26 games that will keep your customers coming back
Games To Keep Customers Coming Through Your Doors
Games are a great way to inject fun, excitement, and a little bit of competition into your drinking establishment. Patrons may be drinking with long-time friends, acquaintances, family, or colleagues at a company outing, and games are always a great way to make a night more fun and more memorable, not to mention that they give people another reason to stay at your venue longer.
Whether you have a traditional beverage dispense method or self-pour, it’s always a good thing to keep your customers engaged and so they stick around longer. So, what’s a great way to make that happen? Well, how about some games?
Without further ado, we’ve got a great list of 26 games, big and small, that are sure to spice up your establishment and give guests some fun reasons to hang around (outside of the great drink selection you’re already offering).
Easy Setup Games
There are plenty of games you can buy as a set and simply keep as a box somewhere in your establishment, allowing your customers to do the setup as they please when starting a game. Board games, card games, etc. require no setup and can be a great way to keep customers engaged and having a great time at your venue.
An American classic; a staple in every home; the game that everyone played at some point as a kid. The best thing about it is that it only gets better when you’re an adult. Monopoly is sure to be a blast for your patrons, especially over a few drinks. From a consumer marketing perspective, it’s also a great bet to have a game this widely known and played, because it’ll be the most likely to get your customers’ attention.
Monopoly is very inexpensive; here is the basic version for $9.99.
The beer version of monopoly allows players to showcase their business strategies as professional beer sommeliers.
It is a lot like the Monopoly we all played as kids, however, Brewopoly changes the usual business entities into Brewery Pubs and Microbreweries.
Each roll of the dice gives the player some of the following tasks: last call, free pretzels, happy hour, and cheers. This is best played by individuals or couples in small group drinking sessions. Add your own rules for drinking as you wish.
Available for only $14 right here.
No, this isn’t a repeat of the previous entry, it’s actually a slightly different game. Compared to Brewopoly, Beeropoly plays a bit more like a game of Truth or Dare.
Players move around the board with beer caps (some are included in the box) and roll the dice to determine their moves. Depending on where they land, they or the group may have to do various funny tasks. For example, one space forces all the guys to drink, and another forces the player to play a quick game of 2 Truths and a Lie with the rest of the group.
Buy it online here.
4. Beer Checkers
A super fun game with a very self-descriptive name. It’s played identically to regular checkers, with the same rules and everything. But instead of regular pieces, players use shot or sample glasses filled (sometimes just partially) with beer as their pieces. Then, when a piece is jumped by the opposing player, the owner of that piece drinks that glass. In addition to being a fun board game in general, this can be a great way for patrons to sample many beers in small amounts.
For setup, we don’t recommend going out and buying 24 shot glasses as that’s unnecessary, instead you can get a full pre-prepared set including a board and special sized glasses right here.
5. Drunk Jenga
There are a couple of ways to do this one. Some people like to get some drinks in them and then just, well, play some Jenga. In that case, you wouldn’t need anything more than a normal commercial Jenga box. In some cases, each player who successfully pulls a block from the stack without it toppling over must nominate another player from the group to take a sip of their drink.
With all this said, there are also other companies that create versions of Jenga specifically for the purpose of a drinking game. These versions will have a bit of text on every single block, such that the player who successfully pulls one reads it out and the group must follow what it says (i.e. “You and two others take a drink,” “Everyone else drinks,” “The last person to touch their nose takes a drink,” etc.). Check one version like that here.
If you’ve got a bit more room at your venue, you could keep a set of Giant Jenga as well! Patrons are sure to have a blast with this one, and the stakes will certainly feel higher.
