Catch More Customers with an After-Party Experience – Here Are Five Ideas for Your Venue

Hosting an after-party celebration at your bar or restaurant allows you to showcase special food and drink while catering to a specific type of customer. By throwing an after-party, you can easily catch the crowd (and new customers) while they’re moving from one location (such as a concert, festival or big game) in search of the next. These can be ticketed events or free-for-alls, depending on your style.

Ticketed after-parties should offer more than another bar or restaurant could with their regular menus. For example, the continuation of a theme or a free drink or two with ticket purchase. Of course, free events can (and should) offer some semblance of a theme related to the prior event, but you don’t have to go all out. Offering a special drink or appetizer to commemorate the event is easy and fun. Or, you can create a full-blown experience, if you like.

Both restaurants and bars can host after parties, though some types may benefit from one scene over the other. For example, after a concert, people are probably looking for a place to continue raging, so a bar would be a better option. But after a community event or low-key festival, perhaps a restaurant may be a better choice.

Here are five ideas and inspiration:

1. Support the Big Game with a Post-Game Event

If you’ve got a beloved hometown sports team, throwing an after-party when they play at home is a no-brainer! Throwing a party after every home game might be a little bit daunting to organize and keep up with, but playoff games or major rivalries merit a celebration. Whip up some good snacks and have some easy drink specials to wind down a day of excitement. After a high-energy event like a game (win or loss), everyone wants to decompress a little, so this is the perfect event to bring the energy down a little and chill.

2. Continue the Concert Experience with a Themed After-Party

If your restaurant is located near a popular concert venue, make yourself available to host after-parties when big names come through town. Get the word out ahead of time with some slick flyers dropped alongside checks in the weeks leading up to the event, as well as a social media effort. After the end of the concert’s runtime, run a snack menu and some drink specials on a few signature drinks. With a little planning, you can position your restaurant as an important part of a guest’s concert-going night!

3. Host a Party After an Awards Show

Many towns have local awards shows of some kind or another. If your town’s got an award show in the near future, reach out to the organizers and offer your services for an afterparty. With plenty of time to plan, you can design a prix fixe menu to cater to hungry attendees after the show has wrapped. Consult with your bar staff about designing a cost-effective signature cocktail referencing the event. Being that this party is for an awards show, theatrical gestures like this are the ones to aim at this crowd.

4. Tie Into a Local Festival

Does your hometown have a beloved local food festival? Music festival? Something else to rely on year-round? If you have a local event like this to look forward to, the chance to plan an after-party is optimized here. If you can branch your after party from the festival itself’s theme, you’re likely to see more success with this kind of experience. Every year in Nashville, for example, there’s a local Tomato Festival; local businesses design special menus to feature each year’s bumper crop of the beloved fruit in special menu offerings. While this example is pretty specific, you can take the idea and apply it to any beloved foodie event that’s in your neighborhood.

5. Try the Catch-All Event

One of the best things about dining around the country is the variety of events that occur from city to city. Wherever you live, there’s likely something regional that happens in your hometown. Is there a big to-do that comes with a Christmas Parade? Have you got a local holiday that’s especially beloved? Whatever the occasion, you should plan on being THE place that locals get together to celebrate. Design a special, simple menu that pertains to the event night and doesn’t fret much about the specific situation. You’re celebrating something unique to your hometown; for many, just celebrating it will be more than enough.

Have Fun with Whatever Idea You Decide to Launch!

Now that you have an idea of what types of events you can host after-parties for, it’s time to get the word out. If you’re located close to the event, such as a stadium or concert hall, it can be as simple as using print signage like sandwich boards and flyers to catch the attention of people passing by. For local events, you can reach out to the event organizer and let them know to send people your way for a continuation of the party. There are so many ways to advertise and host your party, so do what works for your restaurant, and have fun with it.

Megan Prevost is a content manager for MustHaveMenus, where she writes about restaurant marketing. Her work has appeared in Bar Business, Beer Connoisseur, BevSpot and more. To learn more about MustHaveMenus, visit

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