By the River is a new summer pop-up at Barking Riverside, running for 6 weeks in July and August on our unique riverfront next to the Project Office.
Open Friday to Sunday, the space is an exciting café by day and a bar serving tasty food by night, with a jam-packed programme of classes and events running on selected evenings.
The major activation is a first for BRL, and was the brainchild of Deputy Managing Director, Paul Miller, who teamed up with our partners CBRE to bring the project to life.
We speak to Paul to get some further insight into the project.
Hi Paul, tell us about the vision for By the River?
Our vision was to help generate even more of a connection with the river for our residents. While they identify themselves as Riversiders, so many of them rarely get the chance to make use of this amazing blue space.
Quality was really important to us. We’ve brought in an amazing caterer, Dapper, who have created a really innovative bespoke menu for us, from delicious healthy Buddha bowls to loaded fries, as well as a high-end cocktail pop-up, Meetini.
The events and classes are run by a hand-picked selection of local suppliers – showcasing the best of Barking’s talent (this talent, in our opinion, is one of the things that makes this area so special). Throughout July, hundreds of residents have been enjoying activities from yoga to making reed diffusers and a successful series of open-air cinemas, which drew crowds from across East London.
How does By the River fit into BRL’s wider development plans?
As London’s only Healthy New Town, health and wellbeing are at the core of everything we do – and activation of the river is a key part of that. With this in mind, it was important to us that many of the classes and activities are centred around that wellbeing concept too.
From a business case point of view, as the project progresses, we are increasingly looking at the types of amenities that are going to work here on site. By the River is a great way to test how we can make this work while we still have a relatively small population here at Barking Riverside.
Why was now the right time to do this?
2022 has already been a huge year for the project. The opening of the Overground Station and the Uber Boat by Thames Clippers pier have really put us on the map, so now is the perfect time to start testing out new amenities like this with our residents and those from further afield.
Who has By the River been attracting?
Our initial concept was predominantly focused on providing our residents with a new amenity right on their doorstep.
However, the larger events throughout the summer, such as our cinema pop-up, have already attracted people from further afield to come and visit us. This footfall from across East London has really shown us how we can grow this concept in years to come – we hope to make it bigger and better in 2023 and beyond, enticing more and more people to the area.
So far, By the River has been a resounding success with our residents, and we are looking forward to welcoming more and more people, including some of our stakeholders and partners, over the summer!
Find out more about By the River.