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September 17, 2018 A Year of Weird Holiday Promotions for Bars + Restaurants (31 Crazy Days)

weird holiday promotions

Let those other bars and restaurants have the basic holidays (we’re looking at you, Valentine’s Day). You’ve got something cooler, wilder, and crazier to offer guests with these 31 weird holiday promotions and events.

Unique and unexpected, these weird holiday promotions will get people talking – and walking through your doors – all year long. Let’s get weird…

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January

January 4: National Trivia Day

Did you know otters hold hands while they sleep so they don’t drift apart? Celebrate random facts with an all-day trivia marathon at your place. It’s easy using trivia tablets for bars and restaurants – and the perfect way to kick off a year of weird holiday promotions…

January 12: Kiss a Ginger Day

Created by a British redhead (not Prince Harry) in 2009, this pro-ginger day is just begging to be made into weird holiday promotions. Serve ginger-forward cocktails like the Moscow mule and an apple ginger martini. Of course, give redheads a special discount.

January 24: Global Belly Laugh Day

Guests will say LOL to weird holiday promotions created to make them laugh. Host an open mic comedy night. Attendees tell their best Dad Joke. Go the extra mile for those belly laughs: ask 2-3 actual dads to be judges.

February

February 13: Galentine’s Day

February 13th was declared Galentine’s Day by Leslie Knope on the TV show Parks and Recreation. Leslie’s tip for celebrating? Enjoy a boozy brunch with gal pals. So host a Galentine’s Day brunch at your venue. If February 13th falls on a weekday, just hold your Galentine’s weird holiday promotions and brunch on the Sunday prior.

4th Thursday in February: Chili Day

How about a bowl of chili to warm up these weird holiday promotions? Partner with bars and restaurants to host a “Chilly Chili” pub crawl. Revelers travel to each host location for a cozy cup of chili. At the crawl’s end, everyone votes for their fave chili.

March

March 2: Dr. Seuss Day

Bring out the kid in everyone by serving green eggs and ham. Go gourmet with this green eggs and ham recipe by Martha Stewart. Write out ads for your Suess-inspired weird holiday promotions in rhymes. Hold an open mic event with dramatic reads of those Seuss classics.

March 14: Pi Day

Get geeky with your weird holiday promotions. Pi Day celebrates “pi” in mathematics (3.14…get it?). Offer $3.14 appetizers or a $31.40 prix fixe menu. Go “punny” with complimentary slices of homemade pie on March 14th.

March 23: International Puppy Day

Add the “aww” factor to your weird holiday promotions. Partner with an animal shelter to donate 10% of proceeds from sales. Then, bow-wow guests with clever drinks named after man’s best friend: Bark and Stormy, Whisker Sour, Cosmo-paw-litan.

April

April 6: New Beer’s Eve

Party like it’s April 6th, 1933. America’s 13-year ban on alcohol partially ended on April 7th when beer with a 3.2% ABV or less became legal again. On the eve of April 6th, thirsty patrons lined up at bars so when midnight struck, they could get their drink on again.

Celebrate the occasion with weird holiday promotions like a New Year’s Eve style countdown to midnight. Instead of a ball drop, do a ceremonial keg tap at midnight.

April 19: National Garlic Day

Get your garlic on with weird holiday promotions that celebrate the “stinking rose.” Create a #GarlicChallenge menu with every dish starring garlic. Serve mint juleps to help patrons combat their garlic breath.

April 26: National Pretzel Day

Offer a free happy hour “pretzel bar” loaded with rods, classic twists, soft-baked pretzels and dipping sauces. Chances are, folks will stick around for dinner after your weird holiday promotions: research found that salty food increases appetite, not thirst.

May

May 4th: Cuatro de Mayo

Get ahead of the Cinco de Mayo marketing blitz. Your competitors won’t know what hit ‘em when you launch Cinco de Cautro weird holiday promotions. Just run a few of these 15 Cinco de Mayo deals, events, and offers – a day early.

May 4th: Bonus…It’s Also Star Wars Day!

“May the Fourth be with You…” People are flat out obsessed with Star Wars and this is their day. Your coworker probably has a light saber collection (or maybe you do?). Go galactic and whip up a special appetizer or drink menu inspired by the world of Star Wars. The key phrase is “inspired by.” Don’t use Star Wars or actual character names in your weird holiday promotions

May 25: Wine Day

For wine lovers, a day devoted to vino isn’t weird at all. In fact, expect them to pour in for these weird holiday promotions. Wine Day falls on or near Memorial Day, so patrons are craving all things summer. Get them in the mood with sangria pitcher specials. Offer “board and bottle” deals that include a bottle of wine and a board of appetizers (perfect for patio drinking and large groups). Go casual and serve wine slushies: the unofficial drink of the New York State Fair.

June

The First Friday In June: National Donut Day

Don’t let Dunkin’ Donuts have all the fun. Run weird holiday promotions centered on deals for donut-based desserts and inspired cocktails. In fact, “donuts with non-traditional fillings” were named the 17th most trending item on the National Restaurant Association’s 2018 What’s Hot Chef Survey.

