When it comes to bar trends, this year is going to be an exciting one. With many bars reopening their doors after the pandemic, owners are finding new and exciting ways to draw customers in and offer quality cocktails that go above and beyond the norm. That’s why Total Food Service wanted to highlight some of the top bar trends in 2023 here to offer you some inspiration for your bar or restaurant.
8 Top Bar Trends to Look Out for in 2023
More Activities & Live Events
Live events have always been a draw for bars, but this year many are ramping them up and offering new and exciting activities and live events for patrons. Of course, games like darts, cards, and pool have always been bar room staples but don’t be surprised if this year you find everything from axe throwing to cornhole at your local watering hole. Many bar owners are also adding events and activities to their schedule each night like open-mics, musical acts, stand-up comedy, and more.
With cannabis restrictions being reduced across the nation, many bars are creating unique CBD-infused cocktails to their menu to add an extra draw. It’s important to note that CDB, also known as cannabidiol, although derived from the cannabis plant is non-habit-forming and studies have shown it offers a host of health benefits. That’s why many bars and restaurants are adding beverage options to their menu, such as CBD-infused cold-brew coffee, tea, and cocktails.
Low-Alcohol & Non-Alcoholic Drinks
With many more bar patrons moving toward healthier lifestyles, they’re also choosing to limit their alcohol intake, causing restauranteurs and bar owners to develop unique non-alcoholic and low-alcohol menu offerings. Such drinks have been steadily growing in popularity over the past years and are expected to continue. Often, non-alcoholic beverages will contain no more than 0.5% alcohol while low-alcoholic beverages range from 0.5-1.2%.
Self-serve beverages have been around for a while but until recently, haven’t found their way into the barroom setting. However, this year that’s expected to change. These days, patrons want more control over what they drink, and for busier bars, self-serve options can help reduce the wait times for ordering new drinks. That’s why many have installed new equipment such as wine dispensers and beer walls where guests can select their own pints, and even alcoholic slushy machines to keep their offerings innovative and efficient.
With many changing to a diet with an emphasis on probiotics and fermentation, there’s been a rise in fermented alcoholic drinks. Many bars are experimenting with creating new cocktails that use the fermentation process, such as hard kombucha, which contains an extra level of alcohol while still boasting many of the same nutritional properties as traditional kombucha.
The “cocktail-in-a-can” trend has been growing for years and these days, many bars offer a range of ready-to-drink cocktails in addition to their more traditional offerings like beers and wines. Not only do these cocktails save bartenders and staff time from searching for ingredients to mixing drinks, but ready-to-drink cocktails also provide a level of quality that’s exactly the same every time. They’re perfectly proportioned so there’s no sacrificing quality for convenience.
Pink drinks, especially pink gin, have been around for decades. However, pink cocktails are growing in popularity these days as bar patrons search for something a little more unique than their average beverage. Many distilleries are taking inspiration from the famous pink gin and creating pink drinks of their own including vodka, rum, and other signature liquors.
Mezcal & Tequila
Both tequila and mezcal have long been a down-south favorite. But these days, more bars than ever are adding agave-inspired cocktails to their menu due to the rising popularity of Mexican food. There’s also been an increase in high-quality agave spirits in the market that has made making such drinks more affordable and easily accessible. Bars are offering everything from paired Tex-Mex meals with tequila to special tastings to bring more adventurous customers through the doors.
Contact us today for more 2023 bar trends and industry insight!
Total Food Service has been the go-to site and magazine for the foodservice and hospitality industry since 1990, serving restaurant operators, bar owners, chefs, dealers, consultants, and foodservice equipment suppliers. Our monthly print and digital issues cover every aspect of the food industry, featuring exclusive interviews, product reviews, all of today’s latest trends, and much more.