Imagine a customer sitting in your sparsely crowded bar. The mojito is good, the bartender is smiling, the snacks are crispy and the lighting is just perfect. The bar is airy and there is enough room to walk around without brushing shoulders with another customer. It’s a quiet Wednesday night and the vibe is setting in. Suddenly, the music in the background changes from classic Bach to cranky Justin Bieber. Well, you just put off your customers and made them resolve never to come back again!
The moment the music changed, the drink lost its taste, the bartender looked annoying, the snacks became boring and the overhead light started causing a headache to your guest. If there is one factor that can make or break a pleasant bar experience in no time, it is the ambiance. Many people choose a bar over drinking at home for this very reason. And the most important determinant of ambiance is music. The kind of music playing can heavily impact how patrons perceive the ambiance of a bar.
It is generally agreed that music affects our mood. Bar owners want their patrons to have a good time because that is what the drinking experience beckons. People want to enjoy themselves over a drink and forget about the realities of the outside world. The bar becomes their universe for the time being. This means that people are willing to be lost into something; taste, people, music.
Hence, the choice of music and the quality of it is at least as important as the interior design and behavior of the staff at your bar. It is one of the most undermined aspects of the bar experience, but those who understand this and act on it, reap the benefits by building a loyal customer base that’ll also recommend the spot to their friends. After all, we all want to share what we enjoy with others, especially good music.
Good music, however, is subjective, just like good wine. A lot of factors go into the making of a good playlist. Let’s look at the music selection first. The kind of music that a bar plays depends on two things, demographic of the crowd and the nature of the bar.
Demographic of the crowd includes the age group, gender and characteristics of the people who frequent the bar. If the bar sees footfalls from a lot of young people, then more upbeat and paced music could fit the bill, preferably hiphop or alternative rock. If on the other hand, the bar is a second home to a lot of professionals, then a relaxed and low tempo music would be perfect for an after office unwind, preferably classical or jazz.
Music selection also depends on the nature of the bar itself. What are the outlook and the ethos of the joint? Is it designed as an open, walk-in, peppy place or is it an around the corner chill spot? Are the interiors resplendent with colours or is it a sober affair (no pun intended)? Whether you go for pop or rap or funk all depends on the built and the purpose of the bar itself. Simply ask the question ‘How do we want to be perceived?’
Once we have the music selection in place, all that is left is playing with the technicalities of the how and the when.We have a few tips below that might give the ambience an edge and enable the staff to whistle while they work:
Top 4 Reasons as to Why Music is Important for a Bar:
1. Understand Music Psychology
Research from the Crossmodal Research Laboratory at the University of Oxford reveals that people associate higher notes with sweetness; and deeper, more resonant notes with bitterness.
Neel Burton, author of the Concise Guide to Wine and Blind Tasting, explains that appetite is in part a function of the parasympathetic nervous system. Loud music activates the nervous system thereby diminishing the appetite.
2. Avoid Online Playlists
It could be tempting to simply connect the bartender’s Soundcloud or Spotify account playlist and keep it rolling. But that is best avoided. The last thing we want is customers looking around clueless when the music takes sudden pauses due to Wifi or network disruption.
Music saved on MP3 devices or a DJ software are the safest bet. The best way to know if something is wrong with your playlist or the kind of music you play at your bar is to check your customers’ feedback and preferences in your restaurant software. This gives you a bird’s eye view of what the majority of the people have to say.
3. Sound Quality
There is no point in having the most classy, up-to-date music collection when the output of the speakers makes guests want to stuff their ears with French fries. Good speakers and accessories are an investment. A mediocre collection with clear sound beats over a good melody with harsh output any day.
It is best to not have a fixed set always. The playlist should consider the time of the day/night, mood of the guests, season and even popular music trends of the present. Bar owners ought to incorporate the feedback of patrons and be flexible with their choice of music. Ultimately it is serving the patrons and that is what the music should target at all times.
Music is an important aspect of life altogether and it is one of the most significant markers for any bar’s success. You need to remember that drinking and dancing is not punishable by law.
So, keep it pouring and let the music keep them grooving!