St. Patrick’s Day is an Irish holiday, celebrated on 17 March. However, the celebrations are not limited to Ireland and are celebrated across the world. St. Patrick’s Day is a big marketing opportunity for bars and restaurants, in particular, allowing such businesses to get festive and creative with their marketing, and offer special discounts to entice a larger crowd.
How to organize St. Patrick’s Day at your bar
Understand your audience
The first thing you need to consider when organizing St. Patrick’s Day celebrations at your bar is who you’re going to target. Will it be your regular customers, people out celebrating the parade, or anyone and everyone?
You also need to keep in mind what goals are you setting out to achieve, are you looking for people to buy more drinks and food, or maybe you’re looking to build a larger customer base over the long run, or you could just be wanting to improve brand awareness.
You’ll have to amp up your marketing efforts based on who you’re targeting, your budget, and the goals you’re trying to accomplish. Take some time to finalize your audience, before you pick some or all of the marketing strategies to use at your bar, below.
Go green with the decorations
It goes without saying, if you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at your bar, you will have to set the theme throughout and deck the area accordingly with decorations.
You can go for lots of different shades of green color and Irish themed decors, such as decorative plates shaped as four-leafed clovers, golden goblets for drinks, green and gold streamers, Irish props like a ginger beard, curly ginger wig, fake gold chains, or Leprechaun’s hat, or cut-outs for people to take pictures with. These shouldn’t cost much and can easily be bought from local thrift stores or dollar shops.
Adding some festive decoration is a cheap and great way to get your patrons and new customers into the holiday spirit. If you create a unique set-up it’ll also encourage people to take pictures and share on their social media accounts, helping with that added reach.
Irish themed menus
It’s probably obvious that people coming to your bar are going to buy drinks and have some small bites. With many other bars ramping up their promotions for St. Paddy’s Day, you want to make sure you’re offering customers not just what they need, but also what they’ll want.
A good way to do this is by creating themed menus and offering limited-time drinks and food. You can use drinks menu templates that you can customize with St. Patrick’s Day photos, stickers, font, and colors.
Attract your clientele by adding popular Irish food, and making variations of Irish-themed drinks to your menu, which can include the following:
- Lots of Guinness
- Irish whiskey
- Creatively named drinks like; Lucky Kiss, Long Ireland Iced Tea, Tipsy Leprechaun, Shamrock Shots, and you can play with the names of many others
- Canapes with Irish soda bread
- Shepherds Pie
- Food items infused with Guinness
- Green colored menu items
By serving drinks and food that are Irish-themed you’re sure to bring in customers who are looking for a proper St. Patrick’s Day experience. Making it clear that the menu is for a limited time will also drive customers who are wanting to try something new.
Open up during the daytime with special menus
Many friends and families celebrate St. Paddy’s Day with a hearty brunch or lunch, before joining in on the parade and reveling into the night. To take advantage of this, open up your bar earlier on the 17th and offer an exclusive brunch or lunch to your patrons.
Plan a Luck of the Irish brunch offering green pancakes, eggs cooked in different styles, waffles with fried chicken or bacon, french toast made with Irish soda bread, green smoothies, and juices. You can go as creative as you like and color different food and drink items green, or shape them like four-leaf clovers, pots of gold, or other Irish classics.
Host an Irish trivia one night
Celebrations for St. Patrick’s Day go on a few days before and after the actual date. Your bar will probably be carrying it onto the weekend. For one of those nights, you can host a quiz night at your bar, which is a great way of getting people into your bar.
All you need for that is a bunch of Irish-themed questions printed out on sheets, some pens, an audience, and you can let the fun begin. Allow people to play as individuals or in groups. One person will need to be appointed to call out the questions, another to check score sheets. The person, or team with the most correct answers, wins!
You can find lots of online resources to help you finalize a list of questions related to Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day, and feel free to diverge from the typical question format and include questions that make use of pictures, videos, or audio clips.
Marketing strategies to promote St. Patrick’s Day at your bar:
St. Patrick’s Day discounts
Everyone loves a discount. When you’re offering a limited-time holiday menu at your bar, topped with some discount or promotions, it’s sure to generate lots of interest from the party-goers.
You could keep up with the theme and offer a 17% discount on all your Irish-themed drinks. If you’re feeling generous you could have special bundle deals such as BOGOF. There is always the option of giving customers a discount voucher for their next visit, which you can easily make using voucher templates, like the one below.
To get the celebrations going in full swing and encourage people to dress up for the occasion, you can promote special discounts for those who make an effort with what they wear to commemorate St. Patrick’s Day. However it is that you decide to market it, bar-goers love some interesting holiday promotions.
