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Blog / December 27, 2018

How to Draw a Crowd in 2019: 6 Social Events to Host at Your Restaurant or Bar

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Molly Weinberg

Hosting a fun, experiential event is proven to drive loyalty – especially with millennials. According to Accenture research, 57% of millennials are more loyal to businesses that provide exclusive events (and they’re willing to spend more to attend, too). Plus, hosting these 2019 social events yourself is a great way to drive additional revenue and boost your staff’s paychecks. It’s also likely that a few of your employees would love the chance to work the crowd – and rock the mic…

The 6 Best 2019 Social Events for Bars and Restaurants

1) Chef and Bartender Demos for the Win Your team has talent. So, show it off with one of these 2019 social events. Mixology 101 Each week, a different bartender can host a short “cocktail class” or “tales of the cocktail” during happy hour. Here’s an example to inspire you:  August 25th is Whiskey Sour Day. Your bartender can do a brief demo showing how to make a proper whiskey sour (egg white and all). To keep it interesting, share facts about the cocktail. Did you know a dash of red wine makes it a New York Sour? Sweeten the deal by putting the featured cocktail on special. Kitchen Confidential Your chef deserves the spotlight. Bring ‘em out from the kitchen to host 2019 social events like mini chef demos. It could be secrets to perfect pasta, or how to properly cook a steak. Don’t worry: your guests won’t stop coming in just because you share a few hacks and tips. 2) Order in the Bar! Judged Events It’s ok to be judgmental – at least when it comes to these social events. Raise the stakes on regular events by turning them into judged events…with awesome prizes on the line. Open Mic Night Here’s the thing about live music. It’s not very social, and bands often charge hefty performance fees. Instead, host an open mic night as one of your 2019 social events. Emceeing the event gives you a chance to banter with the crowd between sets. You could create fun themes. Around Valentine’s Day, ask performers to use the word “beer” instead of “love” in songs (what the world needs now, is beer…sweet beer). Let the crowd’s applause determine the winner. Another entertaining variation? Open mic comedy night. Costume Contests Everyone loves an excuse to dress up: whether it’s for Halloween or a Kentucky Derby watch party. There are dozens of other obscure holidays to guide your 2019 social events. How about a New Beer’s Eve event on April 5th to celebrate the end of prohibition? Guests can dress up in Great Gatsby themed clothes. Your staff can judge the event, or require guests to do a cat walk in costume and again, let applause crown the champion. 3) Live Trivia with a Twist Question: Can I really host live trivia myself? Answer: Yes. And over 2,700 bars and restaurants are doing just that. Live trivia night is a must when planning 2019 social events. But don’t shell out hundreds on an outside host. With the Buzztime live trivia system, you get everything you need to host live trivia – anytime you want. That includes access to over 100,000 trivia questions updated daily. Instead of submitting answers by pen and paper, guests use handheld tablets. Scoring is automatic and instant. So, have no fear, you can host live trivia yourself. For the best ROI on live trivia nights – or any 2019 social events – run them on a recurring basis. That way, your event becomes a part of a customer’s routine, and you benefit from repeat foot traffic. 4) Get Crafty  One of the most popular trends in hosted events are workshops where guests plant a terrarium or paint a masterpiece. Ok, so you might want to co-host these 2019 social events with an instructor. However, your staff or guests can actively participate by running another judged contest for the best painting (or maybe the worst if your crowd has a good sense of humor?). If you specialize in craft beer, host a paint-your-pint night and call it “Arts and Crafts” night. Provide pint glasses and special paint that won’t wash off (you can find it at a craft store). Sharpie also makes permanent paint pens. 5) Get Things Poppin’ From pop-up dinners to guided tastings, it’s anything but dinner as usual in 2019. Pop-Ups Supper clubs and pop-up restaurants are trending – just ask your nearest hipster. It’s when a local (usually aspiring) chef hosts a themed dinner by renting out a space or even inviting guests into their home. You can use this concept to inspire your events. Work with your chef to host an exclusive dinner with a theme that’s different from your usual menu (that’s what makes it a pop-up). It could be the flavors of the Middle East, one of the 9 food trends for 2019. Guided Tastings Perfect for bars or restaurants, guided tastings give customers a little food for thought. Now more than ever, people are curious about where their food comes from. If you source food from a local farm, bring in the farmer to host 2019 social events alongside your chef. You could also do 2019 social events centered on beer, wine, or even whiskey. Serve flights to customers, then explain the tasting notes in each pour. Or, combine both food and booze: have your chef partner with a brew master or winemaker to create a “beer and bites” or “bottles and bites” pairing menu. 6) Fun and Games Last but not least on this list of 2019 social events are games for grownups. In addition to live trivia, these games give guests a chance to bond over fun and little friendly competition. Bar Games Tournament Have an outdoor patio? Set up classic backyard games like flip cup, beer pong, and corn hole. Call it the “Summer Bar Games” event. Or, just take the games indoors. You could also host 2019 social events centered on popular (not safe for work) games like Cards Against Humanity and What Do You Meme? Adult Spelling Bee Say “word up” to entertaining 2019 social events. Expect plenty of laughter as people try to spell words out loud. You could also ask everyone to give their best definition of what the word means. Mystery Theater Just like live trivia, don’t think you need an outside company to host a murder mystery theater at your bar or restaurant. Use this guide to running a mystery theater event. …and that’s a wrap on this list of 2019 social events! Start planning now and get ready to rock the house by hosting your own events in the new year. To learn more about Buzz Time, visit their website.      

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