New Bar Ideas & Design

Build up your bar clientele by offering happy hour specials.
Build up your bar clientele by offering happy hour specials. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

As with any new business, opening a bar requires establishing a clientele. Designing your bar to accommodate the clientele you would like to serve creates a consistent atmosphere and helps to attract the kind of customers you like. Once you have that design carried out effectively, offering drink specials and promotions keeps your regular clientele coming back for more.

Interior Design

The design of your bar determines your bar's atmosphere, and the atmosphere of your bar determines what kind of clientele you will get. For instance, a posh, night-club-style bar, designed with clean, modern furniture and low lighting, will likely attract a wealthier, hipper clientele, while a sports bar with many television screens will attract a more laid-back crowd. Consistency with designing your bar is the most important thing. Once you've determined what type of bar you'd like to have, purchase furniture and decorating items that suit the theme. For instance, a kitschy dive bar could have vintage bar stools and velvet paintings to make it memorable.

Promotions and Specials

New bars must establish a regular clientele to be successful. Driving business into your bar and then guaranteeing a good experience while those customers are there helps to promote return visits. Offering promotions and drink specials attracts customers to your bar. Half-price drinks during happy hour bring in a post-work crowd and allow your new bar to compete with established bars that also offer this special. Weekend promotions and specials, such as offering dollar-off well drinks during specific hours on Friday and Saturday, help draw a crowd for the weekend.


Staff members also contribute to the popularity and success of your new bar. Your staff should not only be friendly and efficient, it should also be knowledgeable about the bar, special drinks and the neighborhood. Your staff also contributes to the atmosphere of your bar. If your bar is more posh, hire bartenders and waitresses with a lot of experience and a broad knowledge of cocktails and wines.

Other Ideas

Bar decor can mean more than just what your bar looks like. For instance, putting games and other interactive objects in the bar can draw a crowd. Pool tables, a great jukebox, dartboards and video games help keep people in your bar longer, increasing your profits. Similarly, offering bar snacks can keep people in your bar longer. Some bars choose to serve food thematically linked to their bar. For instance, a Mexican cantina might serve small snack tacos.

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