03 Mar Working Together
No bar is an island—these partnering strategies are getting results
You know those one-in-a-million nights when everyone you invite hits it off, and it turns into a legendary night to remember? Well, it turns out that bars and restaurants can create the same kind of magic when they commit to working together. Forward-thinking bars in cities across the country are putting together monthly, community-focused events, encouraging crowds of all kinds to come out.
Dunedin, an artsy beach town on the west coast of Florida, has a Wine/Art Walk on the second Friday of every month. With the purchase of a $10 wristband, patrons have access to special offers at 56 local establishments and become eligible for giveaways at the end of the night. Close by in St. Petersburg, Florida, a popular bar district is transformed into a full-on block party the first Friday of every month. On average, 3,000 people come out to this event, formally called, “Get Downtown,” by the organization that hosts it, the Breakfast Optimists Club. Entry and access to live jazz music is free, and refreshments are available for purchase at numerous vendor stands. Patrons tend to linger in participating bars for hours after the event ends, generating solid business for these establishments.
Across the country in downtown Los Angeles, the city’s Art Walk takes place every second Thursday of the month. The event is gallery based, but several bars and brewing companies participate. Art Walk’s Executive Director Qathryn Brehm estimates an average of 10,000 people attend the event monthly. Brehm says that local businesses get involved, and many offer promotions to patrons during the event.
Fayetteville, North Carolina is another city that hosts an art-based event. Once a month from April to October (due to weather limitations) the longtime 4th Friday event features art from over 40 artists, street performers, live music, food and beverage, and activities for families. What stands out about this event is the popular beer garden. The Fayetteville Visitors Bureau hosts and partners with local breweries. They allocate a portion of the beer garden proceeds as a “good neighbor” donation to different local non-profits.
Moral of the story, neighboring establishments don’t have to be in competition with each other. Community events give local businesses the chance to work together and help promote one another. See how you and other bar and restaurant owners in your city can create a monthly tradition. Be the talk of the town! —Amanda Webber