When you hear the word "sports bar," a certain image comes to mind, perhaps of a bar with a bunch of televisions, basic beers, and a menu featuring classic American options like burgers and pizza. There's definitely nothing wrong with the classic sports bar, except for the fact that there are so many of them! If you are planning on opening a sports bar, you'll do well to set yourself apart. Here are a few ways to make your sports bar stand out without completely deviating from the sports bar theme.
1. Create Specialized Versions of Dishes
At a sports bar, people are going to expect classic American bar food. They'll be a bit confused if they show up and find you serving dishes like ramen or pho. However, they will be pleasantly surprised if they show up and find items they expect, but prepared far better than expected.
Your goal should be to create fancy, super-awesome bar food. For example, you could offer a selection of four different burgers, made with grass-fed beef and cheese from a local dairy. Or you could offer a menu of personal pizzas, allowing each customer to choose their toppings. Keep the menu short so your chefs can really focus on making each dish well.
2. Choose a Unique Sport to Feature
It's unlikely that you'll survive as a sports bar without featuring at least one of the really popular sports: football, baseball, or basketball. But in addition to these big sports, you should pick a unique sport to play. Rugby, track and field, curling, figure skating, and speed skating are all good examples. In time, you will develop a niche crowd of fans who come just to watch this offbeat sport, and you won't have much competition.
3. Give the Staff Unique Uniforms
Giving your staff unique uniforms is a good way to make a name for yourself. You could require that they always wear jerseys to work. (Perhaps you could give them a stipend to buy jerseys.) You could require that they always wear a baseball hat, knee pads, or some other sports element. If your staff are easily recognizable based on their attire, your bar will also be easily recognizable.
The world needs more sports bars, but it needs sports bars that bring something new to the table. Use the ideas above to guide you, and above all else, don't hesitate to get creative.