Think Outside the Bar


Happy hour is a pretty common “theme” that works for a range of events. Happy hour says: you can show up right after work without a hard start time and, most importantly, there will be drinks. This works well for a charity hosting a fundraiser or “friend-raiser”, looking to stay connected with their supporters. It works for a networking event, in almost any industry. The list goes on. But hosting a happy hour doesn’t mean you need to scout out bars. If you lack venue connections, chances are you’re not going to get the deal you deserve. And even if you do, is the bar atmosphere really ideal?

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If you’re open minded and looking to move away from the standard happy hour experience, we have some inspiration for you. We host a Happy Hour Showcase every Wednesday at our co-working space, AlleyNYC. The event is mostly networking and drinking, but we also give 2 emerging startups the chance to informally present their idea to the crowd, get some feedback, and answer some questions. We decided to host the event in the cafe lounge area of AlleyNYC because we wanted a screen to for quick presentations, the ability to adjust the music and generally have more control over the space.

But couldn’t this apply to a range of other happy hour events? At almost every charity happy hour hosted through the SquadUP platform, the idea has been to get current and potential supporters in a room and convey a relatable story to make people feel more attached to the cause. This often means the hosts will go around chatting up guests individually and later give a toast or presentation.

Networking events for business are similar in that the focus is on being able to connect and have real conversations.

Not only do these events work well in a co-working space, but they actually want to attract these types of events to their space. These spaces grow by creating a community and adding value for their members. If they can say that by being a part of the space you have access to charity and networking events, that’s a clear value add. Because of this you can often get a much better deal than a private room at a bar. They may even give you an area to host your event for free in order to attract new faces to their co-working space.

The real kicker is you get to avoid inflated open bar prices and $10+ mixed drinks. Not only is it cheaper to handle the drinks yourself, but with most events you won’t even have to do that. There are countless companies that would love to get their product in front of 50 techies or 100 charitable young professionals. If you have an audience, somebody out there is targeting them.

If done correctly, you can have a better and cheaper, if not free, atmosphere for your event with sponsored drinks.

Got an event that you think fits the bill but don’t know where to start? Reach out to us @SquadUP and we’d be happy to help.


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