I just bought a company that basically provides events and marketing ideas to bars in Ann Arbor to try to pack the bars on Sunday-Thursday nights. What we already have is Trivia Night every Wednesday which packs the bar to where there's a line out the door on Wednesday nights, and also Bottomless Thursday where you buy a cup for $10 and get unlimited Dos Equis from 9-close.
I'm wondering if you guys have any ideas that you've seen work on other campuses, or anything that you think could work to drive up traffic on weeknights.
Some things I've seen around the University of Minnesota:
Beer Pong Nights/Tournaments With some sort of trophy to the winners, something that the winners can keep and brag to other people/friends about winning the tourney etc
Bladder Buster: A bar that does this has a bar upstairs and the only bathrooms down stairs, 25-30$ gets the group of 4 unlimited cheap beer until someone in the group has to go down stairs to use the bathroom
Karaoke night is pretty big at one of the bars around here, college kids want to act like some singing superstar
Ladies nights are huge also, the ladies drink free beer/rails from 9-11 or something which brings out the ladies which in turns brings out the guys and packs the bar
Simply having cheap drinks can also boost traffic a lot one of the most popular bars has 1.50 beers/rails from 9-12 several nights a week. College students are cheap, they like good deals
Here in New Zealand we have this event called pub poker in various bars around the country. These bars agree to these 'pub poker' coordinators to host free poker tornaments within the bar, and the coordinator provides chips and poker table tops aswel as running the event (announcing blind levels, registering players, assisting problems etc.) this is held at these certain bars one day of the week, the city im in has it at atleast one diferent venue everyday.
The event is free to enter so its more attractive to get people into the door, and if you buy a drink/snack/meal whilst playing you get additional chips. you can also enter a raffle and win more chips as a prize. This is how they get money to fund the event and makes it worthwhile for the bar to accomadate. Winners of each event win a NZ$50 bar tab and get points that are put up on a leaderboard for the venue and region as well as their national status.
This mostly just attracts people who want to have a bit of easy-going fun after work and is nothing too serious especially after a greater interest in poker over the years.
in the UK what quite a few of the studenty bars do is contact the uni society heads and bribe them to set up socials at their bars - works really well if you get the right society on board. Generally they just offer discounted drink, free shots and pay the committee people like £1 a head.