Updated May 2022
This list has been gathered from our customers and collected from the internet. It is in no particular order and designed to let you quickly scan through and connect different ideas. Understanding what you can do is half the battle.
A standard night and similar to an open mic night. It takes some time to market correctly. Karaoke Nights can be suitable for mainstream bars when combined with an themed night eg. 80's/90's Night
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Aim to cater for niche sports when your licence permits. Remember to use posters or window displays to let potential cusotmers know that you cater for sports and are happy to put their favourite team on the TV.
Sports bar photo created by master1305 - www.freepik.com
Experimental New Menu Tasting
If you have a strong and well known menu you can experiment with 'new menu tasting' week. Enabling regular customers to provide feedback and experiment from their own choices.
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Super Bowl - Party/Support
Super Bowl adverts show on Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. During Super Bowl season even non-Americans our curious, if only a little to experience the excitement. During Super Bowl, you can decide to support a Super Bowl team, you can educate some of your non-American friends, what the team is about, their history and help them into the Super Bowl spirit. You can go for the undergdog Cincinnati Bengals or the favourite Los Angeles Rams.
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(Customer) Wall of Fame
a customer wall of frame for winning or recognition. This could be based on “completing” the beer menu, related to your monthly dart tournament, local “Guinness Records” or Sport Winners, and interesting local achievement. Wall of Fames are great to build local credibility that your location is part of the local history. You can start it by simply showcasing local people and slowly transition it to local patriots.
Wine tasting can be a big ordeal or a small menu item. The choice will be up to you. I would recommend experimenting with menu options before deciding on having a Wine Tasting event or some such.
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You can turn a simple beer flight into an event by setting a time during the week and welcoming those interested.
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Catering for long-distance runners and enthusiastic. Anyone involved in long distance running or shorter road races (or simply running for weight loss) knows that diet is important. Lond distance runners have a double problem of socializing and maintaining their diet plans while being out in bars and pubs. Understanding more and marketing drinks and food (high-carb, gluten free, low-GI, low FODMAP)
Photo by RUN 4 FFWPU from Pexels
Open Mic for musicians
A common night for small out of the way bars to help them attract tourists. If your bar is in a competitive part of town you can consider an open-mic night. Typically on a Tuesday or Wednesday as a way to drive awareness for your bar with musicians and their friends and family.
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Pop-up Catering / Remote Food Collection
Local markets and fairs have the opportunity to have a stall to showcase your bar food. Be careful of licence requirements and if your own business licence will allow for food vender in alternative locations. However, as an alternative, agreements with local business offices that don't have local catering facilities. Sometimes you will be able to work around location restrictions via bulk food orders and your 'pop-up location' is really a collection point. This can work best when you already cater for pick-up collections and provide a high demand product; think: specialty sandwiches.
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A purpose made 3 course meal for businesses in the local area to enjoy a more social long lunch. This competes with the concept of social team building activities and other more expensive options. The Long-Lunch, allows for businesses to regularly have a social aspect built into the week for their employees.
Photo by Helena Lopes from Pexels
Wall of Fame “Walk”
if your bar is situated near a walking trail you can have a wall of fame for the time it takes to walk (made easier with GPS tracking but ideally set to the bar managers stop-watch timer). see Killarney Gap of Dunloe as an example.
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slightly similar to a long lunch. The late-lunch is designed for after the Friday lunchtime rush and includes a beer or two to connect the time between Friday lunch and Friday after-work drinks and keep patrons sitting
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connecting professionals that work in different departments together. This can be combined with a ‘Friday-Late-Lunch’ or Happy-Hours concept to have a once-a-month “X” Group catering for a specific group. In effect, you will be facilitating Meetups. A challenge will be to enable your customers to easily register. But Gohono can help with this.
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designers X developers drinks
graphic designers and software engineers...this is a large subgenre with many other specific subgroups. eg. “Frontend and Backend Developers”
X-Drinks is more of a promotion than a group or event. It encourages intermixing between different groups, you can offer a free drinks vouchers (or 2-for-1) that can only be redeemed by the “other” X group. It’s optional if you ‘police’ this or not.
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painters X writers
painting in cafes and bars are increasing thanks to the likes of Yaymaker (see below) and private hosts organizing painting classes. This X group is simply to combine the two. It can be helpful for focused writers to be around other focused people. Part of the benefit for writers is to help go beyond words with a subjective idea that this could help writers block.
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Folk-music Practice Night/Jam Session
Local traditional music is something tourists will be looking for. Having a stage area is not 100% required especially if you have a large table in the back of your bar. You can promote practice or jam sessions that are during the week as a way to encourage people meeting (Gohono can help with this).
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Open musician night / Practice Space
works well when you have a traditional style bar with space to accommodate groups. Allowing practicing musicans and hobbists practice in your bar may sound strange, but the connecting musicians together with the goal of practicing for a monthly musician night gives people time and draws customers into your bar. And of course, Gohono can help with this.
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Open Jazz Night
Similar in fashion to an open mic night or open musican night. Same principle, different genre. If your bar has the same it's worth testing by simply promoting via posters that an open jazz night will be taking place this "Summer" or this "Winter" - and for anyone interested to register behind the bar. Gohono can help with this!
