Three Ways To Manage Crowds At A Live Music Bar

When you own a bar, you want to bring people in to drink, eat, and make some money for you. The way that a lot of bars manage this is by having live music, bands, or singers. If you decide to become a live music bar, you will need more strategies on how to handle the crowds. Here are a few approaches that other live music bars and restaurants use to manage the crowds.

Cover Charges

To pay your music acts, you will either have to charge the patrons to see and hear the music, or pay the music acts out of your own account and then recoup that by charging patrons. This is usually done under the form of a "cover charge." Everyone who comes for the live music pays a fee at the door. It may be as little as $5, or as much as $20, depending on the notoriety and expense of the act. Most people are willing to pay this fee to drink and listen to the music because it is akin to going to a live concert in a larger public venue, but on a much smaller scale.

Minimum Drink Charge

Another way to manage the number of people that come through the door is to require a "drink minimum" charge. This means that you do not ask for a cover charge, but you do require that patrons coming in buy two, three, four, or five drinks to stay and listen to the music. The drink minimum offsets the cost of the live music acts, and will ultimately have people buying food or snacks, too.

​Limit the Number of People in General

​On special nights when live music is expected, limit the number of patrons. It is a first-come, first-served basis, allowing only the exact number of patrons to enter. This is also a good marketing technique, since it will make people line up early and around the block to get into your bar. A sort of "exclusivity" event is something people are willing to fight over, and while you probably will not have to break up many fights, it will actually create a lot of publicity for the live music events at your establishment. Consider allowing only fifty people in on these nights, or half of the maximum capacity allowed by the law for your bar. It is sure to get people to hurry on in and packed in place without overcrowding.