How to Promote a Happy Hour. Make the cocktail hour sing and the cash register ring when you promote your happy hour drink specials in clever ways. Word of mouth is the best free advertising, so make sure you give customers something to brag about. You don't need a three-ring circus. If your bartenders are your best assets, have them start a blog where people can read about the best happy hour in town.
Decide on specifics for your happy hour, including time, location and food and drink specials. Consider what to offer by the type of crowd you plan to attract, such as wine and cheese for busy professionals or tacos and beer for sports fans. Visit some local happy hours and see what works for them.
Find your "hook." Consider what makes your happy hour special. Perhaps it's long and lavish or short and sweet. Maybe there are beer and wine specials or discount shots. Maybe your bartenders make a wicked signature drink or your DJs sizzle. Be sure to emphasize your best and most fun features.
Get personal. Customer referrals help build a rockin' happy hour crowd. Have drawings for prizes that people will talk about. Start a happy hour pool league. Print up customized bar coasters advertising the event.
Build an Internet presence. Promote your event on your own Web site or an Internet happy hour directory. Get a free or economical listing on the Web site for your community's chamber of commerce.
Distribute fliers or place ads in local print publications.
Most cities have entertainment-oriented newspapers or zines to advertise in, and small towns are often served by community newspapers that offer very economical advertisements. Pass out fliers at concerts or sports events. Post a permanent and prominent sign at your establishment announcing your weekly happy hour times and specials. Advertise a special happy hour food bar. Focus on one item, such as crostini or nachos, with multiple toppings, or offer a variety of small appetizers.
Be sure your permits and licenses are current and cover this type of event.