In a world where people are constantly seeking unique and engaging experiences, traditional bars and pubs are finding new ways to attract customers to stand out from the competition.

One huge trend that has gained significant popularity in the last few years, especially with millennial and Gen-Z audiences – is the concept of competitive socializing. By combining socializing and a little healthy, friendly competition, bars can transform into vibrant and exciting venues that cater to a wide range of customers…from avid gamers to casual socializers.

If you are interested in capitalizing on this growing trend and turning your bar business into a local haven of competitive socializing – THE place on the block that brings in bigger business every day of the week – then we’ll tell you everything you need to know about getting started.

What is competitive socializing – and how can it benefit your bar?

Competitive socializing is really about bringing people together in a fun and engaging environment where they can compete against each other while also enjoying each other's company. Think of it as a way to combine the excitement of games and activities with the social aspect of going out to a bar.

In recent years, competitive socializing venues have been popping up all over the place. From indoor golf and axe throwing to escape rooms and arcade bars, these venues have gained a lot of popularity. People are looking for unique experiences that go beyond just sitting at a bar and having a drink. They want to have fun, challenge their friends, and create memorable moments.

Man planning mini-golf in camping Malmo.
Camping has combined mini golf with other competitive socializing offers to great effect.

By incorporating competitive socializing in your bar, you can tap into this growing trend and attract a whole new demographic of customers. Not only will you be offering something different and exciting, but you'll also be providing an experience that encourages people to stay longer, spend more money, and come back for more. It's a win-win situation for both you and your customers.

A group of women singing karaoke in Camping social entertainment bar.
Camping has both minigolf and a private karaoke room, that can be bundled together.

What to consider before putting together a competitive socializing venue?

When it comes to competitive socializing, the vibe is everything. Be sure to consider these steps before you make any big decisions.

Design a building layout or add-on that encourages interaction

To promote socializing and competition, you need a layout that encourages people to mingle and interact. Create communal areas, such as long tables or lounge spaces, where groups can gather and cheer each other on.

Karaoke room in O'leaerys, Vilnius.
Karaoke room at O'Learys, Vilnius

Avoid isolating game areas too much, as you want people to feel connected and part of the action. When selecting games and activities, consider the size of your space and your budget. You don't want to overcrowd the area, but you also don't want it to feel empty. Strike a balance that allows for comfortable gameplay without sacrificing the social aspect. Choose games that fit within your budget and offer a good return on investment.

Make it immersive

Adding themes and immersive experiences to your bar can take the competitive socializing experience to the next level. Whether it's a retro arcade theme or a tropical island paradise, let your imagination run wild. The more you can transport your customers to a different world, the more memorable and enjoyable their experience will be.

A man singing in a costume at The Melody Club.
The Melody Club, Gothenburg offers customers props to dive into the themes.

Considering demographics and target audience preferences

Knowing your target audience is crucial when deciding on games and activities. Are you targeting millennials and Gen-Zers who love video games, or are you catering to a more mature audience who enjoys classic bar games? Consider their preferences and demographics to make sure you offer experiences that will keep them coming back for more.

Two men at the bar of camping looking at their mini golf scores.
Camping mainly targets adults at their mini golf venue and offers a variety of beers and drinks.

What to consider after putting competitive socializing in your venue?

Create relevant web and social media profiles

In today's digital age, having a strong online presence is important for any business. When it comes to turning your bar into a competitive socializing venue, creating a compelling website, and an engaging social media presence is a must.

Invest in a user-friendly website that highlights your competitive gaming offerings, showcases your bar's unique atmosphere, and provides easy online registration for events and tournaments. Don't forget to create active and engaging social media profiles on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok to connect with your target audience and spread the word about your competitive socializing experiences.

Hire and train staff

In order to provide an exceptional experience, you’ll need to hire and train staff members who are passionate about gaming and understand the concept of competitive socializing.

Two men playing darts at a bar.

Look for individuals who not only have the necessary customer service skills but also have knowledge and enthusiasm for interactive gaming. During the training process, focus on educating your staff about the different games offered, the rules and regulations of tournaments, and techniques to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for all customers.

Cater your menu to your new entertainment venture

Food and drinks are an integral part of any bar experience. Take it up a notch by offering specialty cocktails and food options inspired by popular games. Get creative with names and ingredients, as these offerings not only provide a talking point for customers but also enhance the overall gaming atmosphere and add an extra layer of enjoyment.

Choose the right games and activities for your bar

There are countless games and activities you can incorporate into your bar to promote competitive socializing. Some popular competitive socializing options include darts, pool, ping pong, foosball, shuffleboard, video game tournaments, trivia nights, and even virtual reality experiences. Choose games that align with your target audience's interests and preferences.

Check out our full list of competitive socialising entertainment ideas and how to implement them in your venue here.

Axe-throwing area in boom battle
Boom Battle Bar, Oxford offers a combination of axe throwing and various other entertainment options.

And with that final point….

There you have it! Some competitive socializing entertainment options worth incorporating into your bar business. As you’ve seen, while there are plenty of ideas to consider, karaoke is always king. Visit Singa to learn more about adding karaoke to your setup.