The Best Bar Games

If you are looking for a good way of bringing people in on a slow night or to maximize your sales on a moderate night, one of the best ways to do this is through the use promotional bar games. Bar game promotions keep the atmosphere fun and help spread the word about your bar. There are a number of bar games that you can use to help bring people in. Depending on the kind of bar that you have, you can vary bar game promotions accordingly.

Here is an incomplete list to just whet your appetite and get your imagination going:

Classic Bar Games

There are, of course, lots of bar games that are common place throughout the bar industry. There is a reason for this ubiquity: the best bar games consistently draw customers.

  • Pool Tables: This is the classic of all classics. It seems always to draw customers and if you have space for a pool room you can use it as a way of differentiating your bar from nearby competitors. The main drawback of pool tables, of course, is that they take up a huge amount of floor space. So if you own a Tiki bar, this one is definitely out.
  • Darts: Similar to having pool tables, darts is a mainstay of pubs and the bar game scene. They also have some space requirements in order to be carried off correctly, however, as you want to make sure your clientele does not end up making a trip to the hospital after visiting your bar.
  • Bar Games Darts

    Bar Darts Photo Courtesy of Naomi Ibuki (via Flickr)

  • Bar Trivia Game Night: One of the ways to bring in a lower intensity crowd to your neighborhood bar is with a trivia night. This can also be adapted to certain kinds of theme bars, like having a Superbowl bar trivia game night as part of your Sports Bar games night or by having an Irish trivia night at your Irish pub before St. Patrick’s day. If you also offer prizes like free drinks to winners, you will increase the appeal of these kinds of nights.

There are a number other kinds of games that also fit into this category, from classic pinball tables to bar video games.

Bar Drinking Games

Some of the best bar games will not only draw clients on a particular night but can actually help you push Drink Sales in themselves. Here are some classics that fit this category:

  • Bar Wheel of Fortune: This is an old trick of the dive bar for customers that aren’t sure what to order when faced with drink names like “the Kamikaze.” You set up a pin wheel with drink names on it and pull it out with great fanfare whenever a customer says they aren’t sure what to get. Get the crowd to chant “spin, spin, spin,” and the peer pressure is sure to make the customer let chance choose his or her drink.
  • Beer Pong Table: Another classic of bar drinking games is beer pong. This is a game that originating in the fraternities but which can be instituted at a college sports bar games night if you have the right kind of atmosphere. It works especially well for groups of college students celebrating a party since you can isolate them into one corner of the bar.
  • The Flip: Another promotion for getting people to come in on an off night is the “Flip night” as it is known. The bar tender flips a coin. If the client calls it right, the drink is free. Of course, for this to be profitable, your drinks have to be properly priced or you have to have a door fee.

Bar Game Promotions: Contests

One of the most effective ways of getting big crowds is by having tantalizing promotion nights. The classic old school version of this the wet t-shirt contest–in which girls are invited to come in and get soaked so that their t-shirts become sheer, wet and transparent—still continues to be a favorite at Spring Break destinations where for a couple of weeks every spring students flock in for a week of total debauchery. There are several variations on these kinds of contests:

  • Lingerie Night: Any time you can get gals to come in provocative dress, you are sure to also get guys as well. Having a lingerie night where girls get in free and get a free drink for wearing their nightwear is sure to get guys coming in droves. In addition, offering a larger cash prize to the selected winner of the lingerie contest can also help increase turn-out. (Often, however, you may have to hire some ringers—models and such—to make sure this night actually works to the fullest.)
  • Dance Night: Similarly, any night where you give away a prize at the end of the night can help you to draw people in. One fun variation on this, might be a 80’s Night where you have a breakdancing contest and give the winner a free prize at the end of the night. Any number of contest and promotions can work with this kind of promotional bar game.

These are only some of the possibilities when it comes to incorporating games into the bar experience at your establishment. The key is to find a bar game that matches your bar and to use your imagination to make it as fun and inviting as possible. The thing to remember is that the bar business is really part of the entertainment industry. People don’t come to your place to get drinks (they have the liquor store for that); they come to your bar or nightclub for the social experience. The more captivating you can make that experience, the more likely you are to win your prize: profit and success!

For more on bar promotions, be sure to check our Club Promotion article.

Filed Under: Bar / Nightclub BusinessBar Business

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