Behold, the ultimate bar name generator!
Did you know that 4 out of 5 of the ‘Best Bar’ winners at the 2016 London Club and Bar Awards had names that were exactly 3 syllables? Coincidence? Perhaps. How about if we told you that this was also the case with 4 out of the 5 winners in 2015? Well then, it begins to sound like a trend. One that is seemingly quite effective.
Syllable count probably isn’t something you would have even thought about when picking a bar name, but apparently small considerations like that can make all the difference. Psychologically speaking, things like syllable count, imagery, spelling, or even the amount of vowel sounds in your name can all impact a customer’s a decision to drop by.
It is your responsibility to learn about what the general barlic are receptive to, so that’s why we’ve put together a resource tool to get those creative juices flowing, and teach you everything you need to know about naming a bar - from looking at some of the best and worst names around to some of the UK’s most successful chains.
Have a spin on Cluboid’s Bar Name Generator, and you may just find yourself a masterpiece. ‘Masterpiece’ also has 3 syllables. Just saying.
The word ‘bar’ is a contraction of the English word barrier. In the U.S., when the concept of selling drinks in a social setting came about, there was a distinct area in the saloon space that was set aside for the sale of alcohol and it was cordoned off using… you guessed it, a bar. The barrier was there to indicate the divide between the server and the patron. The seller and the sell-ee.
Over time, the word ‘bar’ has become a synecdoche for the section of the room where drinks were sold, and the term now encompasses the whole venue itself. After all, if you were to ask ‘Where might I get a drink?’ either in the 1800’s or in present day, the answer would still be the same. ‘At the bar.’
Currently in the U.K, there are 54 Vodka Revolutions, 52 All Bar Ones, 24 Walkabouts and 18 Be@Ones. Those statistics, however, pale in comparison when we note that there are nearly 80 individual Slug and Lettuces. The Stonegate Group in fact nearly doubled the amount of Slug and Lettuce outlets between 2000 and 2004 (from 33 to 56) and have continued to grow year on year ever since. Other bar chains with a significant presence across the U.K. include: Jamie’s Wine Bar, Belushi’s, The Grand Union, Dirty Martini, Simmon’s Bar and The London Cocktail Company (L.C.C.).
These 11 chains represent extremely stable giants of the bar and nightclub industry, so name-wise, we’d probably advocate steering clear of anything that runs the risk of any potential overlap. These babies aren’t going anywhere. Interestingly though, you may also notice that the 3 syllable rule applies to 7 of them.
Do choose something that will easily rank for SEO
SEO meaning Search Engine Optimisation. Since 91% of all Google searches never make it past the first page, it is important that you choose a name (and subsequent web domain) that will make it high up on page 1 of the searches for it. Go for a name which has little competition and isn’t similarly spelt to another popular bar or business nearby.
Do get witty with wordplay
Bars are all about letting your hair down, so if you can portray a sense of fun in your title, you’re giving yourself a huge advantage.
Do fabricate new words
If you can’t find the right vocab to channel the feeling that you’re looking for, make something up. Bars are less traditional than bars by default, so you have total free reign to do as you please.
Don’t forget to consider fonts
Typography can cause a lot of… confusion, shall we say. Depending on the style of your bar, you might want to look at how your potential title mocks up in a few different designs to avoid any issues. Colour also increases brand recognition by up to 80%, and 90% believe it factors into attracting new customers. Try your name out in a range of various, appropriate colours.
Don’t misrepresent yourself
Make sure your name identifies with your target demographic. Nothing good will come from tricking people through your doors. You’ll just end up with tonnes of bad press and no returned custom.
Don’t make it difficult to spell
Again, this can cause issues with web searches. Google is extremely intuitive and will only redirect a user to something similar sounding that is more established. If someone’s had an awesome night at your bar and then tries to track you down online afterwards - a hazy, alcohol impaired memory will make it hard enough to reassemble the letters in your name anyway. Short, memorable or symbolic names will stop people struggling to track you down.
We’ve compiled a list of 10 of the most original, distinctive and ingenious bar names that we’ve come up against during our time on the circuit: Here are our top 10 titles for brilliant bars across the world...
1 - The Stumble Inn, Kent
What can we say about this one? Well it’s playful, and of course witty. But what we thought was cleverest of all was how approachable it made the venue sound. The title uses an imperative (an instructive verb) to convince passers by to pop in, but it does it in such a subtle way that you’re likely to convince yourself it was your decision. Well played. We think we’re far more like to stumble out to be honest...
2 - No Fun, New York
This is also quite a smart move. If you enjoyed your time there: the name is ironic. If you didn’t: well, they tried to warn you. It also uses basic psychology to win us over, as we’re hardwired to respond to self-deprecation with an ‘oh don’t say that’ response. This is because we no longer find the thing/person threatening, so in turn judge it a lot less harshly. Think about it this way: how might you respond to a bar called ‘The best place you’ve ever been’? Probably with something like ‘Pssh. I don’t think so, mate.’
3 - Where it’s at, Texas
It unfortunately might not be open for business any more, but the name still remains a very clever way of making the venue synonymous with cool. If you heard about it on the grapevine, you might not even realise it was their name, and not someone’s personal opinion. ‘Where it’s at’ is making its own social proof. We are pack animals after all, and if someone else is seemingly vouching for something, we are much more likely to give it a try. It also implies that those that know about it are in the loop, making those that don’t automatically feel like outsiders. Very clever indeed.
