Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Your Bar
For many bars and restaurants, St. Patrick’s Day is almost a guarantee in sales. It is one of the only holidays on the calendar purely devoted to drinking. A recent study by the National Restaurant Association surveyed 1,010 American adults and found the following:
- 28% of people polled said they plan to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in a restaurant or bar.
- 41% surveyed referenced holiday promotions or traditional Irish menu items as the biggest factor in choosing an establishment.
- 12% of people polled stated they viewed Irish music and decorations as the most important factor.
There are many different ways bar owners choose to promote this holiday. The following are a few ideas for bars and restaurants that want to maximize their crowd of Guinness-drinking, green-wearing, jig-dancing customers.
Many bar owners will serve the traditional Irish dinner of corned beef and cabbage, but some decide to open early and make it an all-day event. O’Dowd’s Little Dublin in Kansas City, is a local pub that prides itself on starting early. They open their doors every St. Patrick’s Day at 7 a.m., and have been known to serve Guinness instead of coffee. They also have a traditional Irish breakfast menu and keep the party going all day.
Division Ale House in Chicago is another bar that gets inventive when it comes to merry, morning libations. Their annual “Green Eggs and Kegs,” features exactly what it sounds like: beer and breakfast. Patron’s eggs are dyed green, the beer and bacon are flowing, and it sells out every year.
Get your staff together and brainstorm some ideas that could make you stand out from the competition. If you own an Irish pub, surprise people with corned beef tacos. You can get even more creative with a St. Paddy’s Day Christmas, and a green Santa Clause. Whatever you do, differentiate yourself.
If you choose a theme, make sure that you offer door prizes for your patrons that play along. You should also make sure you offer a specific craft beer and cocktail, to complement your unique approach.
Make it Irish
- Green: Even if you use a little food dye, everything looks better green on St. Patrick’s Day. Choose a few beverages to tinge with the traditional color. You can also consider tinted green liquors like Midori or Green Apple Pucker. If you use a digital menu board, spruce it up with a fun leprechaun theme.
- Name: Some bar owners choose not to color their drinks. Instead they serve drinks that honor the liquors of Ireland, and are often paired with quirky names like the “Irish Car Bomb” or the “Naughty Irish Schoolgirl.”
- Region: Craft beer bar owners usually serve beers from the region of Ireland to truly celebrate the holiday. Killian’s Irish Red Lager and Guinness Irish Stout are just a few of the top choices for the day.
Begin a tradition of incredible Irish rock or Celtic music. If you have the space, a live band generally draws a healthy crowd. If you are lucky enough to discover local talent, you could have quite the yearly intake. McGinty’s Public House in Silver Spring, MD has such an amazing band for their annual St. Paddy’s party, that they draw thousands of people every year.
You can also hold a Trivia event related to the holiday, or even other forms of entertainment like Karaoke, contests or a comedy show.
Don’t forget how important it is to advertise whatever plans you should make for St. Patrick’s Day. Even if it’s green beer, a few simple posts on social media can get people excited.
Evergreen is a powerful software program that can help any bar owner inform their patrons about holiday events. It features an easy-to-use dashboard, that you can use to promote all of your events and post pictures of all your new creative St. Patrick’s day drinks to all of your social media accounts, simultaneously.
Some bar owners have also created contests on their Facebook page, urging customers to post photos of their costumes, drinks, or food, during these events. This type of free media greatly attracts people for the following year. Whatever you choose, social media is the key to promoting these events, and making St. Patrick’s Day as profitable as possible.