A demand for convenience, a desire for unique products, and a growing interest in wellness are just a few of the trends currently shaping the most popular bars of 2020. Consider incorporating a few of these ideas into your bar to continue delivering a memorable experience to your patrons.
Create an Upscale Dive Vibe. In Ireland, where pubs are king, every neighborhood has a “local,” a beloved dive on the town square where folks from the town gather— to watch sports on the TV, enjoy a meal, or visit with one another over a pint or two. Usually dimly lit and a bit rustic, it’s easy to feel at home in your local. Some bar owners are elevating the “local dive” vibe by keeping the warm and welcoming features of a neighborhood bar while also updating fixtures, lighting, and menu offerings.
Explore Delivering Alcohol. Alcohol delivery is on the verge of becoming one of the biggest trends of 2020 if— and it’s a big if— bars and restaurants can figure out a way to consistently comply with important state and local regulations. Keep your eye on how this trend is unfolding in your area. For example, Pizza Hut started testing alcohol delivery in 2017, and plans to expand the service to locations in seven different states. In preparation for the expansion, they trained their employees to verify customer IDs and handle the product appropriately.
Install Self-Pour Beer Taps along a wall or tableside to make your bar service more efficient and boost your sales. Try creating a centralized wall of taps where patrons can use a “beer card” or wristband to sample as much of any beer as they want. Since they’re being charged by the ounce, customers can sample 2 ounces of 10 kinds of beer, or 4 ounces of 5 kinds of beer— the tab will reflect exactly how much they poured and how much it cost. One such wall features 38 self-serve beer taps that allow customers to sample as many beers as they like before committing to a full glass. The quantity of each pour is accounted for and the customer pays their bill before they leave. Table tap technology allows your patron’s similar access to a variety of beer from the comfort and convenience of their own tables, tracking what they sample and the costs associated. Not only do these self-pouring solutions cut down on labor costs, but they also eliminate the risk of a bartender over-pouring.
Screwdrivers on Tap! Yet another way for bartenders to streamline service and save time on busy nights is to serve cocktails from a tap. Choose a few popular cocktails to offer on tap and save the more involved mixology for custom drinks. This not only speeds up service but ensures consistency, so that every drink tastes the same— no matter which bartender is pouring.
Provide Alcohol Vending Machines. Like the self-pour stations, alcohol vending machines are another way to serve customers quickly and efficiently. They provide alternative points of access for customers in busy environments like festivals or nightclubs— some even open the cans before dispensing!
Expand Your Bar Menu. Consider adding some alternate choices to the beer, wine and cocktail menu.
● Hard or “spiked” seltzers, a mixture of carbonated water, alcohol, and flavoring, are low in calories with an ABV (alcohol by volume) on par with light beer— a combination that appeals to customers who prioritize wellness but still want to enjoy an alcoholic beverage.
● Small batch spirits from microdistilleries, also called craft distilleries, are in demand with customers seeking distinct, artisanal products.
● Why not invest in a barrel of stout or a popular craft beer? Storing winter-style beers like barleywines, imperial stouts, and porters in barrels previously used to age spirits like whiskey, bourbon, or brandy create unique and interesting flavors.
● Build on the popularity of beer cocktails like the Shandy and Michelada— try incorporating some of the newer, hop-forward beers with spirits, fresh juices, and bitters for some one-of-a-kind concoctions.
Liven Up Your Alcohol-Free Choices. Many people who have chosen alcohol-free lifestyles still want the opportunity to socialize with friends in a bar environment while enjoying delicious drinks with complex flavors. Meticulously crafted mocktails are a great addition to your menu.
● Non-alcoholic, distilled spirits like Seedlip, a no-proof beverage similar to gin, can be used to create unique virgin cocktails that will appeal to the designated drivers and others in your crowd.
● Untap the potential of the humble tea leaf. Teas are available in tons of flavors, including black, green, and herbal, adding a variety of flavor profiles to mocktails.
● The tart, fizzy flavor of kombucha, a trendy fermented beverage thought to provide health benefits, is delicious on its own and also works well as a mixer.
Incorporating new and emerging trends will help your bar stay fresh and contemporary, keeping existing customers engaged and bringing new ones through the door.