The Washington Post reveals that neighborhood bars are getting fewer in America. Local pubs are closing while liquor stores are opening. This means that more people are drinking at home rather than going out and visiting a local watering hole.
This is a problem. Studies reveal that neighborhood bars serve as an excellent third place that is crucial for mental health. Third place refers to a place where individuals go to take a break from work and even from home.
In addition, local pubs serve as a place where people in the community can talk and connect, fostering vitality and harmony within the community. Thus, the reduction of local watering holes is a problem that needs to be addressed.
Neighborhood bar and community building
Most people, especially the younger generation, are hooked on the virtual world. Through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms, people connect with anyone they want from any part of the world. But in order to build communities, people need to go out.
People within communities need to have a face-to-face interaction; this interaction must be regular to form bonds within the neighborhood. Physical places are needed for these interactions to happen; it can either be in the neighborhood par, church, or even the local bar.
A neighborhood bar is a place where people chat, exchange ideas, have fun, and build relationships; all these perfectly fit the definition of a third place and are essential for community building. Moreover, local watering holes are said to improve a neighborhood’s walkability.
Walkability and Safety
When a neighborhood’s walkability score is increased, the value of properties in the community increases as well. So regardless is residents living near local pubs drink or not, they all benefit just by having a bar in the community.
Also, the more people walk in the streets, the neighborhood becomes safer from criminals who will not usually commit crimes visible to a crowd. Moreover, as bars close later than other establishments, crimes happening later at night may be reduced. Though occasional bar fights may happen, they cannot outweigh the effect that neighborhood bars have in reducing property and violent crimes.
Making a bar part of the community
Whether you plan to sell good old lagers and pale ales or flavored beers made from real fruit purees, one thing is clear: you can make your bar an essential part of the community. A local watering hole can be the neighborhood’s pride and source of joy. But how do you exactly turn your bar into your neighborhood’s favorite?
To avoid being a bar that just comes and goes, the work put into market research is crucial. It’s okay to take time before opening the pub, so you can figure out exactly what you want that will fit what the community needs. Choosing a niche is a smart choice, but make sure that the type of niche you chose attracts a great portion of the community.
For instance, a neighborhood that obviously loves sports may be more attracted to come to a sports bar playing games of their favorite team. Hence, in market research, customer profiling is crucial.
The location of your bar must be central to the neighborhood and easily accessible to the people in it. Customers cannot be expected to drive for hours or commute through the train when they are planning to drink in the bar.
Bars next to universities do great because they are usually walkable and within reach for their customer base: the student.
Building loyalty is a crucial part of making your establishment the neighborhood bar. To do this, marketing efforts are important. Giving out free drinks after buying a few can be helpful, but you can invest in other marketing strategies.
Because people go to bars to have fun, a fun marketing strategy is to make a dedicated message wall on a side of the bar. Allowing customers to write on the wall connects them on some level to the bar. It gives them a reason to return to the bar and check the mark that they left in the place.
The most important thing about building loyalty is giving the customers constant reason to return to the bar, whether it be because of marketing strategies, good food, or simply great customer service.
Reviving the neighborhood bar scene
When the pandemic struck the entire world, neighborhood bars were hardly hit because they have not been considered essentials in our daily living. However, people don’t recognize that these bars provide more than just a place to drink; it is a place of interaction where communities are built.