When it comes to raising bar profits, there are plenty of tried and true strategies that work for pretty much any type of bar. Outside of bar promotion ideas, these base-level ideas are crucial for getting your bar off the ground and building a good bar manager salary. Some of those strategies include:
- Creative marketing for your bar
- Strategizing drinks (learn more: how to make a cocktail with rum) and specials to boost profits
- Customizing marketing plans to bring in great customers
- Curating every part of your bar to increase your profit margin-it's all about how much bars make
Those are all great strategies, there’s no doubt about it. That said, there are other ways to boost bar profits that will give you more to work with. There are plenty of bar ideas out there that will give you huge profit boosts and consistent customer satisfaction. These unique ways to make your bar profitable will depend on your bar and the customers you want to reach. However, this list is a good place to start looking for inspiration.
Cool Bar Ideas
There are some unique bar ideas that will work for pretty much any type of bar. Across the board, there are:
- Dive bars
- Wine bars-known for selling wine by the glass
- Beer halls
- Hotel bars
- Cocktail lounges
- Karaoke bars
- Nightclubs-or a speakeasy
- Sport bars
These are all pretty different spots. The themes, customers, and overall marketing strategies of these different bars will vary quite a bit from each other. That said, there are some all-around cool bar ideas that will give a boost to the profits of any of these types of bars. No matter what type of bar you own, any of these four following ideas will be helpful for boosting your profits.
One: Game Nights
There’s never a bad time to host a game night at your bar. This promotion idea shows up on a lot of bar marketing lists on BinWise, and there’s a reason for that: it’s a great idea! Across the world, bars are hosting game nights and bringing in huge crowds. Whether you’re a themed bar, a classic dive bar, or a wine bar, you can host a killer game night. You can make the games fit the vibe of your bar, or branch out and do something wild. When it really comes down to it, the sky is the limit with game nights for bars.
Two: Creative Happy Hours
Happy hour is always a good promo idea, and getting creative with your happy hour deals is even better. To mix up your happy hour and make it a huge crowd pleaser, there are plenty of options for what you can do. You can choose from:
- Creative cocktail mixes
- Themed events just for happy hour
- Special happy hour menus
- Happy hours outside the regular happy hour times
- Seasonal happy hour offers
And that’s not to put a cap on what you can do. You can make your happy hour deals one of many unique ways to make your bar profitable. All you need to do is get your creative juices flowing as you plan your deals.
Three: Themed Deals
As for themed deals, there’s even more room for creativity. Whether your bar has a specific theme, or you like to dress it up every month or so for a specific night. In fact, it can often be better if your bar is more of a base-level bar because then any theme can work for you. Some options to choose from include:
- Jungle cruises
- Under the sea
- Tropical vacation
- Films and more
- Costume nights
- Sweet treats
- Sports car celebrations
- Period piece nights
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. When it comes to themes, anything you dream up can be a profit-boosting reality.
Four: Sample Stations
As for sample stations, setting up samples of your beverages and snacks is a great way to surprise customers. It'll also get even more people excited about what you have to offer. Of course, this can’t be something you do all the time, as it will start to eat away at your budget. However, once every few months, setting up some samples will be a great way to get people hooked on what you serve. You can limit the samples, and even pair small sampled food with beer on tap, so that part of the deal brings in profits.
Coffee Bar Ideas
All those previous ideas are great for any type of bar. That said, there are plenty of niche bars out there that can benefit from truly specific profit-boosting ideas. If, for example, you own a bar that specializes in coffee, there are some specific ideas that will energize your bar profit strategies. And, if you’re looking to start a bar and are leaning towards a coffee place, these ideas will be a good place to start.
In the case of a coffee bar, BYOB stands for bring-your-own-brew. You’re sure to have signature drinks from a specialty café au lait in the morning to a unique espresso martini in the afternoon. To entice customers and sell more drinks, invite customers to bring their own coffee beans to try in your drinks. This will be hard work on your staff, so this should be limited to once every few months. That said, this is a truly unique offer, and will bring in crowds of caffeine lovers.
Two: Express Your Martinis
In the coffee bar world, espresso martinis have been all the rage the past several years. It’s no wonder why: these delicious caffeine treats are sure to hit the spot. Whether you go classic or you use a dash of orange peel to cut the bitterness, you can’t go wrong with an espresso martini. Mixing up the espresso martinis on your menu will draw in customers and keep them coming back to try everything you offer.
Three: Bring Your Own Cup
For coffee lovers from all walks of life, a consistent factor is that we have our own favorite coffee cups. From mugs to double-wall glass cups to our specialty martini glasses, we all have the cups we would use every day if we could. To tap into this coffee love, host a bring-your-own-cup deal to get all the coffee lovers into your coffee bar. If you want to limit this promo, you can make it set between certain hours of the day. This promo will bring you a slew of regulars who love a great coffee drink in their favorite cup.
