The spring months are nearly upon us, and with them come several annual events that bargoers love to celebrate – March Madness, the Kentucky Derby, Cinco de Mayo. None of these, however, come close to the magnitude of St. Patrick's Day, otherwise known as the 3rd-most popular drinking holiday in the U.S. The data backs it up; at this time last year, WalletHub released a report highlighting the most noteworthy facts about how Americans spend the holiday:
- 55% of Americans plan to celebrate
- $40 is the average amount each person spends
- 4.2 drinks are consumed on average per person
- 13M pints of Guinness will be consumed worldwide
- 152.5% more beer is sold on St. Patrick's Day than usual
- 81% of people plan to wear green
Keeping these numbers in mind, we put together nine ideas that will help you plan and prepare for a successful St. Patrick's Day at your bar.
1) Celebrate more than one day.
St. Patrick's Day falls on a Tuesday this year, opening the door to more than one day of festivities. Many venues are choosing to host a full weekend of events, like Boston's The Greatest Bar, which has Get Lucky the Friday before and Get Shamrocked that Saturday, in addition to the day-of. Having multiple parties presents a bigger opportunity to attract new customers, keep the place packed, and make more money.
2) Open your doors early.
If your establishment normally opens in the afternoon or at night, consider changing up the hours for the day. You can then provide a special promotion for anyone who arrives early, an effective way to encourage more hours of drinking and spending. Bounce Chicago, for example, is starting the day at 8am for its "Early Risers" party. Those who arrive between then and 11:30am will be offered exclusive pricing on liquor, domestic beer, Jameson drinks, Irish stout, and appetizers. Plus, all general admission guests will also get one beer with the purchase of their ticket.
3) Serve themed cocktails and food.
Having green beer is a must, but don't just stop there! For a little Irish inspiration, Delish created a list of specialty cocktails, plus how to make them. Our favorites? The Nutty Irishman – made with Kahlua, Bailey's, Frangelico, and a mountain of whipped cream – the Shamrock Sour, Pickleback Jell-O Shots, and the Green Bloody Mary. Should your bar also serve food, Vitamix crafted menu ideas that go beyond the typical Irish pub fare.
4) Incorporate Irish music.
While your entire music selection doesn't have to be Irish, mix a few classics in to kick off the day, rally drinkers in the afternoon, and revive them in the evening. Billboard's compilation of the top 25 St. Patrick's Day songs on YouTube can help with that.
5) Offer drink specials.
The choice here is yours: give deals on specific drinks like Irish car bombs, Jameson shots, and Guinness Tallboys, offer 17% off all Irish whiskey, or follow the lead of one of our TablelistPro clients. The Copper Door is serving up green beer and Jameson specials, while also holding a happy hour with $3 off all draft drinks, while Slate New York is serving $5 Bud Light and Corona, $5 shots of Fireball, $8 glasses of house wine, and $8 shots of Jameson.
6) Play traditional Irish games.
Everyone loves a good game of pool or darts, but this holiday is your chance to bring in fresh, new forms of entertainment. Society 19 shared a list of 10 different drinking games that will liven up your shameless shamrock celebrations including McNickels, a boozier, more Irish version of the popular "Quarters game," as well as Shot Potato, Irish Hour, and Irish Roulette.
7) Hold a contest.
An easy way to entice guests to choose your bar over your competitors is by holding a best-dressed contest, with the winner receiving a cash prize, an expensive bottle of Irish whiskey, or their bar tab paid off at the end of the night. If you'd rather go for a more interactive approach, hide four-leaf clovers in secret spots all around; whoever finds them will get a prize.
8) Go all-out with decorations.
Your bar must look the part! Green lights, streamers, balloons – there's no such thing as too many props on St. Patrick's Day. Get your customers in the mix, too, by distributing shamrock necklaces, glasses, hats, and other goodies.
You're on your way to a prosperous St. Patrick's Day at your bar, and we have just the thing to take that luck one step further: TablelistPro, the most intuitive and easy-to-use real-time table reservation, ticketing, and venue management software available. Designed exclusively for user-friendliness in nightlife venues and events, you'll instantly see a spark in sales for the upcoming holiday, be given valuable data on your customers and their bookings, and simplify the process of managing all of your events, guests, and staff members. To learn more and book a complimentary demo, visit tablelistpro.com.