6. Cards Against Humanity
A pretty quintessential game to play with a group of friends, there’s certainly no harm in having a set for people to pick up at your brewery or taproom. If you’re not familiar with it, the idea is relatively simple. Each player is given a number of white cards, usually 5 to 7 at a time. Each white card has a weird/funny/usually inappropriate word or phrase on it. The game master for each round pulls a black card, which asks a question or has a statement with a blank for the players to fill. Each player submits one of their white cards to the pile, and the game master will choose their favorite one based on the black card that round. Whoever wins gets to take the black card as a way of keeping track of points.
While the game itself doesn’t force players to drink, we can guarantee the game gets a lot more fun, the more people drink. However, keep in mind that this game isn’t exactly child-friendly.
7. Apples to Apples
Now, if Cards Against Humanity seems a bit too vulgar for your patrons, Apples to Apples is a great alternative. It’s effectively the same game, but the white and black cards, in this case are more tame, and are colored green and red.
Even so, this game can produce just as many laughs due to the sheer random silliness that can arise from some of the question-answer combinations.
Apples to Apples is pretty widely available at retail stores and here is a link for ordering it online.
This is a game of strategy and cunning, but best of all it doesn’t even require a board. The rules are quite simple: Each player has a set of 7 dominoes in their initial set, and one player places one in the center to begin the game. After that, each player places a domino down such that one side matches one on the table in its number of pips. The first to place all theirs down wins. Simple! This one is very easy and approachable for all your patrons. And hey, if they don’t feel like actually playing, they can always stand them all up in a row and knock them all down, because that’s probably just as fun.
You can get a classic 28-piece set at most retail stores for pretty cheap; here it is online.
Nothing spices up a night out like a murder mystery! Anywhere from 3 to 6 players can enjoy this classic whodunnit, and it’s a great addition to your establishment’s games library. Especially for customers who like a good story, this game is the perfect complement to some good food and drinks.
You can get Clue for under $8 right here.
This is a true classic for the bar vibe, and nothing goes together like beer and sharp objects flying through the air. Setup is quite easy since all you need is a wall that’s clear of traffic and can safely hold up a dartboard, whether stuck against or nailed to it.
You can readily buy full sets with the board and darts included. Prices do vary a bit, but these are going to be relatively cheap overall. This one is available for 40 dollars.
11. Battle Shots
Do you remember Battleship from when you were a kid? Well, this is pretty similar, except it is only for adults. There are a couple of different companies that create boards for this, but the idea is the same.
Each player has a few “ships,” each one made of small cups attached together. Each ship is placed on their side of the board in whichever orientation they wish, and each side is a grid lined by letters on one side and numbers on the other. Each player takes turns calling out positions on the other’s grid, representing firing a torpedo. Whenever a player is “hit,” they must drink the cup at that position. The first player to drink all their cups loses, and the other wins. Just as with Beer Checkers, the cups would need to be washed after each game.
Simple, fun, and gets your patrons cheerful. Check out this version for an idea of how it looks.
These are the games that will require some setup, and may take up some floor space at your establishment. These will definitely require a bit more consideration before making the purchase, but can potentially enhance your venue’s personality and ability to entice customers to stick around longer.
12. Beer Pong
Well, you know how this one works. Given that it requires a rather large table, this one would likely be one of the few or the only larger games you have at your establishment.
Keep in mind that there would also be some additional logistics associated with this as well. You would need to regularly buy ping pong balls and account for potential loss. Additionally, you’d want to stock up on cheap plastic cups for patrons to use.
Depending on how much people would use it, you might consider adding a small buy-in in to play on the table. Additionally, a queue for people to sign into would definitely be a good idea. Regardless of how you do it, you could expect to see plenty of engagement with almost any clientele, as beer pong is quite universal.
Ping pong tables can run anywhere from $100 to over $300, so this would be more of an investment than a smaller game, but for a relatively successful brewery or taproom, this likely wouldn’t be too much of a financial burden.
13. Flip Cup
With the same setup as beer pong (minus the ping pong balls), you could set up Flip Cup games for your patrons. For this game, players simply have to drink a plastic cup of beer, then flip it such that it lands perfectly upside down. Like beer pong, it’s a team-based game, so you could potentially even start an ongoing tournament for your patrons to participate. That’s sure to attract some attention to your establishment!