Four: Coffees Across The World
And, to bring some great variety to your coffee offers, you can create a coffee of the month type of club. Each month, bring in a specialty coffee from somewhere unique across the globe and make your signature drinks with that blend. Starting with an Irish type of coffee is a good place to begin this idea, and you can work your way around the globe. You could even invite customers further into the fun of it by having them provide suggestions on coffees to try.
Basement Bar Ideas
Another interesting type of bar is something closer to a dive bar, but still within its own category. This unique bar that will bring in great profits is the basement bar. You may have heard the term basement bar in relation to home bars that people design for their own home entertainment. That said, if you have a bar that’s in the lower level of a building, you essentially have a basement bar. A basement bar takes dive bar vibes to the extreme. There’s plenty you can do to amp up your basement bar to boost your profits.
One: House Party Nights
A classic part of a basement bar in a house is the opportunity for house parties. You can take advantage of this word association and host house parties in your basement bar. Ways to achieve the house party vibe in a bar include:
- Playing music from the 80s and 90s
- Selling beverages in red plastic cups
- Setting up spaces for people to play party games
- Give your basement bar comforting homey touches
The more you do to make customers feel like they’re at their favorite house party, the more of a profit booster this will be. Think back to your favorite house parties, and include the themes that ring true for you. They’re sure to resonate with your customers too.
Two: Lean Into The Basement Theme
Another way to make your basement bar a smash hit is to lean into the basement theme. By this we mean, truly make your bar feel like all the best basement hangouts. You can draw inspiration from these shows and movies:
- That ‘70s Show
- Stranger Things
- Wayne’s World
- King of Queens
- Freaks and Geeks
- Amazing Interiors
- Stay Here
- Fix It & Finish It
- Vintage Flip
- Love It Or List It
All these shows and films will give you a good idea of things you can do. You'll be able to use the space you have to make your basement bar a place people will turn to every night.
Three: Create An Outdoor/Indoor Space
The last thing customers will expect when they walk into your basement bar is to feel as though they are outside again. So that’s exactly what you should aim for! Think about The Great Hall at Hogwarts in Harry Potter. Or the sky ceiling at The Venetian in Las Vegas. These rooms and buildings give the feeling of being outside, in an inside space. You can achieve this look in a few ways, including:
- Twinkle lights all across the ceiling
- Strategically placed mirrors
- Other reflective surfaces
- For the technically gifted, a smart ceiling that displays a sky image
Whichever of these works for you, turning your basement space into an outdoor-adjacent area is sure to please and surprise your customers.
Four: Gamer Cave
Another option for your basement bar is to make your space into a decked out gamer cave. Video games in bars have become more and more popular through recent years. A basement is the perfect setting for a gamer space. If you want to make your bar a full gamer space, you’ll have to plan it out before you open your bar. However, if you want to add some gaming touches for a few game nights, you can easily make your bar a space for gamers. And you'll still have some classic bar vibes.
Bar Room Ideas
And of course, there are some promotional ideas that are ideal for a large bar in an expansive room. If you have a large space you’re working with, you can make it into any sort of bar you want. The main thing you need to plan for is how to utilize your space - every inch of it. You can do several small bar areas throughout the room. You can use huge themed events to max out the space. Or you can fill the area with pool tables and make it a great pool hall. Whatever you do, the key to a large bar is finding a way to use every nook and cranny.
One: An Indoor Market
A great idea for a large bar space is to create several, smaller bar spaces throughout the room. Think of this as a large indoor market. You can have small spots for specific drinks and snacks. You could even have guest bartenders and chefs for different spaces. Essentially, you’ll get the benefit of having many bars in one.
Two: Dance Hall Nights
Another idea for your large bar space is to turn your space into a dance hall. You need lots of room to host a really great dance night. Your bar space could be the perfect venue for dancing groups. It could also be great for people who want to have a few drinks and dance the night away. You could hire dance instructors for special nights, or rent out your space to dance groups that want to perform.
Three: Event Evenings
A great use for your large bar space is hosting events. Depending on what kind of bar you have, these events can be pretty much anything. Some options are:
- Music shows
- Comedy acts
- Club events
- Gaming tournaments
Effectively, whatever suits the design of your bar will make for a great event that will draw in even more customers.
Four: Group Rates
And, if you’re looking to fill your bar space with more than just customers, you also have the option to rent it out. You can rent to different groups, and charge a handsome rate for the space. You can also keep your staff there for the group, and make a nice profit serving food and drinks. The rules around this may vary depending on your location, as serving alcohol can get complicated. However, it’s worth checking out to see if you can offer your space to local groups for their own events.
Bar Ideas: Unique Ways to Make Your Bar Profitable
No matter what type of bar you own, there’s an idea out there that will help you boost your bar profits-including your wine sales. Unique ways to make your bar profitable will vary depending on what kind of bar you own. However, this list is a good place to start. The cost to open a bar is high, and this list can help offset it.
As you start to grow your profits, don't let your bar organization fall by the wayside. With a software system like BinWise, and a barcode scanner app for inventory, you can keep your growing profits organized.