the essence of East London’s refined financial district contrasted with local areas of art and creativity. Guests are tempted to enter the order and chaos, and experience East London’s cultural melting pot with unique cocktails and delicious food. The bar’s name is inspired by the area in East London called ‘Bow’, legend being if you were born within the sounds of the Bow Bells, you’re considered to be a true Londoner. This concept is integrated within the bar design, which taps into an industrial feel, contrasted with the modernity of the financial district, with floral artwork giving a nod to the Columbia Road Flower Market. 

Sustainability sits at the heart of all our decision making. Bow Bar is proud to be powered by 100% renewable electricity, ISO certified, sends 100% of our food waste to compost, has eliminated single-use plastic, has staff uniforms made with recycled plastic bottles, only uses 100% recycled and recyclable packaging, stocks Toast Ale on draft, and has biodegradable agave straws. We also repurpose food waste throughout our menu in creative formats – i.e. for garnishes, infused ingredients, citrus shrub and more. All this and more make us a sustainable business contributing towards a cleaner and greener future. Bow Bar leads with sustainability, boasting a skilled team, spearheaded by our Bar Manager, Francesco Betti.

How important is it for wet-led venues to put the environment at the top of their agenda, and how has this contributed to Bow Bar’s overall success?

Our sustainability practices have significantly supported Bow Bar in reducing waste, which simultaneously has cost benefits through re-using ingredients, and in making homemade ingredients to avoid purchasing from suppliers. We are proud to send no waste to landfill, with all leftover food waste turned to compost. Other positive impacts include: reducing our carbon footprint, which is helping us make progress towards Hilton’s ESG strategy Travel with Purpose; strengthening our venue storytelling and differentiating from competitors. A key factor is also attracting sustainability conscious guests who value bars like ourselves with strong ESG credentials.

Why do you believe Bow Bar won the Environment Award: what are some pivotal moments that have led the team to where they stand today?

Our team at Bow Bar have worked extremely hard to prioritise sustainability throughout the bar concept and operations. Each year, the team build on their initiatives, pushing boundaries in the industry and constantly trying new things. Some pivotal moments include: introducing Toast Ale on draft, a company that makes its product with surplus bread, and introducing the ‘Use, Infuse, Transform, Re-use’ ethos to change the method in which ingredients are recycled to manage waste throughout the cocktail menu.

Why would you encourage fellow hospitality venues and the teams behind them to get involved in the 2025 Bar Magazine Awards?

It’s such a great opportunity to come together with other incredible venues and teams to share knowledge and get inspired by new exciting initiatives in the bar industry. Overall, it’s a fantastic event to celebrate hard work and dedication and to recognise our achievements.

Please share any words of wisdom for aspiring venues looking to excel in their sustainability approach and be recognised for this?

For aspiring venues looking to excel in their sustainability approach, start by addressing your most significant issue, i.e. waste management. From there, switch out suppliers and products with sustainable options, such as local ethical sourcing, as much as possible. For recognition, integrate your sustainability initiatives within the venue storytelling and market these to your audience.