The Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show, held in Las Vegas every March, always provides a lively look into what’s trending in bars and clubs. Here are our key takeaways from the 2019 event.
1) Axe throwing is still really a thing. It seemed there were more axe-throwing vendors than stripper poles at Nightclub & Bar this year.
You don’t need to be located in the back woods or a vacant lot to offer axe throwing at your bar; vendors such as Axe Pros Axe Throwing and Cutting Edge Axe Throwing Builders (Keep Calm and Axe On!) can provide fully contained setups for indoors.
But if you’ve seen the video of the woman in one of those cages who throws the axe and it bounces off the wall and comes flying back and nearly decapitates her, you might think twice about offering it.
2) Bartenders love Jon Taffer. Or at least, they want to see him, given the opportunity.
The Bar Rescue host did a keynote at Nightclub & Bar on March 26, and it was truly standing room only. (To learn more—including the top excuses that the owners of failing bars make—head, check out this story on Cheers.) What’s more, attendees lined up for to get their photo taken with Taffer in the exhibit hall like they were giving away free money.
3) Cannabis is king. From cannabis beer Two Roots to cannabis-infused vodka Humbolt to CBD-infused candy, soda and chocolate from Cannabinoid Creations, cannabis, CBD and hemp products were well represented.
Green Mist offered CBD-infused atomized alcohol shots delivered in a balloon. You can use cannabis or CBD with or without alcohol. “Effects are 4X STRONGER with alcohol,” boasts the signage at Green Mist’s booth. We’re not sure this is such a good thing, though.
4) Beverages are keeping it real. From ginger beer maker Brooklyn Crafted’s “Real Ingredients. Real Drinks,” to Ketel One’s Bontanical line of vodkas with “Real Botanticals. Fresh Taste,” brands want you to know that they’re the real deal. Wild Roots Spirits produces all-natural spirits “that strive to embody the true essence of the Northwest,” while rum giant Bacardi touted its “rum with natural flavors.”
The most “real” beverage there? Probably Topo Chico, the Mexican mineral water that bartenders love to work with.
5) Technology is taking over bar entertainment. No room for a DJ booth and/or no money for a DJ? Try a hologram!
Holocryptics provides hologram performances in a small space, requiring just 3.5 ft. depth and a 12 sq.-ft. total area. It uses holocryption technology and a customized close range projection system to provide a holographic performance with a 120-degree visual radius. So it really looks like you have a DJ, though song requesters might be disappointed.
We were also mesmerized by Richtech’s Interactive Floor System, which uses both hardware and software to add a dynamic and interactive element to a floor space.
One display in their booth looked just like a koi pond with live fish swimming around. Computers are taking the jobs of fish!