OXFORD, MS - (Posted March 18) At press time, pre-registration for this year's International Night Club & Bar Trade Show (March 24-26, Las Vegas Convention Center) was up a stunning 50% over last year. The winter 2002 edition of that show drew 32,340 attendees who visited 900 exhibitors in some 1,500 booths. One week before the expo opens, sponsors said they had no indications that the looming war with Iraq would impact attendance. "However, like everyone else, we are concerned," allowed Amy Lorton, executive editor and vice-president of publishing for the show's organizer, Nightclub & Bar Magazine (Oxford, MS). She added: "More than half our attendees are from the West Coast, so many are driving or may choose to drive instead of fly. We haven't had any cancellations as far as exhibitors."
In an interview to be published in the April issue of VENDING TIMES, Lorton discusses trends in today's tavern market. The years-long downward spiral for mom and pop, neighborhood bars has apparently ended as Americans seek to stay closer to home in the wake of Sept. 11, Lorton said. She also advised that key trends in the bar market are the rapid rise of Latino locations, along with an increasing number of super clubs (defined as a restaurant, sports bar, bar, nightclub all in one location). "We also are seeing an increasing number of rooftop bars at hotels," Lorton said. Read the full interview in next month's VT.