Bar Event Ideas in 2018 [WEBINAR]

ideas for bar and restaurant events in 2018

Events are a great way to draw customers to your bar, whether on a slow weeknight or a huge holiday weekend. But with all the hustle and bustle that comes with running a successful bar or restaurant, it’s not always easy to think up new event ideas. Read on for our top bar event ideas in 2018 and beyond.

Why Events Matter

Let’s start off with a few reasons to host events at your bar in the first place. If you’re reading this article, you’re probably already convinced they’re important but you may not know why events matter. Studies show that events:

  • Increase Guest Satisfaction: 61% of adults would rather spend money on an experience than on items (Source: National Restaurant Associate 2017 State of the Industry).
  • Drive Spending: 57% of millennials will pay more for exclusive events (Source: Accenture 2017 Loyalty Study).
  • Inspire Loyalty: 47% of millennials are more loyal if you provide unique experiences (Source: Accenture 2017 Loyalty Study).
  • Boost Crowd Size: Events give people a “reason” to come in on days when they otherwise wouldn’t. They also create urgency and drive people to show up at a specific time.

18 Best Ways to Put Entertainment on Tap Webinar

Join us as we explore best practices for in-house entertainment for your bar or restaurant. In this live webinar training, we cover how to create and promote an awesome event line-up. Keeping events on tap in your location this year will help to increase your sales and improve your guests’ experiences.

Our Best Bar Event Ideas

Now that we’ve established why events are so great, let’s dive into some fun event ideas for your business.


  • Poker: If you have a good amount of table space, a poker tournament could be a nice way to mix things up. Make sure that you abide by all local laws!
  • Bar Game Olympics: Put together a series of bar games (flip cup, anyone?), organize people into teams, and let the bar game Olympics begin! This is one of our personal favorites (we may have even done this at our office).

Tap Takeovers

  • Partner with a Local Brewery: Team up with a local brewery to have a tap takeover featuring their beer. We’re willing to bet they’ll be happy to hear from you! You’ll have to do some research to know who has enough variety to fill enough of your taps, and knowing who the top local breweries are near you is a good idea anyway.
  • Brewer or Rep On-Premises: Take things up a notch by inviting the brewer or a representative from the brewery to attend the tap takeover and share some words about their unique brews and process. This is a great way to build a connection between those who make the beer and the people who love to drink it.

Live Music 2.0

  • Open Mic:While it’s still a great idea to book a live band, this isn’t always an option for some businesses. Have an open mic night where the audience gets to vote on a winner. Give the winner an enticing prize, like a gift card for your business or even a funny t-shirt. 


  • Stoplight Party: Guests wear a traffic-signal-inspired color to “signal” their relationship status. Green means single, red means in a relationship and yellow means “it’s complicated.” Let the shenanigans ensue!
  • Speed Networking Happy Hour: The idea here is that everyone has a short time to sit and talk with one other person to get to know them at lightning speed. It’s a great way to have people break the ice without being stuck for too long in an awkward conversation.


Theme Nights

  • Old School Hip-Hop: Blast some old school hip-hop and encourage people to dress up in their best 80’s or 90’s attire. This is guaranteed to be a good time! You can apply the same concept to a classic rock or disco night, depending on your bar’s style and customer base.
  • Offbeat Holidays: Ever heard of National Cheese Lover’s Day or Singles Awareness Day? Most people haven’t, and that’s what makes celebrating offbeat holidays such a good time. As a major added bonus, it’s unlikely that other local bars will be competing for the same customers. If you can promote the event enough on social media and generate interest, you will capture the crowd!

Tasting Experiences

  • Flight Night: If you don’t regularly serve beer flights (or cocktail, cider or coffee flights, for that matter), a flight can be a nice change of pace. It can even serve as a way to test out a few new beers you’re considering adding to your more permanent tap list. Flight pairings can be fun too, like pairing specialty beers or cocktails with a selection of desserts. Girl Scout Cookie pairings are all the rage these days.
  • Artisan Spirits: Hosting a tasting of a rare artisan spirit can be a perfect way to allow people to try a drink that might otherwise be out of their price range. You might also encourage people to try something new and create a unique experience for them in the process.

Live Trivia

  • Host it Yourself: There’s a ton of companies out there that will host trivia for you (and those are a great option if you don’t want to put in the work), but it can be even more rewarding to have your staff host a trivia night too.
  • Prizes are Everything: If you can offer some unique prizes for trivia winners, it gives people an extra incentive to really get in the game. Some good prizes could be free swag from your business, a gift card or a VIP ticket to another event that you’re holding in the future.

Be Charitable

  • Charity Tap Handles: One great way to contribute to a charity is to have a charity tap handle. Donate sales of a particular beer to a particular charity. This is a great way to rally your community around a cause.
  • Battle of the Bands for Charity: Another do-gooder event idea is hosting a battle of the bands and donating the proceeds to charity. It’s guaranteed to be a good time, and you’re creating a social benefit at the same time.
  • Charity Walk/Run After Party: Hosting an after party for a charity event like a big walk or run is another great way to show your support for a worthy cause. We suggest partnering with the charity hosting the event to boost awareness and attract more guests.

Bartender/Chef Faceoff

  • Bartender “Mix”-off: Have two of your bartenders face off in an epic mixology battle. Structure it in rounds where they have to make increasingly more difficult cocktails.
  • Chef vs. Chef: Similar to the bartender mix-off, this idea pits two of your chefs against each other. A “chef-off” is a great way to highlight menu items and let your chefs show off their skills.

While this list doesn’t contain every great idea for a bar or restaurant event, we hope that these ideas can help you attract some new customers!


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