Bar Events, Bar Promotions Ideas and Contests

Bar Event & Bar Promotion Ideas

Bars need to keep trying new bar promotions and running new bar events just in order to stay competitive these days.  And let’s face it, it’s not an easy task putting on bar events and coming up with new bar promos every month.

That’s why we jotted down some of the ideas that have worked well for us in the past.

These bar events, ideas and bar promotions will help you add a little spice to your bar while attracting more customers and bigger profits.

Not all the ideas listed below will work for every bar or club.  Food promos, for example, may work well at a pub but may not work so well at a club.

Take away what you can from the ideas listed below.  Implement the ones that you think will work well for your establishment and change others around so they fit well with your crowd.

You may notice that a couple of the bar promotions ideas focus on food.  This is because laws are making it extremely hard to offer discounted liquor in many parts of the world (Canada, for example, has very strict alcohol laws).


Bar Event and Bar Promotion Ideas to Boost Your Bottom Line

1. Shooter Paddles

Whether you make them yourself (wood about 1/2 inch thick and 3-6 feet long, drill some holes, paint your logo on it and offer 6, 8, 10 or 12 shot  paddles) or buy them online, shooter paddles are a great way to entertain customers and bring in bigger profits.  If you’re not the handyman type or just want something a little more professionally made, you can purchase Paddle Shotz through our online store.


2. Festive Cocktails

Every time there is a holiday or event of some sort,  Halloween, Christmas, St. Paddy’s Day, SuperBowl etc, create signature cocktails for the event.  Find Cocktail Recipe Ideas Here


3. Food & Drink Combos

Try tying in all your food specials to drinks. I.e.-  get $0.20 Tacos when you order a pitcher of beer, $0.15 Wings with the purchase of a pint of beer, $3 salad with the purchase of a cocktail etc.

Instead of discounting alcohol, try discounting some apps for Happy Hour and pairing food items with drink specials.


4. Pairing Food with Sports Specials

Any time you show a big sporting event, entice people to come with food and drink specials. Eg. Enjoy  $5 personal pizzas during UFC, $0.15 wings during football games


5. Shooter of the Day

Create a new shooter recipe every day and promote it as the “Shooter of the Day”.   As with the beers of the world promotion below, you can give out cards to encourage repeat customers. Find lots of Shooter Recipes Ideas Here


6. Beers of the World Promotion

If you serve a bunch of different beers from different areas of the world, you can do an around the world promo where people get a card punched each time they try a new beer and get a prize for trying, say, 10 of them.  If you’re as tired as carrying cards in your wallet as we are, you can also opt for a punchcard app where customers can use their smartphones instead.

click me

7. Animal Sports Races

If you show sporting events, get your customers in on the excitement of watching their favorite teams race.

You can use hermit crabs or turtles, have their shells painted each teams’ colors and a little arena set up for them to race in. Race them before the game – the winner of the race is the predicted winner of the game.  You can also reset them at each quarter according to the score and see if one will come from behind and reach the end zone first.

8. Sponsoring Teams

Find local sports teams and offer to sponsor them by paying for their jerseys (which would have your bar name on it) if they agree to meet at your bar after each of their games.  Include some type of food and drink specials to keep the group happy.  Often, these teams come back on their off days..with friends.  All new customers for you.


9. Sports Pools

Run football, hockey or basketball pools at your bar to bring in a solid group of regulars who come in to watch the games and check their stats.  If you don’t want to involve money, have daily prizes of food and drinks and a couple of overall prizes like promo items from your bars’ beer and alcohol reps, dinners for two, Super VIP passes, a trip somewhere, your customer’s own nameplate on the bar etc.  Be creative here and make it something that you yourself would come back, again and again, to try and win.


10. Shooter Luge

During a special event, try something a little different – an ice shooter luge. Shooter luges can be made in any shape and, in addition to being cool, they actually are…well…cool – they chill the shot on the way through the ice before coming out the bottom.  You can buy a reusable shooter luge or you can look for a local ice sculptor in your area (they do exist).


