Picture this: you and your friends are looking for something cute to do to soak up these last weeks of summer. Your group wants to get dressed up, enjoy a drink or two, and take fun photos — but you’d rather enjoy a more intimate setting as opposed to heading to a bar or club. Well, look no further than Via Bar Detroit, a new luxury mobile bar and social lounge that launched in early July.
“I wanted to create a space where you can have a girls’ night,” Via Bar founder Kiya Barden says of the events people can host. But she says the options are limitless: bachelorette parties, birthdays, children’s events, corporate gigs — you name it. Via Bar is available to rent from April to November, with packages starting at $875. The indoor bar and lounge area — a converted 1959 camper that seats up to six guests — is a space where guests can enjoy a Bartesian self-serve cocktail machine and six “cocktail capsules,” which contain bitters, extracts, and juice concentrates that can be used with the Bartesian to make cocktails or mocktails (guests must bring their own liquor and other beverages).
Bowls for beverages and disposable drinkware are also included in the rental packages. Guests can use the space outside of the camper; outdoor table risers are included with the rental and add-ons like decorated picnic tables seating up to 12 guests and lounge setups with two chairs, a table, and rug are available for purchase. While the mobile bar does not come staffed for bartending services, certified bartenders are available for an additional fee.
Via travels 30 miles from Detroit’s 48226 ZIP code (with a surcharge for farther locations). On the day of your rental, the Via Bar team will park the camper and set up everything at your desired location — just make sure a 120V power source is available onsite for the team to hook the camper up to.
As the owner of local project management agency OPMG, Barden knows a thing or two about unique and experiential events. The 32-year-old Detroit native says the concept for Via came to her randomly last year, but she knew it would be something special.
“I hadn’t seen anything like it in the city,” says Barden, who is an avid traveler with a background in brand marketing and telecommunications. “I spend a lot of time in L.A. and in Europe — they would have cool things like this. We need something like this in Detroit.”
When Barden began the renovation process on the camper with contractors last summer, she knew she wanted to maintain its vintage and rustic look while also creating a modern and luxurious atmosphere. It features its original woodwork around the windows and door, and a new serving window and bar area were built in. For the indoor lounge, Barden opted for a color scheme of white, green, and pink to keep the space light and airy. Silk floral arrangements and other greenery add to the space.
For its first season, Barden is simply excited to see how people use Via. She plans to have an official ticketed launch event sometime in September. And starting in October for one weekend a month, she’ll do curated pop-up events; groups of up to 15 people can rent Via Bar for two hours to enjoy.
Barden says events planners have already reached out to reserve Via Bar and she’s thrilled with the feedback she’s received so far. “I want our customers to understand that this is a premium experience that they will be receiving,” Barden says. “You’re going to feel confident in the event that you are creating.”
For more information, visit viabardetroit.com.