“Party on dudes” – Bill & Ted
I love a good party, sometimes all I need is a good excuse (sometimes not); your customers are no different. Party nights are great fun and very profitable and if you can make it a talking point, great advertising for your pub. Whilst all these ideas will not suit your pub or your offering some will and as many are very low cost to implement are worth a try. CGA Strategy (the pub trade’s chosen barometer) report that Valentine’s Day adds (on average) £983 to a pub’s revenues … so parties pay !
There are the fixed points in the calendar such as Xmas, New Year or Hallowe’en but you can find many more dotted through the months; try to have a party every month and you’ll soon get the reputation of being a “good times” pub.
There are only a few elements to creating a successful party night: theme, food / drink offering (free food and a free drink is always a winner), entertainment and decorations.
As I’ve said, there are so many dates in the calendar to choose from, the trick with all theme nights is to be consistent in the food and drink offering and if you can tie in some entertainment all the better – for instance Cinqo de Mayo (5th of May) put on a Mexican night, offer chilli, Mexican beers such as Sol or Corona, Tequila or Margaritas or Sun Risers.
Patron Saints’ Days are always a good reason for a party. St George’s Day – Fish n Chips, Bangers n Mash, Faggots, Steak and Kidney Pudding, the list is huge, marry the food up with Real Ales, Bitter, English wines. St. Andrew’s Day, Haggis, Tatties n Neeps, Auld Reekie, Partan Bree, Deuchars Ale, Scotch Whisky; St David’s Day, Cawl, Welshcakes, Clarkies, Lamb Stew, Brains SA; St Patrick’s Day, Colcannan, Champ, Bacon and Cabbage Irish Stew, Guinness, Irish Whiskey.
Here’s 5 of the best Poitin, to make your party go with some Celtic zing. (If you’ve never heard of poitín before, you’re not alone. Also known as poteen (and pronounced potcheen).
Remember customers love a reason to dress up so fancy dress nights should feature in your roster of party nights a stock favourite is the School Dinners / School Disco night. This combines a cheap meal deal (think of all those childhood favourites) with entertainment and fancy dress. Don’t forget to appoint a Head Master/Mistress to oversee any fun and games and to keep “discipline”. If you organise team games you will need various “house captains” to lead teams and you can judge Head Boy and Head Girl for the fancy dress element.
Hallowe’en is a “fangtastic” night that has become a fixed favourite in most pubs’ calendars. Dress your pub up, create some scary cocktails/food and make it a great night for your customers. Organise a Hallowe’en Quiz, create a Hallowe’en play list of back ground music; borrow an idea from night clubs – “shag tags” – each customer is given a sticky label with one half of a famous couple for instance Frankenstein and the Monster – the two have to find each other and when they do they can claim a prize; Bobbing for Apples; Dress the Mummy – get teams of customers to dress a team member with toilet paper (use ultra-cheap toilet roll) and offer a prize for the first to be finished/best dressed mummy; Fancy Dress – customers love an excuse for a party – offer prizes for best male/female. Don’t be afraid to shut your bar for a couple of hours if necessary to dress the pub and organise the fun and games – you’ll more than make up for it with the wow factor when your doors finally open – and it creates interest right from the off (as you will be advertising that the bar will be shut and the party starts at a specific time).
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