Drinkers raise glass to a crash in London stock-exchange bar

Sun Jul 5, 2015 1:02am EDT
 
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By John Geddie and Marius Zaharia

LONDON (Reuters) - There is no shortage of liquidity at London's first stock exchange-themed bar, where beer prices fluctuate with demand and the occasional market crash can send prices tumbling.

With its sterile white walls, piercing ceiling lights and flatscreen TVs flashing green and red, Reserve Bar Stock Exchange in the 'Square Mile' financial district has the feel of a trading room.

"I just can't get enough of it," said Tom, fresh from work at the real London Stock Exchange just around the corner, and sharing a drink with friends at a table strewn with empty beer bottles, iPhones and a gold American Express Card.

To capture the best deals, customers use an app to monitor prices that constantly shift based on how much customers are buying.

As in all markets, what goes up must come down. Cue sirens, screens beaming "market crash" and drinks prices plummet.

The bar's signature cocktail Black Tuesday is a nod to one of the most famous crashes on Wall Street in 1929.

With the first full-week of business under his belt, owner Alan Grant plans to take the stock-exchange bar model -- which has flourished in other financial centers such as Paris and New York -- to another level.

In the coming weeks he plans to launch a futures market where customers can lock in bargain prices up to three months in advance and an "insider trading" Twitter account that will give customers hints about when crashes may occur.

"I always thought it would resonate in the City... the opportunity to potentially exploit a free market," Grant said.