Ways to improve the atmosphere of your bar or pub

A good local pub (or bar) is like a good friend, they're fun to be around, always there for you and they'll tell you to go home when you've had too much to drink!

1. Fill the pub on a 'quiet' Tuesday - run a pub quiz

Find a local quiz-master (or run it yourself) an organised quiz may coast you a percentage of the bar takings, plus a bounty for every participant, yet they really pull in the crowds, especially on the quiet days early in the week, when there isn't an international sporting event. The basic pub quiz should consist of a minimum of 4 rounds, each round with a minimum of 10 questions, 1 of the rounds could be a picture or music round.

Quizes are livened up with the addition of spot prizes for things like the best team name or for answering a separate spot question, prepare to give away small prizes such as chocolate or a drink at the bar.

A good option for a bonus round during the break is to ask each team to guess the answer to a question with a numerical value, something like 'how far can a mole dig in a night?' the closest team wins a bottle of wine or chocolate to share.

...The answer is 92m, on average.

2. Make the regulars feel special

Encourage participation from your regulars, ask for testimonials about the pub food and drinks, print some of the regulars comments in the menus, people love to see their name in print, they're guaranteed to bring along more friends on their next visit.

I visited a pub recently that really went the extra mile for their regulars, so much so that they commissioned a mural along the main wall in the pub to include about 20 of their regular drinkers, if that doesn't encourage people to return (and bring their friends) I'm not sure what will.

3. Have a good selection of board games

Every good bar or pub should have a couple of decks of cards available to borrow, the best bars have a selection of classic board games for patrons to use, Scrabble, Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit are all must-haves.

Introduce further participation by displaying some of the top scores achieved by people playing the board games, a few blackboards around the bar make a great talking point.

4. Let your customers choose the music

Whether it's providing free Jukebox credits or a full-blown iPod party policy, allow the customers to at least have some say in the music that's played, recently I've seen bars requesting the donation of old (good) vinyl in order to play in the bar, again another great way of encouraging participation - remember the bar is a good friend, good friends are interested in the music you listen to.

5. Give customers the chance to win their drinks

Perhaps this could be part of a midweek promotion, give customers the option to roll a set of dice for the option to win the round of drinks they've just ordered or win a discount on the drinks, for example, roll a 12 and the round in free, roll a 6 and you get the round half price. Not only will this encourage people into your bar, the commotion and theatre happening at the bar will help establish a fun atmosphere and add to that all important talkability.

Bonus Tips

How to improve bar toilets and restrooms

Often the most overlooked room in the bar, yet an important reminder of the bar to many customers.

Add a target to the urinals, it's been proven that something as simple as a sticker of a fly inside the urinal or toilet bowl, helps encourage gents to keep their aim accurate.

Display the articles from the daily newspapers or sports pages above the urinal or on the back of the toilet doors, preferably behind glass to keep it hygienic.

A Successful Pub in London

Successful bar in LondonCredit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PubCamdenTown.jpgCredit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PubCamdenTown.jpg