There is an adage that there are more bars than churches in the United States. While this saying is unproven, the volume of bars in both urban and rural areas makes it crucial for taverns to stand out from the competition and lure patrons through creative means. Clever drink specials, themed-nights or inviting atmospheres are all tactics taverns can use to increase their number of patrons and bolster revenue.
Going green is a trend sweeping the United States - from electric cars to recycling efforts, citizens want to do their part. A tavern could potentially receive a lot of media and patron attention by implementing eco-friendly practices. For example, purchase a bicycle generator and invite patrons to pedal to keep the music going or lights on in the bar. Also consider serving drinks in recyclable or sustainable cups.
A lot of taverns host theme nights for major holidays including Halloween, Fourth of July and the Christmas holiday season. Consider theme nights that are a little out of the ordinary and will peak the interest of potential customers. For example, Kirkwood Bar and Grill in Chicago sponsored a Polar Bear Party in February 2011. The party was sponsored by Corona and a few tequila companies, and included specials on drinks typically associated with summer. The bar also put a hot tub on its outdoor patio that patrons could use. Celebrating summer in winter was something the citizens of Chicago were not expecting, and the event had a large turnout.
Niche Drink Specials
Certain drink specials tend to spread in notoriety among locals, so crafting a niche special can make a tavern stand out. For example, a "Three Kings for $3 Each" special, offering Jose Cuervo, Jack Daniels or Jim Beam mixed drinks for $3, can be successful as these are three of the more popular liquors. Also consider drink specials tied to local sports teams. For example, a Kansas City bar, home to the Kansas City Royals, could offer specials on Crown Royal drinks on Royals' game days.
A custom scavenger hunt is an innovative way to encourage patrons to explore new drinks as well as meet others in the bar. Invite guests to pay a cover, perhaps $20, to participate in a scavenger hunt in the tavern. Those who complete all items on the list could be eligible to receive a free shot or be entered in a drawing for a larger prize. Items on the scavenger list could include things such as finding someone from the same state, finding someone wearing the same color of clothing, trying a drink made with a particular brand of spirit or trying shots custom-made by the bar. Any activities that increase interaction will prompt individuals, especially those new to the area, to come to the tavern.