Ready to ramp up your bar’s social ambience, customer dwell time, and cool factor? Here’s a list of the best bar games that are easy and cheap for your pub, and fun and popular among today's customers. For information about how to
Let the Countdown Begin!
10. Dice Drinking Games
Simple, versatile, and as affordable as it gets. Have dice and cups available upon request at the bar – perhaps in exchange for a small security deposit – to supply your customers with quick, light fun. This alone opens up hundreds of game options. It's also a nice touch to include in each rental a card with instructions to a few of the most popular dice games.
9. Table Games
Albeit a little pricier, it may be worth investing in at least one large crowd-pleasing table game for your bar – whether that’s air hockey, foosball, pool, or shuffleboard. You can either purchase coin-operated tables, or charge by the half hour or game. Caveat: table bar games are a good option for large bars. Smaller bars may benefit from using that space more efficiently by providing more space for customers to sit or gather.
8. Social Board Games
For larger parties, easy board games are a great way to get everyone engaged and create a social vibe. You can take the classic route and offer standard decks, or get more creative with games like Jenga (which you can supersize), Uno, Apples to Apples, Taboo, or Cards Against Humanity for something a litte more risqué. Bonus tip: it’s worth it to invest in waterproof (or rather, beer-proof) cards.
7. Dart Games
One of the most iconic bar games, darts are a cheap alternative to the table games mentioned above. As long as your bar has enough space to provide a shooting range, renting out darts can provide your customers with a great time – or a hilarious time for those who are less coordinated.
Another cheap option for a more spacious bar - or for special events - is cornhole – otherwise known as tailgate toss, bean bag toss, bags or corn toss. All you need is a board and some bean bags. A simple, affordable hybrid of basketball and skee-ball: what’s not to like? Tip: Cornhole is also a big hit at bars that have an outdoor space or patio.
5. Bar Roulette
You can also gamify the drink-ordering experience by providing a Wheel-of-Fortune-inspired roulette wheel at the bar. Each slice of the wheel can be dedicated to a unique drink concocted by your bartenders, so indecisive or adventurous customers have the option of spinning the wheel to try something fun and new. Get creative! Tip: Bar Roulette can be a great way to promote new drinks or items your customers may not know you offer.
4. Photo booth
Let’s face it – everyone’s a sucker for a good photo opportunity (especially after a few drinks), and selfies get old. Photo booths are a great way to not only get your customers excited, but also to generate some organic marketing. Your social media savvy bar-goers will likely be sharing these fun party photos on their network channels, resulting in great publicity to relevant local audiences. Whether you opt for a formal electronic booth or something more DIY, customers will be lining up to get a good souvenir for their night out. Tip: If you want to really get it right, provide some fun props too.
3. Wall of Fame
Encourage your customers to compete with themselves too. This one’s free – and can even bring in much more revenue. All it takes is a small section of your wall and a little bit of creativity. Come up with an outrageous challenge - drinking all 50 beers on the menu over the course of a month (with daily limits, of course) or chugging five liters of beer in one sitting (please choose legally and responsibly). Any customer that completes it successfully earns a spot on your “Wall of Fame” for all to see. This will drive purchases, fun spectator events, and – okay, beware – maybe some reckless behavior.
2. Social Jukebox Apps
Music is absolutely essential in setting a fun atmosphere. Jukeboxes have been a classic component of the bar experience for decades, but even more popular today are jukebox apps like 'Rockbot' that let your customers pick songs that you've approved and vote on the bar playlist. Jukebox apps are easy to set up and and a tweet-worthy experience for everyone if you're looking for more social media buzz. If your bar is playing music already, you may as well make it awesome for customers.
1. Beat the Bartender
Games don’t have to stay just among your customers – your staff can get involved too. Host weekly promotional events to get customers playing games with your bartenders for drink discounts – simple quick games like calling a coin flip, comparing a dice roll, or playing rock-paper-scissors. If the customer wins, they can get a 50% discount off their order, for example. Such social promotions have proven successful for both pubs in the suburbs and bars in metropolitan cities. Foster the fun, competitive atmosphere while also offering a quirky sale event to encourage more purchases!
We hope this list was helpful and inspiring! Adding bar games to the vibe of your restaurant or pub can be a small investment for a big return.