4 - He’s Not Here, North Carolina
‘He’s not Here’ is obviously named after the age-old response given to a concerned spouse ringing the bar to look for her husband. We like this name as it’s humorous and acknowledges a certain tavern tradition but also tells us a lot about the style and tone of the venue. Its name implies that they’ve got your back and that everybody there might have something of a shared secret - they’re hiding. As we all know - secrets are very bonding, so in our minds, ‘He’s Not Here’ becomes something of a clubhouse where you can lie low for the night. A place to step away from reality, and meet others doing the same.
5 - Employees Only, New York
‘Employees Only’ feels a bit mischievous. This is because we’re used to only seeing this kind of signage on restricted access areas, so the fact that we’re being invited in gives the bar a feeling of inclusivity, like we’re seeing behind the curtain. It’s a bit like naming yourself ‘Kanye’s video wrap party’ or something with an ‘invite-only’ kind of prestige. We’re not supposed to be there, so naturally, we want to be.
6 - Worship Street Whistling Shop, London
It doesn’t exactly sound like the kind of place you might end up brawling with someone over a plate of chicken wings now, does it? This name sounds immediately pleasant and is full to the brim with positive imagery. It also manages to convey an air of class and old-timey style which fits perfectly with the Victorian theme and doesn’t come across poncey or unapproachable at all.
7 - The Ginstitute, London
This bar allows you to make and enjoy your own blend of Gin, so the name is a smart and pretty economical contraction of words that tell you exactly what you can expect from the bar. ‘Institution’ meaning educational and social organisation, and ‘Gin’ because… well because it’s their speciality.
8 - Tipsy McStaggers, Michigan
Irish themed sports bar, Tipsy McStaggers couldn’t possibly give you more from the title if they tried. This name not only indicates that the place is fun with a real sense of humour, but is also a lovely tip of the hat to their Irish theme.
9 - High Five, Tokyo
Cue hundreds of Borat impressions. From the earliest ages of comprehension, we have associated the high five with celebration. They actually release dopamine - the chemical that is released when we are excited or happy so association wise, ‘High Five’ couldn’t have done much better.
10 - Barbara, Kyiv
Barbara is a perfect example of a bar that considered its logo design before choosing its name. Barbara uses the term ‘Bar’ as its derivative, which means it can advertise ‘Bar bar’ in fibre optic lighting outside (as seen below), which will serve as something of a lighthouse to out of towners. There is certainly no getting lost in translation there. Smart.
Some of these places didn’t make it long on the circuit, but still definitely deserve a spot on this list for their sheer ‘are you kidding me’ factor. Others are still very much open for business, in spite of quite a questionable name choice. Here are 10 of the worst bar names we’ve encountered across the globe… For the record, this doesn’t mean we think the bar itself is a dive. Some of these names are just so bad, they have to good...
1 - Madam’s Organ, Washington D.C.
Okay, so it’s a blues bar so we see what they were going for with the piano link, but with an ambiguous title like that it sounds a little more like a cross-dressing hangout. There’s nothing wrong with that, except for the fact that as far as we can see- it isn’t one. Madam’s Organ is in fact a play on the name of the neighbourhood the bar sits in: Adams Morgan. We can’t help thinking that for an outsider doing a spot of Googling, there might be a bit of a confusion though.
2 - La Merde Lounge, Oregon
In branding, self-identification is extremely important, so calling yourself the sh*t saloon (the direct French translation and pronounced the same as ‘mierda’ in Spanish, and ‘merda’ in Portuguese) might cause a few tiny issues. Especially if you’re a bar that is trying to sell food. It’s important to do your research regarding translations to avoid a mishap like this!
3 - Big Hairy Juan’s, Arizona
This bizarrely titled bar is no longer serving but we just couldn’t leave it off our list. We suppose it does identify someone, presumably the owner, so there’s that. We just can’t help feeling like it sounds a little unhygienic. We know they say you’re not supposed to eat the nuts in a bar, but we don’t think we’d touch Big Hairy Juan’s ones with a barge pole. Or anything else for that matter.
4 - Skinny Dicks Halfway Inn, Alaska
We’re already stifling a giggle. We like that it has a sense of humour, but as a name, it’s a little on the vulgar side. It doesn’t strike us as somewhere you’d want to take your parents, let’s put it that way.
5 - The Commercial Bar & Hotel, Chester
Okay it’s not horrendous, offensive or even particularly unsavoury. Plus, you certainly couldn’t accuse it of false advertising. It does do what it says on the tin but it just feels more like an ad agency than trendy bar. As far as names go, this does the bare minimum. Plus it’s the weekend, we want to unwind not watch a business proposal. We don’t think this bar was positioned right at all.
6 - Ugly Tuna, Pennsylvania
We think these guys have gotten wise to the odd name choice as they’ve started going by U.T.T - The Ugly Tuna Tavern. We think there’s something a bit off with naming your venue after an unattractive fish, but maybe that’s just us...
7 - The Noose, Kansas
It’s usually not the best idea to associate your bar with something that is considered to be negative or perhaps controversial like, we don’t know... death? The Noose doesn’t seem to mind though. Talk about being a ‘last stop’ kind of bar.
8 - Bar:[ME], Bournemouth
Why not just go for a collection of symbols or morse code bleeps, Bar:[ME]? The name just looks extremely clunky and would cause nightmares for anyone trying to spell it online, and we’d imagine every Yelp review would spell it differently.
9 - The Money Shot, Chicago
This name is pretty trashy, not to mention degrading and well, pornographic. This definitely isn’t the kind of name that would appeal to women, so they’ve already isolated 50% of their clientele right there.
10 - Tiger Itchy Bum Bar, Bali
Well you’d certainly remember it, but with regards to imagery we’re not so sure if it’s the best combination of words. Do we think it was a potential ‘lost in translation’ situation? Either way, it sounds infectious and we think you should probably seek medical attention.