Since the inception of alcoholic beverages, there have been those who have imbibed under the early morning and mid-day sun. To many, day drinking conjures images of sitting quietly on a white sand beach while sipping a cocktail or silently enjoying a Corona. To others, day drinking means wild Spring Break shenanigans. Over the past few years, however, nightclub operators have been offering another option.
When the topic of daylife comes up, Las Vegas is one of the cities most often cited, and with good reason. Hospitality groups in Vegas have taken the already (in)famous pool parties and branded a number of them as day- or beachclubs: Daylight Beach Club at Mandalay Bay, Drai’s Beach Club at The Cromwell and Marquee Dayclub at The Cosmopolitan are just 3 examples. Branded, not rebranded – that’s an important distinction here.
It’s easy to think of these dayclubs as simple rebrands of already established pool parties but that’s too dismissive. Operating a successful daylife venue is not as simple as changing the hours of business and adding the word “beach” or “day” to the name. Partying under the sun in swimwear means lots of skin, heat and a carefree mindset all while consuming refreshing cocktails.
Your uniforms and dress code are key elements when creating a beach- or dayclub atmosphere regardless of whether or not your venue has a pool. Outfit your staff in beachwear such as bikinis, sarongs, boardshorts, shorts and short-sleeve tees and polo shirts, extending to your security. Just make certain that your staff is clearly wearing a uniform since relaxed, casual beachwear could make it hard for your guests to distinguish between other patrons and employees. The next logical step is to enforce a strict dress code for your guests. Jeans, dress shirts, suits, dress shoes, dresses – these all indicate nightlife and have no place at a dayclub. Instead, make swimwear the only allowable clothing option.
Along with your beachwear uniforms and dress code, other visual cues will help sell your beachclub concept. The great part of this concept is that the thematic elements are so ingrained in all of us. Your concept can be the reckless abandon of Spring Break, retro vibes of tiki, sexy swagger of South Beach, exotic party atmosphere of Ibiza...the list goes on and on as far as beachy destinations from which you can borrow inspiration.
When you’ve chosen your concept, contact your distributors and brand ambassadors. There’s no reason that they shouldn’t be helping you out with pulling your theme together. Branded ice buckets, shatterproof drinkware, banners, bevnaps, furniture, squirt guns, water cannons – even your staff uniforms – are all items with which your distributors and beer and spirits brands can help.
Finally, use a large decorative piece to really tie your theme together. If you’re going tiki, find an actual tiki carving to put on display. Going with Spring Break? Surfboards have always seemed to work well with that theme. Get creative.
Clearly, this is the time to get tropical and refreshing with your cocktail menu. From tiki drinks to classic poolside sippers, beach clubs are all about lemonades, mai tais, mojitos, daiquiris, slushy alcoholic beverages and the rest of their frosty cold, refreshing peers. As your guests will be day drinking, practice responsible service with session beers, low-alcohol cocktails and mocktails. And, of course, have plenty of water available.
Consider offering a signature cocktail, a lemonade or slushy drink, in plastic insulated souvenir cups with lids and built-in straws. These cups will offer you a chance to increase drink prices and provide an attractive alternative to the typical, generic plastic cup. Souvenir cups also help to sell the vacation vibe associated with daylife venues, even to locals. Lastly, don’t forget to have them branded with your venue’s logo.
Unless for some insane reason you’ve chosen Deliverance as your day club concept (and hey, that may work at the right venue), you’re going to want either high-energy dance music or downtempo lounge tunes. If you have the budget for A-list acts that draw huge crowds, go for it. DJs basically tour all year but the summer months are ramped up for partying. If you’re working with a much smaller budget, now is the time to implement some of the strategies discussed in March at the 30thanniversary of the NCB show.
There may be some lucky operators out there who actually have a pool outside of their nightclub or bar. Still others, in a more likely scenario, will have a bar or nightclub within a stone’s throw of a beach and an ocean or lake. Obviously, such venues have huge advantages when creating beach- or dayclubs. Hotels, boutique or mega-resort, also have a fantastic opportunity to transform their quiet pools to day drinking hotspots.
However, there are those venues that are nowhere near a beach or large body of water. And it’s probably safe to bet that a truly miniscule number of bars have pools on property. For these venues, tying together the beach theme, special bar and food menus and music are crucial for this concept to succeed. If you can’t offer your guests a pool you can still provide a day drinking oasis to capture daytime dollars.
As stated earlier, opening a successful daylife venue takes considerably more effort than opening at 10:00 am rather than 10:00 pm. The first thing to consider is: Can you legally sell alcoholic beverages during the day where your bar is located? This is one of those instances where a healthy working relationship with city officials - and your attorney - is incredibly important. Make sure that you're complying with the law when creating your daylife concept.