11.  Jello Shot Syringes

You can learn how to make jello shot syringes and find jello shot recipes here.

Jello Shot Syringes are excellent for your bottom line because they are typically cheaper to make than regular shots and its a novelty so people come back to try your different flavours every week. Give it a try one night with the 25 Jello Shot Syringe Combo Pack which includes the tray / rack (you’ll need some way to store and present them to customers!)


Bar Contests

Most bar contests tend to focus on either sex or getting people to do stupid or disgusting things.  With that in mind, here are some bar contests we’ve seen put on with success at many a different venue.  We purposely stay away from drinking contests here.

Hula Hoop Contest

This contest usually works best later at night as people are a little more loosey-goosey and willing to get up in public to sport their hula hoop skills.  You can have one person face off against another or you can pair people up for a team competition where they both have to keep the hula hoop up.  Another variation here is to have the contestants perform certain actions while still hula hooping, such as take a shot / drink, go to the bar and back etc.

The Frozen Lemon

This can get quite sexual so know your crowd and what’s acceptable before trying out this contest.  Throw a couple lemons in the freezer overnight the day before the event.  This contest is played with a couple – either an actual couple or two people you choose from the crowd.   The frozen lemon gets placed on the inside of the man’s pant leg and the goal is for the woman to move the lemon – underneath the layer of clothing – up, over, around and down the other pant let. Only the women are able to use their hands here.  The winning couple is the pair that gets the lemon to out the opposite pant leg first.

Roll and Plunger Contest

Of course, this one’s sexual as well.  And so it goes.  This game is played in couples and has 3 rounds.

Round 1: Start with the women standing on one side of the room with a roll of toilet paper between their legs.  The men are on the other side of the room holding the plunger between their legs with the handle protruding in front of them.  The men have to walk over to their partner – without losing the plunger or using their hands and stick the handle of the plunger into the roll of toilet paper.

Round 2: This round starts the same but it’s the women who have to waddle over to the men and place the toilet paper roll on their plunger handle.  Again, no hands are to be used here.

Round 3: This is a speed round to see who can skewer the toilet paper roll from between their women’s legs and bring back to the starting point the fastest.

No hands are to be used in this game! If either the men drop their plunger or it hits the ground, they must restart.  Same goes for the women.   Once the 3 rounds are finished, announce the winning couple.


Eating Contests

There are, of course, a ton of drinking contests you could run but when contests start becoming the “who can handle the most alcohol” type of event, that’s when the trouble starts.  You don’t need the legal implications of getting your guests severely intoxicated and you won’t want to clean up the mess afterward.  So, don’t bother with any drinking contests – stick to food and you can get the same results without the accompanying grief.

Hot Dog Eating Contest

Boil off a bunch of plain hot dogs for the event, throw them in a bun (like what you get at the ballpark) and hold a contest to see who can eat the most.

Banana Eating Contest

This is for the ladies.  Just like a hot dog eating competition but this ones with bananas.  You can get creative here, pair people up and limit the use of their hands.

Watermelon Eating Contest

This one’s fun because it gets messy.  You can hold this contest individually or you can pair people up where one person has to feed the other – and then vice versa.


There are literally hundreds of different bar promotions / bar events that you can run in your establishment to bring in more customers and revenues.  Follow the links below for some additional bar events and be sure to leave a comment if you know of some cool bar promotion ideas to share with our readers.

Here’s a selection of other Bar Promotions

Bar Novelties Increase the WoW! factor

Free Advertising for Restaurants / Bars

More Bar Games / Contests

Facebook Comments

the Barman

Reese Richards aka "the Barman" is a 20-year veteran of the bar industry and founder of His goal is to bring the joy of bartending to as many people around the world as possible. He accomplishes this by producing high quality content in the form of articles, interviews, infographics, recipes, videos and training courses as well as through his bar consulting business. You can find him online here or connect with him on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest & Instagram

Add Your Comment