Today we have caught up with Seb Lyall, founder of Lollipop, a hospitality group specialised in immersive entertainment, and the person behind some of the world's most interactive experiences. Chelsea Funhouse, three floors of food, drink and entertainment in a 19th century Renaissance Revival building on King’s Road, opened its door mid October. Journey (Restaurant), The Bletchley and Chelsea Black are housed at this funhouse.

Who is Seb Lyall?
Just a guy doing bits. Founder and creative director at Lollipop – an immersive entertainment group behind some of the capital’s most known bars and restaurants.

Sum up your current work life in one sentence.
My job is to study culture and shifts in perceptions of “fun” to create entertainment spaces which cater to these changes. I design bars and restaurants, both from an experiential and aesthetic aspect.
(Editor’s Note: Lollilop’s latest immersive experience, Journey, launched on October 15th at Chelsea Funhouse.)

You have produced some fine examples of highly interactive experiences. What fuels your creativeness?
We are changing as humans.
We always have, and for a long time hospitality has remained stagnant. Changing attitudes towards going out and the challenge of creating experiences and places which takes people out of their normal world fuels my passion for what I do.

Is there a person or event that have been really influential on your career and why?
I am particularly impressed by Soho House Group and the strength of their community and perfection of their operations. One always ends up having fun in one of the houses.

How do you keep up to date with the latest food and events trends?
Actually our job is to create these trends and we do that by studying human anthropology and shifts in the thought process.
(Editor’s Note: ABQ London at Hackney Funhouse is the world’s first immersive molecular cocktail bar by Lollipop.)

What are you most excited about right now in the food scene?
Tasting menus – I like when I go on a Journey (excuse the pun) which is created by the chef to entertain me. The idea of being given a paper menu of 50 dishes to choose from needs a change.

Are there any openings you are looking forward to?
Yes. We have two openings next year. One in Holborn and one in the City. They will both be multi-story “Funhouses” with different concepts in the same building.

Where is the most exciting city for hospitality (aside from London)?
I think some Eastern European countries are doing great things at the moment.
There is a lot of creativity in cities like Vilnius in Lithuania, Cluj in Romania and Lviv in Ukraine. Alas, these places are not as famous as London but I would definitely recommend going out there and experiencing their food and beverage scene.

Where would you take your out of town guests for a memorable meal?
Journey – I am biased 🙂
It depends on the age/type of guests too.
Restaurant Story is an amazing michelin starred tasting experience.
Hovarda is a good party place.
Brasserie Zédel is a great opulent French affair without the hefty price tag.
A memorable meal for me is a place where you can have fun.

Your favourite 5 minute recipe?
Get some vodka, some coffee liqueur, some espresso – shake them with ice! I would have that over anything!

What does the future hold for Seb Lyall?
I do what I do for one simple reason: to make people happy.
Apart from hospitality, I am passionate about social mobility and open borders within societies and countries.
I believe in ultimate equality and opportunity.
This is something I would like to work towards in the medium to term.

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