This is a classic for lots of bars and breweries around the world. It will definitely require that you have a good amount of space in your establishment, so this is again likely to be one of the very few games of its size at your place.
Shuffleboard will likely cost you more than a ping pong table. These tables can run from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the quality of the one you get. You’ll definitely want to do some research on this, and possibly visit some furniture stores in person to see what might best suit your establishment for the price.
The upside to that larger initial investment is that maintenance is quite easy. Shuffleboard requires pucks which will usually come with the board, and are also reusable and rarely replaced. The board itself needs to be maintained every now and then to ensure the pucks slide well, and depending on what type of board you get, this will be done with either sand or glossy polyurethane. Sand may need to be added and adjusted more often, but can usually be done by the players themselves as they go. Polyurethane may need to be re-applied by staff but won’t need to be done very often.
15. Pool Table
This is another classic for a typical bar. Adding a pool table to your brewery, taproom, or eatery can immediately elevate from a casual drinking establishment to a place where people regularly like to test their skills at the pool table. Aside from the fact that it will attract people to try a game or two with their friends, it can also give your establishment a distinctive tone and personality.
Unsurprisingly, this is a significant investment. Prices can vary significantly for pool tables, with basic, low-end tables being anywhere from under $1000 to the $2000 range. Mid-range tables can go up from there, and the best of the best can easily go over the $10,000 mark. You’ll definitely have to do some research for this one and see what fits your place best and which quality is going to be the most practical for your establishment. But when implemented well, a pool table can be the perfect complement to your taproom or bar’s drink offerings.
16. Arcade Machine
Who says classic video games are out of style? If you want to go in the direction of digital instead of physical (not that you can’t have both), an arcade machine can be a worthy investment. There are a number of larger, “cabinet” machines these days that contain either a single game or multiple classic games in one place. These can really be crowd-pleasers for people who enjoy retro gaming.
Depending on what type of machine you get, the prices for machines like this can vary greatly. For single-game machines, you’ll usually spend a few hundred dollars. For the higher end, multi-game machines, they can run you into the thousands. Depending on the tone of your establishment and how much revenue you’re getting, you may decide to go one direction or another; the decision is really up to you. And as with all larger investments, you should definitely do some research before deciding.
This is a great fast-paced option for your patrons. The tables usually aren’t particularly large either, so it won’t need to take up too much space at your establishment. The best thing about Foosball is that it’s extremely easy for patrons to jump in and out of games and play for as long or short a time as they want. This makes it extremely approachable and likely to be played by many people passing by.
Foosball tables also tend to run a bit cheaper than something like a pool table, with most ranging from $100 to $600 or so. You can check them out at some major retail stores, and here’s one on Amazon.
18. Air Hockey
This is another more fast-paced but very approachable option comparable to Foosball. Customers can test their speed and dexterity (which should be extra fun after a few drinks) with their friends on an air hockey table.
With prices anywhere from $50 all the way to about $500, prices for tables vary dramatically depending on what quality you are looking to get. Considering the high traffic and strenuous usage the table is likely to get, we’d recommend going for one that’s a bit more durable even if it costs you a little more.
19. Ring Toss
This one will require a bit of open space at your venue, but compared to other larger games, it will cost you next to nothing. If you’ve got the space to spare, you might even choose to organize an official competition. This is something a couple of our customers have done in the past; the winner can win a free drink or at self-pour establishments, a preloaded PourMyBeer card with some value on it. Again, this is a great way to get more engagement from customers and have some fun on the staff side as well!
Games for Self-Pour Establishments
There’s also a few game ideas that are perfect for self-pour bars, restaurants, and taprooms. It can be a lot of fun for customers to take advantage of all the unique benefits of self-pour, and making a couple of games out of it can be even more fun.
