Coffee bars are more than places for people to get their morning fix of caffeine. They can be social gathering spots, theaters for local performers, galleries for artists and offices for freelancers. While many coffee bars will stick to the basics, others may adopt creative ideas to drum up business.
Many coffeehouses choose to attract customers during the evening by hosting open-mic nights. Usually hosted by a master of ceremonies, open mics allow local singers, poets and other performers to take the stage for a short period of time and show their stuff. Although some open-mic nights have judges who award prizes, others are merely showcases for local talent.
Coffee bars with wireless Internet often draw hoards of freelancers who do their work while sipping on a latte, making the cafe their virtual office. Although some coffeehouses have mixed feelings about these professionals, some of whom are known to sit for hours nursing a single cup, others embrace the business. A bar might consider establishing a designated "freelancers' corner" in which all those working on laptops are free to stay for as long as they want, leaving sufficient room in the rest of the bar for other patrons.
Some coffee bars adorn their walls with art produced by local artists, often with signs listing their prices. This not only draws in new customers, it also helps integrate the bar into the community.
Coffee bars are great places to meet other single people. Some bars have chosen to formalize this fact by introducing speed-dating nights, in which participants are paired up with a number of people for several minutes each on mini-dates, during which they converse and, if they hit it off, exchange contact information.
Late-Night Study Hall
For coffee bars located near colleges or other schools, one way of attracting clientele at night, when business can slow down, is to host a late-night study. During certain parts of the year--particularly exam season--some bars will mandate a low level of noise, thereby attracting students who wish to recaffeinate while cramming.
On other nights, some coffee bars dim the lights, pump up the music and put on club night. Customers dance and mingle, but they drink coffee instead of alcohol. This night is perfect both for those too young to drink and for those who wish to be in a fun club atmosphere but not around alcohol.