We’ve all been there before, standing behind the bar, tapping our fingers, hoping for a flood of patrons to grace our breweries during the dreaded “in-between” hours. While the benefits of happy hour are clear for the customer—discounts on drinks—it’s actually a win-win for bar owners, too. It’s a surefire way to increase foot traffic, enhance revenue, and grow your loyal customer base.
Let’s get one thing straight; happy hour makes people happy, and there’s data to back this. A study comparing the neurological effects in people who received discounts for goods and services recorded a 38% increase in oxytocin, the chemical in our brain that’s related to love, happiness, and stress relief!
However, with so many bars and restaurants jumping on this trend, it can be difficult to come up with enticing happy hour ideas that spark business. So, with that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of some tried-and true ideas that’ll get patrons raising their glasses and coming back for more.
Grab a pint and settle in.
Know Your Area’s Happy Hour Laws
Before you get too excited about the awesome happy hour ideas for bars we’re going to share, it’s important to verify that these specials are allowed in your area. Just as alcohol transport permits vary by state, there is also serious variance as to whether or not the sale of discounted alcoholic beverages is prohibited by law.
Right now, there are several states where happy hour is illegal: Massachusetts, Alaska, Indiana, Vermont, Utah, North Carolina, and Rhode Island. The reasoning for this is based on a desire to limit overconsumption as well as the government wanting to ensure they maximize their profits on alcohol sales. The law is the law, so make sure you do your due diligence as a brewery owner.
6 Fun Bar Happy Hour Ideas
Turn your sleepy bar into a lively gathering place where people come to unwind and celebrate the end of the working day. Here are six happy hour event ideas to take yours to the next level!
1. Foodie-Focused Happy Hour
People like cheaper drinks, but they love cheaper food. Pairing food and drink together with creative happy hour promotions is a recipe for success.
Offer gourmet appetizers, tapas, or tasting menus at discounted prices. Partner with local food vendors or chefs for special collaborations, introducing new and unique dishes only during happy hour. Many establishments offer “pint + app” type specials, encouraging people to pair their chicken wings or deep fried pickles with a great glass of beer.
This approach caters to food enthusiasts, offering them a chance to explore a diverse range of flavors while enjoying their favorite beverage, plus it gets people to keep coming back!
2. Flight Testing
It’s not uncommon for bar-goers to have their drink. It’s what they’ve always had and what they always will have—unless you give them a reason to experiment.
Giving discounts on beer, cider, or seltzer flights during your happy hour is a great way to do this. It makes a flight cheaper for the patron while also helping you sell more beer compared to what they would have originally bought had there not been a promotion. Elevate this by keeping your rotating taps a mystery—either with your own experimental brew or through a local partnership!
3. Live Music
Live music and bars have always gone hand-in-hand. However, most patrons expect you to invite a local band to play on the weekend. Instead, why not throw them a curveball and offer a killer show as your main happy hour event?
This is one of the best bar happy hour ideas because live music creates an experience, and, when paired with awesome deals, can be a huge draw. Expect the resulting increase in drink sales to sound like sweet music to your ears.
4. Trivia and Game Night
Rather than offering the best discounts simply for showing up, why not award them to patrons who try their luck in a game or two?
Trivia is one example of a game that works. You could award teams a small discount for participating, and a larger one for those who win. Building on our other happy hour ideas for bars, you could also tie trivia into your theme. For example, having a Star Wars or Harry Potter-themed night will bring in fans eager to prove their knowledge.
5. Themed Nights
One of our favorite bar happy hour ideas is turning the occasion into an event with a fun theme that ties into specific promotions.
For example, a Hawaiian theme could mean half-price discounts on tropical cocktails (assuming the patron is wearing a Hawaiian shirt). Or, you could have a cowboy-themed happy hour where whiskey is on special. No matter what you choose, just be sure it encourages dress-up to build community and ties into a particular beverage!
6. Exclusive Offerings
What if the reason people come to your happy hour is that it’s the only time to get their favorite drink? A bold play for sure, but it can be quite effective.
We’re not recommending you gatekeep your best offerings behind a specific time frame throughout the week. However, offering a signature drink during happy hour can be a big draw for the connoisseurs looking to taste all your offerings. A few drinks that are delicious, unique, and well-priced will maximize your happy hour menu.
Bring Bar Happy Hour Ideas to Life With Brew Movers
Ready to transform your bar into the neighborhood watering hole?
At Brew Movers, we’ve got the expertise and resources to bring the best happy hour ideas to life. You can count on our comprehensive beverage logistics solutions to ensure you have the right drinks, supplies, and equipment when you need them, so you can focus on what you do best—creating memorable experiences for your guests.