Increase Your Bar Biz with the Chinese New Year

How to use a days-long, unconventional holiday like the Chinese New Year to increase your bar business and maximize profits.

While federal holidays are well established in the U.S., most non-federal holidays tend to get overlooked.

But therein lies an opportunity!

Consider using a non-federal holiday like the Chinese New Year to celebrate for a day, a weekend, or even longer. It’s a great way to bring in more business and enhance your customers' experience. For all you know, it could turn into a big money-maker. If it does well, make it an annual tradition. Over time your coffer of decorations and paraphernalia will grow and more celebration ideas will flow.

Food and drink specials would be just the beginning. Hire a DJ or game host to create a night of music and activities to fit the occasion. If you have an outdoor space (and weather permits), bring in some live music. When you think about it – all holiday traditions got their start somewhere. Why not create one that your bar can become known for?

What is the Chinese New Year (aka Lunar New Year)?

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This annual 15-day festival is celebrated in China and in Chinese communities all over the world. Beginning with the new moon, which falls sometime between January 21 and February 20 each year, the Chinese New Year is also known as Lunar New Year because it follows the phases of the moon.

Participants celebrate with numerous traditions, including…

  • Welcoming the New Year in the hopes that luck and prosperity will be plentiful
  • A celebration to scare away the legendary monster “Nian” who is said to attack villagers every new year. Nian (which means “year") is afraid of the color red, bright lights, and loud noises, therefore participants wear lots of red clothing, use red decorations, and set off lots of firecrackers and fireworks.
  • Giving young people red envelopes containing money
  • Sharing feasts with family members and honoring loved ones who have died
  • Conducting a deep cleaning of their homes to remove any residual bad luck
  • The Lantern Festival (the Chinese New Year’s final event)

During the Lantern Festival. Glowing lights are hung in temples and are heavily featured in nighttime parades. The dragon, being the Chinese symbol of good luck, is the star of many outdoor celebrations, as numerous dancers slink through the streets carrying a long colorful dragon. The length of these dragons can range anywhere from 10 to 300 feet long!

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Try celebrating the Chinese New Year by scheduling something special on the night of the new moon or host several events over the course of the 15 days.

Encourage your patrons to wear red and give away a prize for the best costume.

Request that your DJ play lots of songs with the word “Red” in the title or artist name (99 Red Balloons, Little Red Corvette, or anything by Red Hot Chili Peppers, etc.).

Ask your trivia host to include fun facts about the Chinese New Year and/or the color red.

Decorate your bar with paper lanterns and other Chinese New Year decorations.

Advertise to your drive-by traffic by displaying a super long Chinese dragon in front of your place. Bonus if it lights up at night!

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