Promotional giveaways and raffles
St. Patrick’s Day is synonymous with Leprechauns, who are well known to have pots of gold. To keep up with the theme at your bar, and attract more customers to pick your venue for their celebrations you can host a giveaway, or some competition to lure people in.
You can promote this as a ‘Pot of Gold’ giveaway or a ‘Get Lucky’ raffle, where prizes can be gold-themed or wrapped in gold paper. Customers can purchase tickets, for their chance at winning items. You can create graphics, like the one below, to promote the raffle weeks in advance to increase awareness and get more people buying tickets.
Depending on the sort of budget you are working with, you can include expensive or more affordable gifts to the prize pot. Some popular prizes include electronics, gaming consoles, alcohol crates, gift cards, tickets to a future event at your venue, and much more.
Remember to mention your giveaway or raffle when marketing your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations at the bar, as it’ll be sure to tempt patrons of other bars to your place.
Liven up the atmosphere with Irish music
What is St. Patrick’s Day without some traditional Irish tunes? Get your guests groovin’, singing, enjoying themselves, and sticking around at the bar for more than just one round by putting on some Irish music.
Go one step further and make your bar stand out in its celebrations by hiring a live acoustic band to come and perform at your establishment. If you’re on a tight budget you might want to consider reaching out to local businesses, musicians, or bands, who you could partner with to play some Irish music at your bar. They could play for a small fee and in turn, they would benefit from free marketing and larger audience exposure.
If you have a good social media following or are looking to improve your bar’s social media presence, you can choose to live stream the performance. This way, those who are unable to go out to a party or celebrate can join in on the fun as well.
Putting on some form of live entertainment is a popular way to draw a crowd, stir up some interest, and set you apart from what other bars may be doing.
Get the word out with posters and flyers
One of the easiest and most effective ways to advertise St. Patrick’s Day at your bar, and drive in a larger audience, is through the use of posters and flyers. You can
PosterMyWall offers a free online poster maker that you can use to design your posters with the help of St. Patrick’s Day poster templates, in a matter of minutes. You can also easily resize your poster design with just one click, into a flyer size, which you can then print to hand out outside busy areas.
Stick posters like these up in popular local areas such as shopping malls, supermarkets, universities, cinemas, or hand out the bar flyers to pedestrians, and passersby. Depending on what you’d like to spend, you could hire professional models who can dress in Leprechaun outfits or Irish dresses to hand flyers outside your bar. Or they can wear promotional clothing with your bar’s logo and distribute these flyers in other areas that tend to get high footfall – they’re sure to grab the attention of many customers!
In the poster and flyers you create, remember to include all the St. Patrick’s Day deals, and offerings you’ll be putting on at your bar to ensure everyone has an incredible night.
Advertise your event on social media
In today’s day and age, your bar is sure to have some sort of presence on social media. Most definitely a Facebook page, Instagram profile, and possibly Twitter, Snapchat, and TikTok accounts. It is now the norm for potential customers to check out a business’s social media channels.
Before 17 March you should be posting on your social platforms regularly, sharing details on how you’ll be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at your bar, and what’s in store for customers, through a mix of images, and videos.
Using location-based marketing on social media
What’s great with social media is that you can use location-based marketing, which helps you reach customers who are most likely to visit your bar. Create paid campaigns, decide which platform your target audience is likely to be found on, select the area and audience demographics for who you want your advert placed in front of, and then set a budget to promote these.
Geotargeting on social media is a particularly beneficial tool when marketing your bar. It allows you to show your promotional posts to locals that live close to where your establishment is situated, with targeted messaging and incentives that appeal to them.
Promoting your celebrations with Facebook Events
Facebook allows businesses and individuals to create ‘Events’. Ahead of the big weekend, it’d be a good idea to set up an event for the days you’ll be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at your bar. Invite friends, family, patrons, and others to this event, share it in groups, on other social media platforms, by email, WhatsApp, or text.
Those who are attending can RSVP by clicking ‘going’ and can also invite others. You can also update all your guests about what to expect through your Facebook event.
And of course, last, but not least, don’t forget to add Irish-theme imagery to your social profiles. This could be turning your logo green, adding that as your profile picture, or adding a cover photo, which could promote your bar party.
Focus your attention on what your loyals patrons want. Change up the decor, menu, and wow your regulars with St. Patrick’s Day themed games and drinks.
Finally use tried and tested marketing techniques such as flyers, regular social media posts and setting up a Facebook event to inform your audience of your plans.