The news headlines may have described a slow economic turnaround and shaky consumer confidence in 2011, but the real story in high-volume bars and clubs around the nation was about growth. High-grossing nightclubs and bars around the country experienced another banner year, and the 2012 Nightclub & Bar Top 100 roster reflects the ongoing success of numerous established clubs and the outstanding performance of several newcomers.
The Top 100 ceiling was raised yet again with No. 1-ranked Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub in Las Vegas reporting 2011 revenue in excess of $70 million, a record-breaking figure for the club in its first full year of operation. Altogether, the Top 100 venues generated $1.4 billion, up 9.2% from the 2011 list total. Overall, the top clubs continue to generate growth well in excess of the overall bar and nightclub segment, which grew 1% in 2011.
Developed by Nightclub & Bar in partnership with Chicago-based hospitality market research firm Technomic (see “Methodology” sidebar below) and now in its fourth year, the 2012 Top 100 is the only ranking of the leading bars, clubs and lounges based on total annual revenue.
Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub was among 22 newcomers to the Top 100; many, like Marquee, opened during 2010 and immediately attracted crowds, realizing and then sustaining significant revenue. Other newcomers achieved significant growth in 2011, which earned them spots on the roster.
One quarter of the list — 25 venues — are located in California, with 15 in the Los Angeles area, seven in San Diego, two in San Francisco and one in Sacramento. Las Vegas contributes 22 venues, with eight of the top 10 venues located in Las Vegas. Ten of the 2012 Top 100 operations are in the five boroughs of New York City. Chicago contributes five venues, Texas delivers four and Atlantic City and Washington, D.C., each offer up three. It’s expected that the major markets dominate the Top 100 list, but operators in a number of other markets — including Atlanta; Denver; Ocean City, Md.; Destin, Fla.; Lake Cuomo, N.J.; Kansas City, Mo.; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; and Knoxville, Tenn. — also succeeded in bringing in the crowds and revenue.
Of the Top 100 survey participants, 42.8% identified their venues as nightclubs; 70.6% of them described their hotspots as dance clubs. Of those identifying their venue as bars, 31.7% are sports bars and 29.3% are traditional bar/taverns. DJs and live entertainment are featured by 88.3% and 73.6% of total respondents, respectively. Nearly 80% offer a dance floor, 70.1% provide VIP areas and 65% offer bottle service.
The majority reported solid growth in 2011. In fact, 70% of respondents to the Top 100 survey indicated their venues’ revenues increased, and of them, nearly half (48%) reported revenue increases exceeding 10%. Consistent revenue was cited by 20% of survey respondents, while 3.4% cited revenue declines. Drinks generate the lion’s share of venue revenues – 56% of sales from alcohol is the mean among Top 100 survey participants. While in the venues, partyers favored spirits, which generate 44% of alcohol sales. Beer contributes 25% and wine 9%. A full food menu is offered by 68% of survey respondents’ venues. Gaming, such as pool tables, video game systems and jukeboxes, are available at 42% of respondents’ venues. Nearly three quarters (73%) have outdoor patio, terrace or rooftop space, which is an increase from 63% a year ago.
The Top 100 Methodology
The 2012 Top 100 list was developed by Nightclub & Bar in partnership with Technomic Inc., a Chicago-based hospitality market research firm, using primary and secondary research. An online survey of operators was conducted from Oct. 13 to Dec. 1, 2011, and yielded primary data from 817 nightclub, bar and lounge locations, from which key information and insights were generated. Secondary research involving public databases and sources, scans of major metropolitan markets and industry resources provided additional data points. Total revenues are presented in ranges for calendar year 2011; specific ranking is determined by estimated midpoint of annual revenue. Concepts included can operate in no more than five locations and must be operating all 12 months of the 2011 calendar year.