Whether a small bar is trying to increase revenue, expand its customer base or maintain its place amongst the competition, special events and activities can play an important role. For the most part, special events don’t need to cost a lot of money, but they do require some creativity and promotion.
For a bar that wants to be creative, there's no end to special activity night possibilities. Special activity nights can feature such things as darts, poker, beer pong, open mics for musicians and other performers or competitive games like Trivial Pursuit. A bar can host a regular themed movie night and feature appropriate cocktails and decorations. In the right location, a bar can take a page from the coffeehouse playbook and host a regular trivia night. Also, keeping game boards around for various board games can be an attraction for some customers, especially if no other place in the area is doing it.
Special Group Events
Groups enjoy it when something special is done just for them. Some bars offer biker specials on weekends. The group enjoys the special treatment and the bikes are a visual attraction to others passing by. Some bars do a service industry night, with drink specials for bartenders, wait staff and others who work in restaurants and hotels in the area. In tourist towns, this group can be substantial. You could also create a membership group of some sort and offer discounts to those who sign up to receive emails about bar events and specials.
Special Price Events
Happy hour specials in the early evening are fairly common, but there’s a bar in Spain that offers a $2 coffee and brandy special from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., designed to get customers to come in during daytime hours. A “Friends and Lovers Special” can be used to offer two drinks for the price of one. The good thing about this event is that people come in pairs rather than as singles. Almost anything can be an excuse for a special price night. Depending on the clientele and the bar’s theme, there might be birthday specials available throughout the year. These birthdays could include those of sports or music legends, or anyone famous. Who wouldn’t appreciate a half-price drink on Emily Dickinson’s birthday? Then there’s the drink card—the customer buys a drink and gets the card punched, and after nine drinks the tenth drink is free. A free drink is always a special event.
Charlie Rossiter is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in many publications such as Milwaukee Journal, Science Digest" and the Robb Report as well as online. He received an NEA Fellowship for creative writing and is profiled in "Contemporary Authors." His advanced degree is in communication and he's been writing professionally for more than 30 years.