Revenue is Up, Live Entertainment’s In, Outlook is Positive – Leading Bars and Clubs Outperform the Industry
The nation’s top bar and club venues delivered big in 2010. Despite a slow economic recovery and low consumer confidence, people wanted to party and the operators of these venues didn’t let them down.
Proof of that is in the revenue numbers showcased on the 2011 Nightclub & Bar Top 100 roster. Developed by Nightclub & Bar in partnership with Chicago-based hospitality market research firm Technomic, Inc. (see Top 100 Methodology, below), the Top 100 is the only ranking of the leading bars, clubs and lounges based on total annual revenue. The 100 venues on this roster — the third annual Top 100 done in this manner — together generated an estimated $1.3 billion in revenue in 2010, an 8.3% increase over the 2010 list.
With two clubs — XS and TAO, both in Las Vegas — reporting annual revenues exceeding $60 million in 2010, and the low end of the roster registering in the $5 million - $10 million range, the Top 100 reaches new heights.
“Compared to the overall bar and nightclub segment, which grew less than 1% in 2010, the Top 100 clearly showed continued strength,” observes David Henkes, vice president and on-premise practice leader at Technomic. “The bars and nightclubs on this list get to be the biggest by being the best, and it stands to reason that their growth would well exceed the broader industry growth rate. While the industry began to recover overall last year, there were still many challenges, but these Top 100 operators, as a group, definitely overcame those challenges better than most.”
More than 600 venue operators responded to the 2011 Top 100 survey, and nearly two-thirds of them (58.2%) cited revenue growth for calendar 2010, with 40.9% declaring increases in excess of 10%. Nearly a quarter (23.4%) of respondents claimed revenues remained steady with 2009 levels; of the 5.7% who reported a decline, the average drop ranged between 1% and 5%.
While Las Vegas occupies nine of the top 10 slots on the list — LIV in Miami comes in at No. 7 — Sin City contributes a total of 22 venues. New York City is represented by 12 venues, Miami by 9, Chicago by five and Texas by four. The second largest number of Top 100 bars and clubs hail from Southern California, with 21 checking in from Hollywood, Los Angeles, San Diego and other area markets. Washington, D.C., and Atlantic City, N.J., appear three times; Atlanta appears twice. The list also showcases bars and clubs representing a range of markets from Anchorage, Alaska, to Bloomington, Ind., from New Orleans to Lake Como, N.J.
“Obviously many concepts benefit from being in a larger metropolitan area, but as some of our Top 100 show, it’s not a requirement for success. What’s more critical is that successful bars and nightclubs are catering to the needs of their local patrons, whether that’s in Miami, Chicago or Anchorage,” notes Henkes.
Nearly half — 46.6% of survey respondents — identify their operation as a nightclub, with 67.3% of them described as dance clubs, 11.9% as lounges and 10.4% as live music venues. On the bar front, from the 29.1% who identify as bars, 26.3% are described as sports bars and 25.1% are categorized as traditional bars/taverns.
Spirits dominate alcohol sales among Top 100 operations, followed by beer and then wine. Bottle service is offered at 59.5% of venues and 59.6% have VIP areas. Live entertainment remains an important element of Top 100 bars and clubs, with 70.4% of facilities featuring a dance floor, 82.9% employing DJs and 77.7% showcasing live entertainment. A full food menu is available at 57.4% of responding venues. Games and electronic entertainment are available at 40%, with video games, pool tables and jukeboxes/digital music the leading types. Outdoor seating on patios, terraces or rooftop areas is a component of 62.7% of Top 100 venues. NCB
Top 100 Methodology
The 2011 Nightclub & Bar 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. 14 to Dec. 1, 2010, and yielded primary data from 608 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 2010; 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 2010 calendar year.