Running a bar is not easy in today’s competitive marketplace, and bar owners have to try every trick in the book to attract new customers and keep old ones coming back. In particular, finding ways to get people into your bar midweek is vital. Theme nights can be an effective way to offer drinkers something a bit different. Here are some suggestions for theme nights you could host.
Caribbean Theme Night
Tikki bars and cocktails are always popular, so you can be sure that people would enjoy a Caribbean Theme Night. Create a special cocktail menu and get plenty of paper umbrellas and chunks of pineapple to decorate the drinks. Offer your customers a paper lei and even grass skirts for those who want to get into the mood.
You could organize a limbo contest or offer steel drum lessons to elevate your event above the ordinary. A photo booth with Caribbean backdrops and accessories would give your customers a photo opportunity for their social media accounts.
Bar Games Olympics
Everyone loves playing games, so hosting a Bar Games Olympic event is sure to draw customers to your establishment. Mix classic board games such as Connect 4 and Buckeroo with darts and pool to create a range of games to try. Don’t forget traditional pub games like Jenga and dominos. You could hire bigger games like an air hockey table, pinball machine, or a Foosball table for the night.
An option to consider is to have an expert for each game to help novices learn how to play and give a hand to anyone who is struggling. Encouraging people to compete in teams will only add to the fun. At the end of the night, award gold, silver, and bronze medals, plus a few fun spot prizes. Having a suggestion box for ideas for games means you can keep improving the range of games you offer and tailor the event to your customers.
Western Theme Night
A Western Theme Night is an easy event to set up. Have a few spare cowboy hats by the door for unprepared customers and encourage everyone to dress up. Create a photo opportunity corner with some haystacks and cacti, or have a photo booth that can turn your image into a ‘Wanted’ poster.
Create a playlist of classic country and western songs and consider having someone teaching line dancing. If you have the space, you could set up a game of horseshoes outside. A fun idea is to hire a mechanical bull for the evening from a party rental company. The bull will usually come with an inflatable surround to keep everyone safe, and it will provide hours of fun for all ages.
80’s Theme Night
The 80s always make a popular theme night! Encourage your customers to dress up in the distinctive fashions of the decade and offer prizes for the best dressed. Have a playlist of the greatest hits to help everyone get in the mood, from David Bowie and Madonna to Wham and Bon Jovi.
To take your 80s Theme Night to the next level, you could hire some retro arcade games or book an 80s tribute band to play. You could also screen some of the classic movies from the 80s. Don’t forget to provide a photo opportunity corner, maybe hiring a polaroid photo booth.
Tips For a Successful Theme Night
The most important thing for a successful theme night is making sure as many people as possible know about it. See if you can get your local paper to do a feature on your event or pay for an advertisement. Make sure you promote the theme night in your bar well in advance to give customers the opportunity to tell their friends and make plans.
Commit to your theme and make it fun. Hire extra games and people who can help the event be more exciting. Try and offer something a bit different that your customers can’t get at home. Have drinks and food on offer that you wouldn’t usually have. As you can see in the suggestions above, offering things like dance lessons or a chance to ride a mechanical bull is a fun thing to try that could be the incentive to attract new customers to your bar.
Provide photo opportunities linked to your theme. Social media is a way you can get your customers to do some of your advertising for you. Photos of people having fun at your theme night can help attract new customers. It could be worth sending a personal invitation to some influencers to help give your theme nights a social media boost.
Make your theme night a regular event. The first few theme nights might not be very successful, but word-of-mouth and social media will help build your bar’s reputation as a fun place to go.