If you’ve been to the World Series, the Super Bowl or the Kentucky Derby—or here in Las Vegas, attended an event at the new T-Mobile Arena or the recent NASCAR Truck Series race at the Speedway—you’ve probably seen a Bar Pod, solid yet mobile structures that can be customized and carted around the country. But you might not know how the Bar Pod came to be, and you certainly don’t know where it’s going, which is everywhere.
Bay Area native Michael Manion, a veteran of global nightlife and music festivals, came up with the idea of the Bar Pod when he saw the success of frozen-drink kiosks in Las Vegas. “The original ones we built from scratch looked like shipping containers,” he says. “Now we are pushing the limits with multiple models. The one we just set up for NASCAR is 50-feet long; both sides open up, and the rooftop patio holds 300 people.” What was a beverage kiosk has quickly become a real mobile venue, and Manion’s business has boomed since he moved his entire operation to Vegas.
The company’s growth has necessitated a name change—to Mobile Brands—because Manion is ready to take Bar Pods beyond concessions. “We are going into other markets, from augmented virtual reality experiences to product launches,” he says. His company doesn’t just build the pods; he’ll manage their operations, and transport and store them. “Every major corporation wants to get in front of people who attend these events, and we’re a turnkey solution. We take your brand mobile.”