20. Flavor Identification Game
This is a fun one that can be a bit more casual for your customers. A group of patrons can have small amounts of the same beer poured for them by someone else via self-pour (so they don’t see what it is), and they can all taste a bit (blindfolded if you want to get really into it).
Using a pen and paper, each player would write down a few adjectives to describe the beers (hoppy, malty, fruity, etc.) and maybe try to guess what type or even what exact beer it is. After that, they can all compare their notes and see how they did.
To make it a bit more competitive, you can award points for the adjectives people have in common. So, if two people say the same adjective, they would each get 2 points. If three people say the same one, they each get 3 points, and so on.
21. Bonus Game for Beer Nerds
If you want to raise the difficulty of this one a bit, you could switch things around to have tasters guess specific metrics for each beer they taste (primarily IBU and ABV). In this case, a point would be awarded to the player or players who are closest to the real values for each metric. Your more serious beer connoisseurs would certainly love this one.
22. Beer Ranking Game
This one is also pretty simple and can be done in a few ways. Basically, each player would sample a set of the same beers, and then rank them in order of a certain metric. That metric can be a number of different things based on the flavor profile: hoppiness, IBU (bitterness), darkness, etc. Each correct ranking based on the actual values would net a point for each player. If you hosted the event in a more official capacity, you can also offer some rewards for the winner of each round (most likely a free drink).
23. Brewery Overtake
This would be pretty similar to the Flavor Identification Game but would be done separated by breweries. This one would definitely work better for bars or taprooms with several beers from one brewery. Players could take some time to look at the various beers from the given brewery and what types they are, and then do a blind taste test for all of them, guessing which one each is as they go. Each correct answer would get them a point. It’s a great way to promote your local breweries while getting your customers excited and engaged as well.
24. Perfect Pour Competition
Ok, we have to admit we kind of came up with this one on our own, but we think it could be pretty fun. You would likely need a staff member to moderate this. Essentially, all participating patrons would use an identical glass to each pour a given beer at its self-pour tap. A staff member would then rate or rank each pour based on how good they were (clean, correct volume for the glass, perfect amount of foam), and the winner for the best pour could get some additional cash for their PourMyBeer card. This would get your customers excited about self-pour and about your taproom as well.
25. Mix Your Own Brew
Ok, this one might sound rather odd and is a bit controversial. However, a lot of our customers have noticed that quite a few of their patrons enjoy mixing a couple of beers together to create a new taste. We know that many beer lovers out there are cringing at this idea, but hey, self-pour means that every customer gets the full freedom to pour whatever they want!
For the people who are interested, you could make a game out of this by having each patron be allowed to mix two beers and then having either them or others blindly taste them, ranking each out of 10 for how much they like them. The winner would get a free drink or some extra cash on their PourMyBeer card. We know it’s a little out there, but it could be fun!
Games During Covid-19
26. Mask contest
With all the new rules and regulations regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, the bar scene is looking very different. Bars and restaurants are trying to actively reduce touchpoints within their establishments, meaning the bar games you have previously been able to offer to guests are no longer an option. But just because the games your customers once enjoyed are no longer available at this time, doesn’t mean they can’t have some fun in this “new normal.” An amusing and engaging option for your guests is to hold the best mask/face covering contest.
Your customers can now be excited to start going out again as they prepare to show off their best and most creative face coverings. You can hold multiple categories such as the most spooky, most unique, etc. The winner of each category can then be offered a free drink or money on their RFID card (if you have a self-pour establishment). Your customers can decorate their masks in all sorts of ways while getting them engaged in the fun!
Don’t forget to share these 26 Games with your friends!
Thinking you want to go a bit bigger? A lot of bars, breweries, restaurants, and taprooms often decide to host larger events and games in a more organized and official capacity, and we would definitely encourage that as well! Here is an article for you with events ideas to boost your traffic and beverage sales.