Founder Kiya Barden and renovated camper.
For those looking for an intimate and unique dining experience in the city, a new traveling luxury bar may be just the thing. Sprinkled with a dose of vintage flair, Via Bar Detroit is elevating the social experience and doing it in style.
First launched in July 2021, Via Bar Detroit is quickly becoming a fan favorite. A custom 1959 vintage camper serves as the backdrop for unforgettable memories and social media-worthy shots. Founder Kiya Barden, first seeing luxury traveling bars abroad, decided to bring the concept back to the city.
“I do a lot of traveling and I have a lot of friends who throw luxury events. I’ve been to quite a few. This concept came from just being out in the event world. I’ve seen mobile bars, but I wanted to create something that was luxury but something that also gave you a vintage feel,” says Barden. “I saw it in Europe and I said I want to bring this to the city of Detroit. I want to grace Michigan with something like this.”
Putting the plan into motion after some research, the entrepreneur was able to locate a seller looking to rehome a vintage camper.
“I found quite a few, but nothing really grabbed my eye like the 1959 camper that I purchased. It was giving me enough room on the inside and the outside to do what I needed to do and create the feel I wanted to have for my clients,” says Barden.
Purchasing the camper was just the first step. The renovations began July 2020, just as the coronavirus pandemic was in full swing. The business visionary had a plan to stick to the original state as much as possible and add modern elements to the classic beauty.
“Renovations went through the beginning of winter and then we started back renovating with all my contractors in the spring. Renovations took about a year to be fully complete,” says Barden.
With seating for up to six, the camper is equipped with everything needed to set the scene including decor, unlimited access to the inside and 12 Bartesian capsules that allow guests to create a cocktail with ease. The Keurig-style machine can customize drinks ranging in strength from mocktails to drinks with bar-like quality. Guests can also include premium add-ons to take the event to the next level. Although bartending services do not come with rental, licensed bartenders are available for all-day events. Party-throwers are welcome to bring their own spirits.
“Not only do you get something that is beautiful and picturesque on the outside, almost Instagram-able, but you have that same opportunity on the inside of the trailer,” says Barden.
Perfect for bachelorette parties, birthdays and private picnics, Via Bar Detroit also caters to children. Substitute cocktails for juice boxes and parents can host a child’s party fit for storybooks.
As the luxury bar and lounge brings the party, rental packages come with up to 30 miles of travel from the 48226 area. With additional mileage available at a surcharge, Via Bar Detroit is ready to customize all party needs.
With plans of expansion, Via Bar Detroit will grow with an additional traveling vessel for Detroiters in the future, but will have a new look and feel. The Bar also plans to expand to additional states.
“Via Bar wants to bring a premium experience to all events. We want to expand. We want to offer franchise opportunities to different states so they can have something that brings them a luxury experience for their city and their state, says Barden. “The response from people who aren’t even in the state of Michigan is crazy. We have people calling for something similar in Miami, in Houston, in LA. Promoters are asking how they can be a part of it.”
In business just a few months, Via Bar Detroit has received a warm reception. With no official marketing, social media has helped the business to grow.
“It has exceeded my expectations. When I launched the trailer this year, I wasn’t expecting to get a lot of business. I wasn’t expecting for it to be a hit, or to get the response the way I’ve gotten it. It was going to be a trial period for me,” says Barden. “When I launched it, it was insane. So many people have reached out.”