St. Patrick’s Day is big business in the nightclub & bar scene. In 2014, 45% of 25-34 year olds attended a party at a bar or restaurant, and St. Paddy’s spending as a whole grew to $4.8 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. If you haven’t started yet, nows the time to start planning and putting the right vendors in place to make sure you get a chunk of the spending.


Follow these 5 tips to get your St. Paddy’s day on the right track.


1. Get Creative

Green beer and special St. Patrick’s Day cocktails are always a must, but every bar in your vicinity is going to offer that. Differentiate yourself by thinking outside the box. After all, St. Patrick’s celebrants simply follow the party. Some promotional ideas include:

•  Hiring Irish bands as live music entertainment
•  Drinking games, such as beer pong or Irish quarters, against a “lucky leprechaun” (to make even more revenue, offer this option at a buy-in rate only)
•  Being a part of a St. Paddy’s day pub crawl to draw a new crowd
•  Creating drink bundles, like a flight of Irish beer or a series of Irish whiskey-based cocktails, to increase spending
•  Taking the party outside by hosting a patio party or even a block party. You can also couple this with a scavenger hunt to find the hidden treasure.

The best way to know if your St. Patrick’s Day theme will work is if it’s in line with your audience’s wants. Know your demographic and your target audience to determine if an over-the-top Irish affair or a low-key celebration is the route to go.


2. Don’t Forget the Food

A big part of Irish culture is the food, which also happens to be a big part of drinking holidays. If you don’t offer food, your customers are likely to leave at some point to grab some grub somewhere else. There are a number of Irish items you can add to your menu, which should always be governed by how equipped your kitchen is. Perhaps simple finger food or appetizers is all your bar can handle. Or maybe you have a full kitchen to offer corned beef, Irish stew, and shepherds pie. Try to stick to traditional or well-known Irish food to appease your customer’s appetites and the theme of the day.


3. Hire the Right Talent

Once you’ve identified your promotional theme, it’s time to start hiring. Are you bringing in live talent? A DJ? A leprechaun character? Whatever it is, make sure you hire your talent and put enough staff members in place in all areas of your venue to handle the influx of guests. Nothing is a showstopper more than having a great turnout but being unable to handle the party. Great customer service in tandem with a great party keeps guests spending all night long.


4. Put the Right Tools in Place

Having the right tools help you automate your night, which in turns leads to efficiency and increased revenue potential. Do you need to sell tickets to your event? (If so, you should pre-sell them to gain more revenue than just selling them at the door). Do you need to automate your guestlist? What about speeding up the line at your door? Identify which areas you could improve on and find the best tools and systems to help with these processes. There’s a few platforms available that have all this and more integrated together to allow you to handle all functions from one system.


5. Spread the Word

Now’s the time to market and drive people through your doors. The best way to reach your customers is by using the channels they’re already on, such as social media, email, and text messages. You should also always keep your regular guests who stop by your venue before St. Patrick’s day informed of your plans so they have it on their radar. Another option is to do paid advertising to generate even more buzz than organic marketing alone. If you have a CRM system in place, use filters to segment your customers into specific targeted audiences to provide each audience with a message that is 100% relevant to them. Make sure your messaging is consistent across channels and is compelling enough that your customers want to share the news with their friends.


Whitney Larson is the president and director of marketing at Vēmos. Contact her at or fill out the form below.