Hospitality Industry Entrepreneurs Build A Bar On Wheels With A Brick-And Mortar Feel
LANTZVILLE – Brennan Hinchsliff and Bryce LaCouvée had a simple but unique idea.
Buy a Travelaire Camper Trailer built in the ’70s, hollow it out, and turn it into a fully functioning mobile bar. On its face, you’d think something like the COVID-19 pandemic would be the worst possible occurrence for such a business concept, but in fact, it was this global event that pushed the duo into the business in the first place. And thus, TravelBar was born.
Both friends came with hospitality industry know-how in Nanaimo, with a combined fourteen years of experience bartending and managing local popular hotspots; Brennan at LevelTwo Nightclub and The Queen’s, Bryce at Old City Station Pub and Carlos O’Brian’s. When COVID-19 reared its ugly head, things got difficult for everyone, but the team was prepared to adapt.
“When jobs became scarce in Spring of 2020 due to the pandemic, we used our spare time and savings to build TravelBar,” explains Brennan. “So, as far as COVID goes, it was sort of the main overarching reason we did it in the first place. With Travel-Bar, you can actually throw a COVID-safe event, as it’s almost always outdoors. We also have tons of COVID safety measures, and we’re Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) certified, which was a significant challenge, but necessary for us to hit the road.”
TravelBar operates just like any neighborhood brick-and-mortar bar, only streamlined. It comes fully-equipped with taps and kegs, unlimited drink mixes, garnishes, plenty of ice, and even a full sound system and microphone for karaoke. Also, vitally, a couple of fully licensed bartenders. The kicker, it can go nearly anywhere you want it to be.
Notes Bryce, “All you need to do is buy the liquor, which we consult closely on to make sure you get all the right stuff and proper licensing, and TravelBar handles the rest.”
As we get closer to increasingly effective therapies and promising news on vaccines, both entrepreneurs are looking to the future of TravelBar. When life in the province becomes more normal, they hope to start throwing their own events, and collaborating with local breweries, businesses, gatherings, and festivals.
Until then, Brennan and Bryce see TravelBar as an escape from the stresses of isolation people have been experiencing since social norms changed so drastically. The team has a keen understanding of what it takes to host a fun event with TravelBar, providing the full BC bar feel wherever it’s desired, from fancy cocktails events to fresh tapped local beer, with their excellent service on the menu.
Concludes Brennan, “Our whole mantra is to provide the Vancouver Island Experience. It’s the most beautiful and exciting place in the world and we want to be a business that is totally a part of that.”