It’s that lovely time of year again. Stars, stripes, and brewskis are sure to abound this fourth of July, and that could mean a big day for your bar. Whether you’re a swanky, speakeasy-style bar serving spirit-forward drinks, or a good-ol’ neighborhood dive bar, there are surefire ways to take advantage of this week’s holiday. But as with any particularly lucrative opportunity, there are also some potential pitfalls. We’ve gathered a few tips, tricks, and general life hacks to keep your bar out of the weeds this Fourth of July.
Batched cocktails are a great way to execute an especially high-volume service at a bar or restaurant. While some drinks taste better when mixed fresh, there are plenty of options that are perfectly delicious when made ahead of time. For the batching-novices amongst you, we should point out that batching cocktails isn’t an exact science. There’s more to it than just scaling up a recipe, as some ingredients and components don’t translate well.
We’d shy away from including aromatics or bitters in a batched cocktail, as they require some degree of freshness. As well, skip the bubbles -- chances are, they’ll go flat pretty quick. Don’t let these stipulations limit you too much, though! If you can get away with batching 85% of a cocktail, and then just finishing the drink to order, you’ll be in good shape.
If you’re running a drink special this Fourth, go with something batched, and promote the hell out of it. You’ll thank us later.
Give the People What They Want (Sort of)
Generally, we fancy bars as a medium of self-expression. If you are in a decision-making position, you can reflect your own personal tastes and interests with your menu. But on the Fourth of July, we think it’s best to put that aside (for the most part), and just sorta play along. While you may have an incredible negroni up your sleeve, your patrons are likely just looking for a nice, cold brew.
People who come to your bar on the Fourth are probably not going to spend much time reading a menu. It’s more likely that they’ve got their mind made up before they even arrive (for better or for worse).
That being said, it doesn’t have to be all Budweiser all day. Seek out some lesser-known craft beers that fit the Fourth of July bill. A good starting point? Hell or High Watermelon from 21st Amendment Brewery. With a light, drinkable profile and a not-too-subtle hint of watermelon, this brew is a perfect Fourth of July pick.
If we could only include a single one of these tips in our list, it would be this one.
We have to be really, really real here. Despite what your employees might tell you, no one wants to be at work on the Fourth. That’s just the reality of the situation, and we need to recognize that. Once we’ve come to terms with that, we can start helping those employees who are helping us. It’s important that your employees know their work is being appreciated -- after all, they have the power to make or break the day for you and your bar.
The first thing we’d suggest is definitely food. Get some high-quality catering and bring it in for your team to munch on. Hot dogs, burgers, and fries go a long way in keeping employees happy. We’re sure they’d all rather be at a cookout somewhere, so do your best to bring the cookout to your establishment.
Another option is (predictably) booze. Obviously, don’t let your employees go all-out, but one or two shift beers aren’t going to hurt anything. It’s a holiday -- make it feel like one! It’s always important to make your employees feel appreciated, but on holidays, in particular, we’d say it should be of the utmost priority.
All in all, incentivizing is key. Whether that means food, booze, or just some kind of monetary bonus, spread the good vibes. While this may seem like a behind-the-scenes move, keeping your employees happy is a huge key to success for any service -- fourth of July or otherwise.
“Over the top” is the name of the game when holidays and bars meet. We’d simply suggest that you go all out, but that wouldn’t even be enough. As cocktail and spirits aficionados, we tend to shy away from things we see as corny or kitschy. Technicolor booze, tiny American flags, and layered shots all can easily prompt a nose-turning response from those in the industry. For 99% of the year, that’s perfectly fine and understandable.
But on the Fourth, let yourself get a little weird. Have fun. Let loose, and don’t take things too seriously. There’s a fine balance you can strike, if you are a craft-minded establishment. For example, despite what the snobbiest of us might say, Blue Curaçao is practically a no-brainer for Fourth of July ingredients.
All in all, we’d say ‘fun’ is the name of the game for bars on July 4th (or any holiday). Fun for the patrons, of course, but also fun on our side of the bar. We shouldn’t just be providing the party, we should be proper hosts, and we should be enjoying ourselves as much as our guests are.
Don’t take things too seriously, thank your team for showing up, and keep the good vibes flowing this Fourth!