Future Night Out Gen Z Night Out

In our last piece, we spoke about the fact that alcohol consumption has been on the decline for a while now, with Millennials drinking less than the generation before them, and Gen Zers now drinking 20% less than their Millennial counterparts.

The advent of on-demand entertainment and music also meant that through the 2000s, clubs and pubs have been closing en masse; where we used to go out to discover new music, party and watch movies, now we often just sit on the sofa and stick on the TV or a curated Spotify playlist and scroll on our phones.

So, with all that in mind, what does the night out of the future look like?

Future Night Out Gen Z Hand In Air

Firstly, what does the night out of today look like?

And if Gen Zers aren’t drinking as much, what are they doing?

The idea that they aren’t drinking at all is a bit of a myth. In fact, they’re drinking about 20% less alcohol, and this is largely due to the ‘LoNo’ movement, where the generation tends to choose lower ABV drinks, such as Seltzers and lite beers, over the stronger drink choices of the past: no more “shots, shots, shots” (Lil Jon will be very disappointed).

They are still going out - especially those at university - but the big shift has come in mindset, and in particular in embracing acceptance as a quality.

As Gen Z are far more accepting and understanding of their peer’s different religions, genders, sexualities and choices, there’s also a lot less peer pressure. 

That has created an atmosphere at pre-drinks, pubs and parties that you don’t have to drink if you don’t want to, and actually that it’s cool to be headstrong and say no when everyone else is saying yes.

In the past, however, you’d be wrestled by toxic masculinity-style peer pressure to drink more, (that is if you weren’t the one doing the pressuring).

The below snippet from Vice on Gen Z and their party habits is pretty telling:

“If you're the one person throwing up and having to cut everyone's night short, you no longer gain lad points, but rather become a bit of an inconvenience or burden. It's also becoming far more acceptable to be "that person" who doesn't drink or take drugs, and our generation is respecting that more, instead of swapping your Ribena for a vodka-cranberry when you're not looking”.
Future Night Out Gen Z Night Out Cool Young People

With all that said, this is a generation that has seen both the 2008 market crash and the financial aftermath of Covid. With those two things combined, they are more frugal too.

Millennials and generations before loved a bargain at the bar, and that used to come in the form of 2-4-1 shots or massive jugs of cocktail at a discount.

Now though, with Gen Z still looking for good value, the choice can often be to stay in altogether rather than go out. And even when Gen Z do go out for their entertainment - especially when it comes to concerts and gigs - they don’t always feel the need to drink when they’re there. 

Previously, the default was to have a few beers before, a few during and a few after. Now, with a new focus on mindfulness, Gen Zers want to be present, in the moment and remember everything; alcohol simply doesn’t fit with that precedent.

So, what about the future?

Given that our team is made up of specialists in experience, brand and interior design, we’re going to look through those lenses to explore what the future could look like, given current trends and trajectory.


Treehouse for Hilton, designed by us


One thing we know to be vital to all generations now (especially Gen Z) is eco-conscious design, and just as Gen Zers are buying from brands that share their values, their nightlife choices are likely to reflect that in the future.

Many pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants that do decide to focus on an eco-friendly offer and interior design scheme will draw crowds that align with those values.

From reclaimed wood furnishings to locally sourced materials, businesses are already embracing sustainability, and this is a trend that’s likely to grow significantly in the coming years.

But it won't just be interiors that will increase in appeal as they become more eco-friendly: assuming that we will all continue to become more concerned about the environment, it's also highly likely that we will make even more conscious choices in the future.

Food miles, local and ethical sourcing, supporting local producers and flexitarianism are all likely to be hot topics in the future, and businesses that tailor their offering, communications and overall brand values to these are likely to win fans.

Gen Z Night Out Tech


Gen Zers are defined as being the last generation born that doesn’t know a time before the internet, and so it's highly likely (unless there is a counter-revolution) that tech will also become a more seamless part of their social scene.

Touchscreens and QR code menus are now considered pretty standard in most venues, and it’s likely that we’ll see new technologies of a similar ilk emerge to improve the buying experience and service on nights out.

And although conversations around it have died down since AI became the new tech toy of preference, the Metaverse is still likely to rear its head again in the not-too-distant future - especially considering the billions invested by the likes of Meta and Google already.

But with that said, humans are inherently social creatures; even Gen Zers desperately sought physical interaction with their friends post-Lockdown. It’s highly likely then that as our lives become more and more digitally-focused, we will value physical spaces and moments even more.

