11.8.2020

Bar Event Ideas to Bring in the Crowds

Written by Austin Chegini

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People go to bars for various reasons, and there’s nothing wrong with having a quiet pub or a very loud, exciting business. Each of these options caters to specific groups, so it’s not possible to say there’s a one size fits all business model.

However, many bars cannot stay profitable without large crowds. If your bar is empty most nights, you may join the ranks of the 2,629 bars that closed between 2019 and 2020.

For this reason, we’ve compiled a list of bar event ideas to help your business draw in more guests and stay competitive.

Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some bars may have to comply with occupancy limits and other social distancing restrictions. These laws vary in each city, so please review each idea carefully to determine if you can safely host these events.

 

Our favorite bar event ideas

 

You might have heard of some of these events, but we tried our best to avoid overly used events like Wing Night. And if you decide to keep a chill, relaxed atmosphere at your bar, don’t worry. We curated a list of lively and mellow events!

Make game day special

It’s been a longstanding tradition to go to your favorite neighborhood pub or sports bar for the big game. It’s the second-best thing to being at the event for many people. The atmosphere is magnetic and adds to the fun, but your bar could be doing more.

Look at this example from Buffalo Wild Wings. On game days, Buffalo Wild Wings has hired legendary beer vendors to walk around as if they were selling to fans in a stadium. They also hired a Major League Baseball organist as part of this program.

While this program is unique to only Washington D.C. and is likely a short-term promotion due to the pandemic, your bar can take a page from Buffalo Wild Wings’ playbook.

How can you design your bar on game days? Instead of hiring famous vendors, your bar can give servers beer, popcorn, and other snacks to sell throughout the crowd. Perhaps you can include a 7th inning stretch or put on your own halftime show to keep guests entertained.

Movie Nights/Series Finale Nights

Many bars host fight night events for big boxing matches. Crowds love to cheer with one another as their preferred fighter wins or lands big hits, which is likely why they come to bars for these big fights.

However, movies and television shows can have the same effect. For example, many bars have watch parties for massively popular shows. Guests can experience the show’s excitement alongside friends, and bars can capitalize on the hype by charging admission and serving specialty items. Check out how these bars celebrated the finale season of Game of Thrones.

Note: You will have to check with your cable network regarding public broadcasting rights - you may have to pay a broadcasting license fee

Competitions

People love to challenge themselves and compete against others, and offering friendly game nights is an exciting way to bring in crowds. Friendly is the crucial word here, as you want people to compete even if they know they will miserably fail.

In most cities, it’s not hard to find a trivia night at a local bar. Friends get together, create a funny team name, and battle against other bar patrons. Since winners might receive gift cards or some food, there is a minor incentive, but spending time with friends is why people compete.

Your bar can take this model and apply it to a host of other fun sports and games. For example, Gibb's Hundred Brewing Company partners with the Greensboro Arm Wrestling League to host arm wrestling competitions.

Other bars host darts tournaments, skeeball nights, and even eating competitions. What fun community challenges can you think of hosting?

Get generous

As you look for bar event ideas, you don’t have to only consider profit. Working with a charity and hosting an event to give back to others will help you connect with the community.

Here are some charity ideas for bars:

  • Donate a percentage of profits to a charity
  • Host charity fundraisers and sell admission tickets
  • Sponsor drinks or food at community events
  • Participate in a charity pub crawl

Accounting for donations is easy with the right bar point of sale system. Simply set up a fixed donation percentage, and you can quickly run reports to calculate how much to donate.

Loyalty Only Nights

Every bar has regulars who know each staff member’s name and life story. How often do you reward these usual suspects and show them that you appreciate their support?

With the right bar management system, you can create a loyalty program and track how often guests visit you. Customers can be grouped into tiers based on how much they spend, and you can reward certain tiers with special events.

If your bar is typically closed on Sunday mornings, you can open and host a special brunch for your loyal customers. Maybe you can host an invite-only whiskey or wine tasting.

After these events happen, be sure to post photos on social media to incentivize patrons to sign up for your bar loyalty program and reach the next tier.

Night classes

For many working professionals, night classes mean boredom and long hours of studying. Perhaps it’s time you changed things up and offered fun classes that will keep people coming back night after night.

Exciting classes you can offer at your bar:

  • Mixology 101: Teach guests how to make classic cocktails
  • Arts and Crafts: Partner with a local artist to host a paint and sip night
  • Summer Camp: Over a few weeks, you can host events with all the favorite camp classics like making smores, singing songs, and learning fun skills
  • Drink and Learns: Invite speakers to come and share some interesting facts with your audience

Date Night

Some people say you’ll never find love in a bar, but that all changes today. Technology has changed how people meet, and the bar can be the perfect place to break the ice and meet others.

As you look at bar event ideas, consider some of these date night options:

  • Blind dates: This option suits the brave, but it can be a hit! Create a blind date pool, and invite guests to meet their date at your bar
  • Speed dating: Rearrange your floorplan and host a speed dating event. Invite singles to come and mingle in a no-pressure environment
  • Tinder In-Person: Tell patrons to come on a set night and change their Tinder bio to “Participating in the [Bar Name] Tinder Event.” Then have them change their location to 1 mile, and they can match with other people in your bar! It’s a fun way to break the ice

Get the Fun Started Today

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