Photo by Yan Krukov from Pexels
Pop-up Craft Brewers / Tap Takeovers
enabling your bar to be a space for pop-up craft beer. If you are located near craft brewers or vineyards there is the possible option of a cross marketing boost whereby on 1 day during the week you can offer their wine/beer as a "Tap Takeover". This can be a once-off promotion or a year long depending on the agreement. This gives your customers a chance to try something different, without having to change bars. It is worth testing something completely different vs. just a change from your normal beer selection.
Magic: The Gathering; card game
Potentially a bit niche for most bars, but "MtG" Magic: The Gathering, is a very successful card game that has a strong dedicated following. It is now part of the esports movement, with people playing professionally and taking some winnings of $100,000. What is useful is that physically it's simply a deck of cards and some dice. The demographic that plays it is young, under 25 and typically tech savvy. This potentially means software engineers and young men with disposable income. MtG typically is not given that attention it deserves in mainstream media. It is worth experimenting with this subgenre as having a dedicated off-peak night once a week could change how your customers view you bar.
Treasure Hunt Bar Crawl / Photo Treasure Hunt
partner with other bars and provide a printed map with tips and hints. There is an initial investment of time to create the photo trail - and coming up with tips/clues for the locations of the photos. But the overall reward can be a mix of new customers, tourist attraction (to your bar), online content (with people sharing photos they took online and tagging your bar in Instagram). If you are lucky, this can be coordinated with the local tourism office, as a way to bring customers to your bar and to local tourist attractions.
Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels
Astronomical and Meteorological Events
if you have the outdoor space Astronomical events can be a big deal to partake in. Having a telescope in-house is useful, albeit problematic. The alternative is to allow people to bring and share their own. Astronomical, space and Meteorological events happen close to every month. Especially now that SpaceX et. al are doing launches. Granted, the location of your bar does not have to be within the viewing range as most high spectacular events can be wathced and shared via YouTube Live or alternatives. Gohono is the ideal platform to help you discover which of your customers have this interest.
Beat the Bartender
Beat the Bartender is more of a game then an event. But still of use, if you set a time/day that "Beat the Bartender" can be played. The practicality is questionable, but the intent and the idea is valid. The rules for the customer are simple; they pay for a drink with notes - and attempt to drink their drink while the bartender returns with their change; in which case, the customer "wins" and reorders. This game is typically played without the bartenders knowledge. But this game opens the doors to other on-bar bartender games.
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You can consider partaking in some larger commercial "bar crawls". Albeit, some of these have received a lot of bad attention due to bad actors, but commercial and large bar crawls, "santa parades" and other large group events are worth considering if your bar is located centrally. santacon.nyc/faq en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SantaCon
Bunny Hop (Bar Crawl)
Alternatives to the SantaCon is the large(er) bar crawls. Sadly, the bunny hop website is offline (May 2022) but some google searches could help identify some of the other commercial bar crawl events near you. https://www.instagram.com/bunnyhopcrawl/
Photo from https://www.instagram.com/bunnyhopcrawl/
typically a class followed by a ‘night club’. Salsa classes in bars of all types are becoming mainstream. Most large cities will have 1 regular Salsa class night each week with a Thursday or Friday "Salsa Club Night". You will need to partner with a Salsa Instructor or club, which in a large city this will not be a major problem.
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An alternative to partnering with a Salsa instructor is to organize a salsa DJ and have a normal DJ night albeit with Salsa music. Sometimes referred to as an 'Open Night' ie. open to non-members. Salsa music is specialized and comes in many different subtle forms (Tango, Bachata, New York Salsa, et. al).
Photo from https://www.instagram.com/bunnyhopcrawl/
Pool tables, air hockey, snooker et. al. All traditional bar activities and games. If you have the space a pool table is always useful. To gain the most of it, a pool tournament or a regular pool night is a good way to bring people in during the off-peak days of the week. You will be advised to create a "pool game etiquette" playbetterbilliards.com/learn/pool-etiquette/
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk
If you are interested in trying something new. DAGZ, has a unique table top game. "DAGZ is an entertaining and competitive recreational dice game that emulates the premise of larger indoor and outdoor games like bags/corn hole, horseshoes and washers...minus the limitations of size and weather. The DAGZ game board offers the challenging elements of navigating barriers with dice through a ricochet or by bouncing off the surface or wall to reach the scoring area." https://www.playdagz.com/
Photo from www.playdagz.com
Paint Night (yaymaker)
If you are so inclined, you can consider a "Paint Night" - this is potentially more suitable to cafes, but any bar with space or outdoor area could facilitiate the group. Yaymaker is an event provider and organzies Paint Events. It is worth checking out. "We started with one Paint Nite in the basement of a Boston bar in 2012 and it all took off from there. Paint Nite flourished across local communities and soon expanded to include many more creative experiences." https://www.yaymaker.com/
Photo by yaymaker
Shove Ha’Penny (Master of Games)
Shove a Penny is a game you probably played in school. Master of Games brings it to bars in a table top form. "A nicely made Shove Ha'penny board constructed from wood and made by a traditional craftshop in Britain. Includes five real old half pennies, scoring chalk and instructions. In this very old traditional pub game, players attempt to push old English ha'pennies up a board so that they fall between the horizontal lines. You need to get 3 strikes in each bed to win the game. But beware - if you've completed a bed any further coins will score for your opponent." "The objective of Masters Traditional Games is to make available the old games - and modern classics - that people have played for centuries and will continue to play as long as they are able to buy them." www.mastersofgames.com
Photo from www.mastersofgames.com
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