For party planners, promoters, and bar and restaurant owners, March is a pretty rough month. It falls in that lost abyss of time, right between the lucrative holidays of Valentine’s Day and Memorial Day. By this point, most people are just waiting for the lull of winter to recede, and spring to, well, spring.
There is, however, a saving grace – a special day that just about everyone with an appetite for good food, good drinks, and good times looks forward to. His name is St. Patrick’s Day.
He walks in wearing a pair of sun glasses, donning a beautiful red beard, a pork-pie hat, and, oddly enough, flip-flops. He brought his friends Jame-O and Jack D., and he doesn’t really care who you are, where you’re from, or what you look like. The only thing he cares about is having a great time.
And for you, St. Patrick’s Day is a recipe for success. All you have to know how to do is reach out and grab it:
Don’t Wait to Promote Your St. Paddy’s Day Event
Going to a party is a lot of fun. Throwing a party usually isn’t. And as with most, throwing the perfect St. Patty’s Day bash is dependent not just on execution, but on proper planning.
Waiting to prepare for and promote your festivities could be a potential nail in your coffin, so be sure to get all of the planning out of the way early. Order your customized St. Patrick’s Day t-shirts from a company like RushOrderTees, hire your DJ, rent the necessary equipment, plan the logistics, and solidify as much of the experience as possible before your guests arrive, to help ensure a successful party after.
Remember: The old adage, “If you build it, they will come,” only works in Field of Dreams. Okay, and Wayne’s World 2. But only those two!
Offer Early Bird Arrivals Some Irish Style Incentives
Ever been to one of those parties that started at 8 p.m., but you showed up at 10 p.m. feeling terrible about being so late, only to realize that hardly anyone was there? You pull the flyer out of the pocket of your jeans, gander at it again, and… Yup, “Start: 8 p.m.” You’re not crazy – there’s just no one there.
Offering your guests and patrons certain incentives to arrive on time is a great way to keep your St. Patty’s Day party on the right track. Food specials; discounted drinks; free pint glasses, t-shirts, and food – give people a reason to show up early, and they will! We suggest drink tickets (it is a St. Patty’s Day party, after all), or some cool custom stuff to commemorate the occasion – t-shirts, bar rags, mugs.
Sort Out Some Creative Drinks and Specials
Mark Twain once said, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” While we’d never dare protest the father of American literature, we do believe there should be a bit more variety in your bar to help appease the palates of all of your varied guests and patrons.
A carefully constructed, concise, and relevant drink menu, complemented by specials (say, for instance, early on in the evening, to help entice guests to arrive earlier!), is always popular.
Some of our favorites:
Irish Car Bomb: This St. Patrick’s Day staple is always a hit – even on days that aren’t March 17! Fill a pint glass about half full with an Irish stout (Guinness). Take a half ounce of Irish cream (Bailey’s), a half ounce of Irish whiskey (Jameson), and put it in a shot glass. Take the shot glass of the whiskey and cream, drop it into the stout, and drink it. It’s delicious, and as far as beer goes, Guinness is one of the healthier selections on the menu.
Black and Red:
For those patrons who aren’t typical whiskey drinkers, this cocktail is a bit sweeter and easier on the taste buds than, say, a straight shot of Jameson. Mix Black Bush Irish Whiskey with sweet vermouth and a couple bitters, with a Maraschino cherry for garnish.
Giants’ Gate Cocktail:
This cocktail is the crème de la crème of Irish-themed drinks. Mix a Scotch whisky (the “official” selection is Bushmills 16-year), lime juice, sugar syrup (1-to-1 ratio), Guinness, egg white, cardamom pods, and raisins for garnish. It won’t be cheap, but having this cocktail on any menu will demonstrate how astute you were in preparation of the party, and how skilled your bartenders are (and we hope they are!).
And, of course, don’t forget the quintessential St. Patty’s Day Pint – green beer!
Put Effort into a Good St. Paddy’s Menu – No Tacos!!
I know the last two words up there probably broke a lot of hearts, but we promise this is the absolute first and last time we will ever discourage you from serving tacos.
Food is as important to St. Patty’s Day aficionados as proper drinks, and a diverse, yet culture-centric menu will have your patrons applauding (and maybe calling their friends to come hang out, too!).
First and foremost, find a good, homemade Irish Soda Bread recipe. This one looks great, but we’re not so sure about the addition of orange zest. Put the extra effort into keeping this stuff well stocked. It’s more of a dessert thing, but soda bread is the perfect food to munch on while drinking – it’s tasty, can be handled with fingers, and cheap to make (or purchase, if you’re strapped for time!).
Of course, no St. Patrick’s Day celebration is complete without some good corned beef and cabbage, of which we recommend preparing a lot. A big ol’ pot of Irish stew is a great idea, too!
Your Music Selection is Important
Sure, it can usually go without saying that the overall vibe of a good party is dependent upon the DJ, but special emphasis should be placed on the tunes selection for a St. Patty’s Day party.
One of the most beautiful things about Irish culture is its rich and varied music history. You can select everything from the “Shamrock ‘N Roll” of bands like Dropkick Murphys and the Real McKenzies, or the more traditional folk-y stuff from groups like The Pogues, The Tossers, The Dubliners, etc. And of course, no Irish heritage celebration is complete without a decent selection of traditional pipes & drum music.
Keep in mind, however, that you’re also catering to a wide array of people. Though everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, not everyone is actually Irish. Feel free to mix in some more popular tunes, or keep the jukebox open to selection.
Get People to Come Back After The Event – Give Them Something to Remember
What’s better than getting a bunch of awesome customers to an event? How about getting them to come back again and again to keep your venue happening! Don’t miss the chance to remind people that your place is the place to be, all year long. Consider some custom shirts, hand-towels or other fun items to get your fans spreading news about your business. This is a effective and very affordable way to drive repeat business and new business to keep your staff busy through all seasons!