June 20 or 21: Summer Solstice, Longest Day of the Year

Ancient civilizations went all out with weird rituals on solstices. So follow their lead with weird holiday promotions inspired by the longest day of the year. Host a “whiteout” party and require guests to wear white. Use a fire and ice theme complete with shots poured down an ice luge.

June 21: Another Double Bonus…It’s National Selfie Day

For millennials, every day is national selfie day. Now, kick off weird holiday promotions for everyone. Run a simple selfie contest: every guest that takes a selfie on that day – and uses a designated hashtag featuring your bar or restaurant name – is entered to win a new mirror! Just kidding, they’ll get a gift card to your venue.

July

July 13: French Fry Day (Bonus if it Falls on “Friday”)

You can add French Fry Day to your calendar of weird holiday promotions. Just treat guests to a twist on the basic fry: offer 5 different fries from parmesan to buffalo flavor. Pair with brews. Easy! Just avoid the truffle oil, it’s very uncool.

Third Sunday in July: National Ice Cream Day

Host an ice cream social for adults – complete with a good old-fashioned cake walk. Only instead of cake, the winner gets a gift certificate to your restaurant. Missed out on weird holiday promotions for ice cream day? No worries, the entire month of July is National Ice Cream Month.

Third Wednesday in July: National Hot Dog Day

Put a gourmet twist on the hot dog with fancy fixings. Or go in the opposite direction and offer free hot dogs during happy hour. Either way, you’ve got options for your weird holiday promotions.

August

August 4: International Beer Day

Celebrate beer in a big way with a “name that beer” challenge. Guests are served a mystery beer and have to guess which one it is from 4-5 options. If they guess correctly, the next one is half off. Or, go international with your weird holiday promotions and offer tasting flights of beers from around the world.

August 17th: National Thrift Store Day

Turn on Thrift Store by Macklemore so guests can pop some tags in a by-the-decade costume contest. Pick a few decades like the sixties, eighties, and nineties. The only rule? They had to buy their outfit at the thrift store and spend a total of $20 or less. The winner is determined by who represented each decade best. (Fair warning: expect the smell of mothballs in the air during these weird holiday promotions.)

September

September 16: Halfway to St. Patty’s Day

What’s an Irish pub to do when St. Patty’s Day is just once a year? Celebrate the halfway mark with weird holiday promotions involving green beer, Guinness on draught, Irish whiskey cocktails, corned beef, and all things Irish. Just don’t serve shepherd’s pie in a beer mug, or you risk ridicule.

September 19: International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Ayyyy, matey! Don’t be a scallywag, celebrate ye olde Talk Like a Pirate Day with weird holiday promotions. It’s an official holiday in Michigan (seriously). Instruct servers to sport pirate gear – bonus points for a fake parrot on their shoulder. Give discounts to patrons who order in pirate speak. And of course, offer 2-for-1 specials on these 11 classic rum cocktails.

October

October 4: National Vodka Day

Like National Wine Day, this day isn’t that weird for martini fans. In fact, it’s awesome because you’re going to bring in the crowds with a bartender martini mix-off. Patrons get to taste their creative concoctions (small pours, of course) and vote on the winner, which stays on your menu for the month. Cheers to weird holiday promotions, right?

October 17: Pay Back a Friend Day

You know things are getting weird when a bank creates weird holiday promotions. Bank of America has deemed October 17th as the day you settle debts with pals. Here’s your angle: Instead of paying back a friend in cash, why not treat them to dinner or drinks at your place? Bank of America found that 53% of Americans have lost a friend due to an unpaid debt, so you’ve got a large target audience…

October 30: National Candy Corn Day (and Halloween Eve)

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, those little candies have their very own day – on Halloween Eve. Your weird holiday promotions aren’t complete until you make this layered cocktail that looks just like a candy corn. Serve up during a Halloween Eve bash featuring a costume contest, naturally.

November

November 11 (11/11): Singles Day

Go to China on November 11th, and you’ll find weird holiday promotions everywhere. Known as Singles Day, the Chinese throw blind date parties to help singles find their perfect match. Host your own mixer…a stoplight party. Singles wear green (hello, we’re available), yellow attire means “it’s complicated,” and those who are taken wear red.

Interestingly, China’s Singles Day is also the biggest online and offline shopping day in the world (even bigger than Black Friday.) Create a 1-day menu of $1 cheap eats and call it “Spend Your Singles.”

November 12: National Happy Hour Day

This is an easy one, and honestly…it’s probably the sanest of all your weird holiday promotions. Simply offer happy hour pricing from open till close. Boom, instant crowds.

Last But Not Least…December Weird Holiday Promotions

December 5: Prohibition Ends

On this day in 1933, Prohibition officially ended. Create a speakeasy vibe: share a secret word on social media. Guests must repeat it at the door to receive special discounts. Offer moonshine cocktails and let guests channel the Great Gatsby and dress up for the occasion – it’s just another one of your weird holiday promotions.

3rd Friday in December: Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

The list of these 31 weird holiday promotions ends with an instant party…starring the ugly Christmas sweater. Held at offices and homes nationwide, bring the celebration to your place with an ugly sweater contest. Send the 3 most hideous sweater wearers home with a sweet prize.

…and that’s a wrap on weird holiday promotions for every month of the year! Want more? There are thousands of wild and wacky holidays, just waiting for your creative twist.

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