In just over a week, things are going to get crazy. Black Wednesday is fast approaching and unless you’re new to the bar industry, you know it’s the busiest night of the year. This holiday season is stressful, no matter how well a family may get along. Maybe some of your guests are siblings who need a break from passive-aggressive parental interactions. Perhaps friends need a local bar in which they can reunite and catch up with one another. It’s possible that some individuals just need a cold beer and maybe a bite before braving their relatives.
And then there’s that most infamous of retail days, the nightmare that is Black Friday. When people are done trampling or being trampled by their fellow thankful human beings, they’re going to need a beer, cocktail or glass of wine. After all, a cool, refreshing seasonal beverage is the best way to celebrate shoving another person into a table full of cheap doorbusters to score a smoking deal on a television.
Here are a few Black Wednesday and Black Friday promotions we love.
Las Vegas isn’t exactly known as a city to which people flock during Thanksgiving. Knowing this, Royal Crawl teamed up with 6 bars and Three Square Food Bank to offer Vegas locals an fun Black Wednesday promotion. TAG, O’Sheas, Tilted Kilt, Brooklyn Bowl, Chayo and ameriCAN will see over 1,000 local crawlers using their smartphones to grab 4 free drinks at 4 of the 6 bars. The Royal Crawl smartphone app utilizes a built-in poker game that gives users 1 playing card at the start of the crawl and then 1 card for each of their 4 check-ins (and redeemed drinks). When the crawlers complete their check-ins, they get a free ride on the High Roller Observation Wheel (worth $37 itself) and are entered into a competition for the best poker hands. Over $5,000 in prizes from event sponsors and The LINQ venues will be up for grabs. Three Square Food Bank will benefit as well, receiving a portion of ticket proceeds that equals about $5,000. That 5 grand will provide 15,000 meals for the homeless during the holidays. While you very likely don’t have time to create a smartphone app like Royal Crawl’s, you may able to participate in a bar crawl and/or offer locals the opportunity to help their community in a fun way.
Thanksgiving means college students heading home, many of which are of legal drinking age. They’re definitely going to be excited to see their friends and Drink Nightclub in Schaumburg, Illinois has come up with a simple and effective Black Wednesday promotion to attract students attending Illinois colleges to their venue. First, those with a valid college ID get in without paying a cover. Second, the college with the largest attendance wins a free party at the nightclub on Black Friday. There’s no reason you can’t offer a similar promotion at a bar, nightclub or restaurant.
If you’re able to partner with a brewery, you’ll want to check out this promotion. Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden in Austin, Texas is partnering with Goose Island to serve some of the award-winning brewer’s beers on tap and in bottles. This event gives Banger’s guests the chance to try the first-ever bottle release of Goose Island 2015 Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout. They’ll also have Goose Island Bourbon County Barleywine, Lolita and Madam Rose (all of which have been aged over 2 years), other Goose Island beers, and live music.
Sometimes you don’t have to come up with a unique promotion to draw in a Black Wednesday crowd. Referring to Black Wednesday instead as Thanksgiving Eve, NYC’s Stage 48 is presenting the Night Glow Tour with LOUDPVCK & A$AP Ferg. Another New York City hot spot, Hudson Terrace, is also calling their promotion Thanksgiving Eve. However, unlike Stage 48, the venue is featuring popular NY DJs and simply noting on their flyer that Wednesday is, “The biggest party night of the year!” You don’t always have to get crazy in anticipation of Black Wednesday.
Arnold’s Bar & Grill is the oldest bar in Cincinnati. When a bar has been around for over 150 years, the various owners throughout the years are going to learn a few things. One of these things is how to drive Black Friday traffic through their doors. Starting at 9PM – just the right time for people to have partially recovered from bargain hunting battlefields – Arnold’s will be tapping 12 kegs of Christmas beers and 1 keg of Festivus beer. To get people into the Christmas spirit, the bar encourages guests to don ugly Christmas sweaters since their staff will be wearing them. Since Black Friday is all about deals, Arnold’s is offering a free pint glass and a $5 gift certificate to anyone who purchases a $25 (or more) gift card.
Using Arnold’s as a model, think about what Black Friday means when considering your own promotion. People prepare for months in anticipation of the retail world’s busiest day. They’ve been chasing deals all day and are very likely going to expect you to offer something special as well. Creating a special Thanksgiving “hangover” or après-Black Friday cocktail is one thing to consider. Of course, drink and food menu discounts and seasonal or special beer offers will work. Don’t forget about your distributors; find out what they can offer your guests to draw them to your bar.