Future Night Out Gen Z Technology

Rotations and Collaborations

Gen Zers expect everything immediately and have very short attention spans.

Not only will tech be needed to keep service slick and buyers from getting bored, but it could also be that we see even more growth in rotating menus and collaborations to keep customers coming back.

Seasonal menus are far from new, but menus that chop and change monthly to collaborate with out-of-sector brands and local producers could create excitement and drive footfall.

In terms of environment design, it may be that a greater focus on digital comes into play in order that lighting, artwork and displays can be swapped and changed far more frequently to constantly reinvent spaces.

Spaces that evolve visually through the night to reflect the changing atmosphere as time goes on, or even that change throughout the year depending on the season could also be used to boost intrigue and keep people coming back.

Future Night Out Gen Z Cocktails

No and Lo

It's not just Gen Zers who are drinking less: people the world over are becoming more and more health conscious, as social media has granted us access to a constant flow of fact, figures and fake news surrounding our health and wellbeing.

This has in part helped to cause a boom in the No and Lo drinks market.

But - and this is a very important point - people are still going out.

Expect then the menus of the future to continue to evolve in a direction which offers more alternatives to classic options, with pubs and bars featuring curated selections of lower alcohol craft cocktails, spirits and artisanal, low-booze beers, aligning to the health-conscious and socially mindful mindset we see growing.

There may also be new products entirely on the menu: Nootropics - which are naturally occurring chemicals that can effect our mental state one way or another - is an area of growth that will likely impact the drinks market at some point.

And as we've seen a boom in THC-infused products in recent years - which has proved to counter-balance the energy drinks market that grew significantly in the 00's - we may well see significant growth in drinks that align with demand for this kind of buzz, too.

Future Night Out Gen Z Phone Photo

Social Media-Worthy Experiences

Who knows what the future of social media looks like. Five years ago, you’d have been forgiven for saying, “What’s a TikTok?”, and yet here we are.

With that said, it’s highly likely that the night out of the future will continue to feature heavily on social media, and so social media worthy experiences will still be crucial.

We already know however that simple and singular ‘Instagrammable Moments’ aren’t enough; entire experiences need to be designed to be aesthetically pleasing and snappable to the audience.

Gen Zers love disappearing or in the moment content: platforms like BeReal have boomed in recent years, and the generation also prefers Snapchat to WhatsApp for the same, low-pressure, gone and forgotten reasons.

It could be then that the desire for unique moments continues to grow. Interiors of the future may feature in-the-moment-only AI generated artworks, soundtracks and light shows that form those social media-worth moments that people will describe by saying, “You just had to be there”.

2.HUDDL Play

Live Social, designed by us

Competitive Socialising

Competitive socialising has seen remarkable growth, with the industry expanding nearly 400% since 2021, according to Cushman & Wakefield, and we’d expect to see that trend continue.

UK brands are expanding successfully in the US, with Flight Club, Swingers, and Electric Shuffle leading the way. This surge aligns with the rise of the experience economy, appealing to a new generation of consumers who seek unique, premium entertainment over traditional shopping or dining, and this is something we do expect to continue into the future.

Importantly for Gen Z, brands and concepts centred around competitive socialising also cater to those choosing not to drink, offering an alternative evening of fun not centred solely around alcohol.

These kinds of venues are revitalising unused commercial real estate spaces too, injecting vitality into shopping centres. Interestingly, adjacent businesses like restaurants and hospitality brands are integrating competitive socialising into their offerings, signalling further potential for growth and innovation.

Inclusive Environments

Inclusive Environments

Of course, we couldn’t finish a piece on Gen Z and the night out of the future without mentioning diversity and inclusivity.

Pubs, bars and clubs will be even more committed to creating welcoming spaces that embrace a variety of preferences and backgrounds. From gender-neutral loos to spaces designed with accessibility in mind, inclusivity is woven into the very fabric of designing for the nightlife of the future.

And beyond the physical space, events that celebrate cultural diversity and promote social causes will aid in fostering a sense of community and be very appealing to the future club, pub and bar goer.

Gen Z Night Out Club Design


Dynamic social hubs that intertwine design, tech, sustainability, and inclusivity are the most likely order of tomorrow's night out experience, as Gen Z sets the tone for the future.

The challenge lies in striking the perfect balance between innovation and authenticity, and creating spaces that not only cater to Gen Z, but also to all of the other humans that will be out for a night out, too. 

If you’d like a chat about the future of your audience and how your portfolio of pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants needs to flex to reflect that, we would love to chat.

Click here to get in touch or read more on our Experience Strategy service here.

Background 03