Bar Games Your Customers Will Love: From Low-cost to Investment-level
Getting drinks is fun. Games are fun. And when you put drinking and bar games together? Yup, you guessed it, more fun than either activity by itself. Bar regulars can attest to this —drinks are good, but a few craft brews and a few thrilling rounds of Jenga are even better. This matters because your goal as a bar owner or manager should be increasing the time your guests spend at your establishment. Offering bar games your customers can play is a great way to encourage them to stick around for another drink or a burger. And when your customers stick around, your orders should increase and your revenue should rise.
Read on for a list of our favorite games customers can play at your bar. Some are quite affordable, some are pricier, and some are longer-term investments. But whatever you spend, adding games to your bar should encourage customers to stay in your bar longer and leave with wider smiles.
Low-cost Bar Games
Out-of-the-box fun for the cost of a few drinks, which you should recoup in one game’s time.
Cards Against Humanity (and Apples to Apples)
A round of Cards Against Humanity is sure to be a rip-roaring good time, fusing together obscene, outrageous ideas and lots of laughs. It is a sought after, adults-only game that encourages guests to hang out at your bar for an extended time period. It costs a modest $25 (aka three beers), doesn’t take up a lot of space (it’s really just a deck of cards) and is a natural fit in a bar setting. You need at least three people to play, so your customers may group up and order drinks in groups as well. Be warned, Cards Against Humanity is not for the faint of heart, but neither are your Double-IPA-drinking regulars. Get this game for your bar, and watch your customers’ faces go from laughing uncontrollably to wrinkling with disgust, to filling with shock and awe; no single emotion lasts for longer than a round in this game. For an equally fun, but more polite, variation, Apples to Apples is an excellent choice. Visit Evergreen customer, Bottlecraft, for a brew and a round of either game.
A fun offering for larger groups that easily gets the whole table engaged. You can also go old-school and host a trivia night.
Investment-level Bar Games
These games are investments, but offer measurable ROI.
Another option is one of BuzzTime’s many bar games that are of a more traditional style like trivia, sports and pop culture. Rather than use a common card or board style game, their model centers on individual tablets that are loaded and ready to go with a range of game options. It’s a portable, tech-based approach that doesn’t take up a lot of physical space while fostering lengthier stays by your patrons.
The ring game is considered pricier only because it will require some manual labor in addition to a bit of cash. Hit up your local hardware store and grab these materials. A little bit of elbow grease and you will get an entertaining game for guests. This game requires a bar space with the structure and space to support it. You’ll need a tall wooden base that you can screw a hole in.
Shuffleboard is more expensive, but also really, really fun. It instigates friendly competition and lays the foundation for bets, meaning drink orders. It’s likely to pay off over time as your customers purchase drinks while playing. Knotty Barrel in San Diego has a shuffleboard which customers use frequently, and the online reviews can attest to the fun: multiple customer reviews include the shuffleboard as a highlight of their experience.
Arcade Game Machine
Price-wise, arcade games are on par with the cost of a quality shuffleboard. Fun-wise and ROI-wise, these games bring in quarters upon quarters that translate into dollars upon dollars for your establishment for a long time to come. An arcade game machine is an easy way to implement this in your bar. A true testament to the timeless popularity of arcade games is San Diego’s Coin-Op Game Room, which brings in health weekday crowds and boasts long lines for their machines on weekends.
Hosting a Game Night at Your Bar
If you already have one of these games, you’re a step ahead. Take it one level further and host game nights for your customers. You’ll get to know them and they’ll get to know you over a pint, cocktail, or two. There are various online and mobile platforms you can use to promote your game night. Post the details by setting up a Facebook event (watch this webinar for instructions). Use the TapHunter dashboard to create an event for your bar that pushes out to TapHunter app users. And now you can easily set up your game nights as recurring events on these platforms, notifying subscribers effortlessly.
If you don’t have any of these games yet, consider experimenting with the most affordable option to see its impact on your bar’s foot traffic and beverage sales. The idea here is to keep your customers engaged and entertained so that they’ll stay longer and spend more. At the same time, you differentiate your location from the competition by offering something active and fun.