Songs can be music to a publican’s ears

Live music can increase footfall and boost bar takings, as Graeme Murray reports

Live music is an increasingly popular – and lucrative – means of attracting customers into licensed premises.

Operators contacted by SLTN said putting on live acts helps increase footfall and encourages customers to stay in the premises longer, boosting bar takings in the process.

• Clarks on Lindsay Street in Dundee has made music one of its main selling points

Independently-owned Dundee bar Clarks on Lindsay Street has made live entertainment one of its main selling points. The venue stages music four nights a week with a variety of different bands and artists attracting a broad customer base.

The 250-capacity outlet has its own Pre-Production Club which promotes up and coming bands and acoustic gigs by better-known artists. These take place on Wednesday and Thursday nights and are aimed at “music lovers”.

Clarks on Lindsay Street owner Scott Clark said weekend nights help fund the remainder of the live music nights at the venue.

“Friday and Saturday nights are the nights which pay the rent and support Sundays and Thursdays,” he told SLTN. “On Sunday afternoon we have a jazz session, but there’s not a lot of money in it for us or the musicians.”

The bar also runs a Sunday Song Club hosted by different guests every week.

Clark said this was introduced in an effort to set Clarks apart from a proliferation of open mic nights.

He said it has been successful at raising the standard and attracting a regular clientele of music fans.

“We tried to steer clear of calling it an open mic night and raise the standard,” he said.

The bar has attracted no shortage of talented artists and is popular with local musicians.

But Clark said it’s still the big weekend nights which attract the crowds and boost the bar’s income.

He added: “Sunday and Thursday are niche nights and there’s not a lot of money in it for us.

“It’s really Friday and Saturday when we make money.”

Another venue for which live music is a major focus is MacSorley’s Music Bar in Glasgow.

The Jamaica Street venue hosts live music throughout the week, including band nights on Tuesdays and Thursdays and open mic nights, which are said to be popular with acoustic performers. The venue’s upcoming entertainment is promoted through flyers and social media.

Chris Kelly, manager at the city centre bar, said: “We try to put on music six nights a week.

“I do some of the booking and we also have another promoter too.

“It’s predominately singer-songwriters at the open mic night on a Wednesday.

“Saturday kind of pays for everything if we have a band on.”