Bars, Management

12 Ways Boston Bars are Boosting Business on Winter Weeknights

By Brie Shelley


Brie Shelley

January 28, 2016

Posted in Restaurant Management, Industry & Culture

It’s 8pm on a bitterly cold, dark Tuesday evening. You might expect Good Life, a nightclub and bar in the heart of downtown Boston, to be a bit quiet, but surprisingly, it’s lively with sound.

Because now, the usual Tuesday evening scene at Good Life looks like a group of friends sitting in the corner drinking beer and playing cards, some college kids munching on nachos and playing Mario Kart, and a bunch of coworkers dressed in suits playing Jenga at the bar.

By switching it up and making Tuesday night Game Night, Good Life entices people to visit on a night they normally wouldn’t think to go out. It might be frigid out there, but Bostonians are down to play some board games, socialize, and sip some cocktails.   

Game Night is just one example of the many creative tactics Boston bar managers are using to bring in business during typically slower winter weeknights. Looking to bring more buzz to your frosty midweek? Check out these 12 bar specials:    

Food and Drink Specials:

1. Pancakes for Dinner  

What better way to lure Bostonians away from their Netflix binge than breakfast for dinner? Every Monday from 5:30-10:30pm this winter season, Five Horses Tavern in the South End is offering Not Yo Mama’s Pancakes. Just like the name suggests, these things are the real deal. For $12, Chef Erica Keefe whips up a batch of pancakes with a choice of three different batters and toppings such as blueberries, bourbon apple, or Froot Loops. Customers can choose to pair their yummy pancakes with a hot cocktail like a house-made maple butter and Vermont’s Dunc’s Maple Rum or a Spiked Hot Chocolate.

2. Mangia Monday

Even more expensive restaurants are dropping their prices. Every Monday this winter at Papa Razzi, all entrees are only $15.99. Patrons can also add an appetizer, pizza, antipasto, or salad for only $7.99, and a glass of house red or white wine for only $5.99. (Keep in mind, a purchase of an entree is required in order to get the special app and wine pricing).

3. Taco Tuesday

Need to bring more buzz to your Tuesday night crowd? Although it’s a bit more common than breakfast for dinner, Taco Tuesday is a classic favorite. Boston Mexican spots like Zuma Tex Mex Grill offer $1 beef and chicken tacos in hopes of drawing in more customers (who will also likely buy a specialty margarita).

Even if your menu isn’t Mexican themed, don’t fret, Taco Tuesday can still heat up your Tuesday evenings! Although they don’t usually offer Mexican style dishes, traditional American bar, Tremont 647, and seafood restaurant, Barracuda Tavern switch it up to offer $2 tacos and promote a list of Mexican-style drinks on Tuesdays. You can also grab three tacos for $6 if you sit at The Met Back Bay bar.

And just because it has a nice ring to it, tacos are not limited to Tuesdays. Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar has Mexican Mondays where they offer all you can eat tacos for $9 after 5pm with a drink purchase.

4. Burgers on a Budget

Got a dollar? You have enough for a meal at McGreevy’s! On Tuesdays from 4-11pm, this popular spot lures in Bostonians with the promise of  $1 cheeseburgers (extra toppings cost extra). The Lansdowne Pub also offers discounted burgers for $5 on Wednesdays from 4-7pm and Bar Louie offers a $5 burger with tots on Tuesday from 5pm til close. Although these bars aren’t bringing in a large profit from their burgers, the weeknight discount brings in more customers who will likely spend money on drinks and more food.

5. Cheap Wings

Get people off the couch with a wings special! Boston’s Penguin Pizza offers  25 cent wings on Mondays after 5pm and at Red Hat, Monday’s wings are only 10 cents! What’s even better than 10 cents? Flann O’Brien’s offers free chicken wings after 9pm on Mondays with the purchase of any beverage.

Wing nights are a celebrated evening for Bostonians. If you’re looking for more weeknight business, consider giving this idea a test-run.  

6. Wine Night

Warm up your customers with an awesome wine special! Every Monday night, Lincoln Tavern offers wine bottles at an incredible discount. Think $50 bottles for only $25, as an example. The wine special list usually includes around 6 different bottles choices with a mix of reds and whites so all type of wine lovers can get their fix.

7. Alcohol Tastings

Bring in business during the week by inviting vendors in to sample their product during slower hours. Reach out to companies like Downeast Cider by contacting their event managers or sales reps. Once you agree on a date, print out some flyers or write it on your sandwich board and website to let people know a tasting will be taking place.

Providing free samples and hosting some lively event staff will definitely get people pumped to come in on a cold winter night. It will also help you build relationships with new vendors.

bar staff


8. Karaoke

Winter weather tends to keep people cooped up. Inspire them to put down some drinks and belt it out with a good group of friends by hosting a Karaoke Night! Here in Boston, the Bell in Hand Tavern hosts karaoke starting at 9:30pm on Tuesdays. They also use this time to push comfort food specials including Buffalo chicken nachos, chowder, and burgers. Kinsale, an Irish pub in Government Center, also hosts karaoke every Thursday, offering their own comfort food items like Reuben egg rolls and truffle tots.

9. Trivia Night

We realize that nowadays you can answer almost any question by typing it into Google, but where’s the fun in that? Trivia night is perfect for people looking to test/prove their knowledge of random facts or those who are simply looking for an excuse to come up with a hilarious team name and drink some beer on a Wednesday.

Stump Trivia, a popular trivia company founded just outside of Boston in 1999, hosts about 400 events a week. According to their website, by adding trivia night to your arsenal, you can turn one of your slowest nights into one of your busiest nights.

Even if Bostonians have to trudge through the snow, they pack Clery’s trivia night every Wednesday and Coogan’s trivia every Thursday. Other bars around Boston experience similar results Sunday-Thursday throughout the week.

10. Paint Nite

Looking to fill some seats on a slower night? Partner with Paint Nite to bring in customers during the winter. According to Paint Nite’s website, hosting a Paint Nite party brings in added foot traffic and “89% of Paint Nite customers have never been to your bar, 78% of Paint Nite customers have never heard of your bar, and 68% of Paint Nite customers will return to your bar.”

Tons of bars around Boston are hosting Paint Nites on a weekly basis. For example, Hong Kong in Faneuil Hall is hosting a Paint Nite on Tuesday February 9th and The Baseball Tavern in Fenway is hosting one on Wednesday February 10th.

11. Live Music

Live music is a great way to attract more people to your bar midweek. The Junction in South Boston hosts live music most weeknights and showcases an incredible amount of local talent. Mr. Dooley’s, an Irish bar, and the Green Dragon Tavern, a traditional American pub, also host a bunch of different artists to bring in more customers throughout the week.

12. Extreme Bingo

Like bingo, but much better. This updated version of bingo uses songs, videos and pictures instead of numbers. Whiskey’s on Boylston street hosts Extreme Bingo every Monday night from 8-10pm and MJ O’Connor’s hosts every Tuesday night from 8-10pm. Winners of each round win a gift card and it’s free to play!

Winter is here but that doesn’t mean your business should settle for slower weeknights. These Boston bars are stepping it up and getting creative, ensuring that their patrons have something to look forward to, besides going home and getting warm in bed.  

**Did we miss your weeknight special? Comment below and we’ll be sure to share it.

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