Demand for Experiential Bars to Add Sparkle in the On Premise this Christmas

With the holiday season approaching, CGA by NIQ’s 2023 Channel Strategy Study for the US On Premise takes a closer look how consumers proactively seek ways to bond with their loved ones and friends during the holidays.
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20% of On Premise consumers typically visit experiential bars, 2pp (percentage points) higher than in 2022, with the highest volume visitation amongst 35-54 year olds (46%) and 21-34 year olds (42%).


The report reveals that experience-led channels represent a huge opportunity for brands to win amongst those highly engaged with the On Premise – 66% of experiential bargoers visit monthly, and 42% visit weekly. Additionally, almost two thirds of weekly visitors to this channel order both food and drinks, or just drinks, outpacing consumers making weekly visits to other types of venues.


As consumers most commonly visit with groups of friends and/or a spouse or partner, it’s a Santa-approved opportunity for brands to align with groups of merrymakers, by offering group serves and deals. There’s a specific window to target cocktail drinkers with these group offerings as 72% (+10pp vs consumer average) are most likely to visit with friends.


Consumption levels of RTDs (24%) and hard seltzers (23%) are highest in experiential bars, making the experiential bar space a crucial channel for suppliers looking to capitalize in these categories, as well as understanding how to meet the needs of these consumers.


So then, what of the wide variety of experiential bar types that are seeing engagement? Karaoke bars and comedy clubs are most popular, with 43% and 40% of consumers respectively saying they’re likely to visit in the next 12 months. This presents a range of avenues for brands and suppliers to give holiday cheer.


After all, while almost 3 in 5 channel visitors say they usually know what category they’ll drink before they’ve arrived at a venue, nearly 7 in 10 of these say they could change their drink decision when they’re ordering in an experiential bar. This reflects enticing potential to influence visitors with on-site promotions and marketing collateral, bartender incentives, and prominence on menus, ensuring the holidays are merry and bright.


Matthew Crompton, Regional Director – Americas said: “Consumers are increasingly looking for fun activities and experiences in the On Premise, which is reflected in the continued prevalence of experiential venues. At Christmas, there’s a double whammy of partygoers having nights out with colleagues, plus people getting together with friends and family both before and after the big day. It’s an unmissable opportunity for brands to explore more deeply what elements create the ideal experience for consumers in the channel, and potential for targeted promotions, such as the range of options available, and serve preferences.”


CGA by NIQ’s Channel Strategy report 2023 offers a comprehensive overview of On Premise channels. It uncovers profiles of interest, information around consumer visitation, and their consumption behaviors within the channel – key to informing successful On Premise strategies.


Download more information here and contact Matthew Crompton for more information at

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