Nightclub & Bar Top 100

The Nation’s Leading Nightclubs, Bars and Lounges Survive and Thrive in a Tough Year

The nightclub and bar industry’s top operators continued to shine despite the nation’s economic woes last year. The 2010 Nightclub & Bar Top 100 reveals that at the upper echelon, this business is dynamic, vibrant and growing. To view the list, click here.

Nightclub & Bar Top 100 logo

Developed by Nightclub & Bar in partnership with Chicago-based hospitality market research firm Technomic Inc., the 2010 Top 100 list is the industry’s only ranking of leading nightclub, bar and lounge venues based on total revenue. Altogether, these 100 venues generated an estimated $1.2 billion in revenue in 2009.

Developed in Partnership with: Technomic logo

Sponsored by: Absolut Vodka logo

The research conducted to develop the list, which included survey responses from 600 concepts, revealed that 53 percent of operators reported sales growth in 2009 — the average increase was 3.5 percent — and 29 percent said revenues held steady with 2008 levels. Seven percent reported a decline. According to David Henkes, vice president and adult beverage practice leader at Technomic, the nightclub, bar and lounge segment outperformed the total on-premise industry in 2009. 

“The overall continued health of the top bars and nightclubs is evident in this year’s Top 100,” Henkes says. “The overwhelming presence of concepts in major markets attests to the need for a significant population and financial base to generate the high revenue levels we see here, but we’re also intrigued by the representation from a variety of markets around the country. Operators who are promoting and delivering an exceptional experience are succeeding.”

Las Vegas dominated the top tier, with newcomer XS displacing Tao to take the number one slot. Opened on Dec. 31, 2008, the lavish club in the Wynn Encore property set a new standard of opulence and sales. The revenues generated by the major Vegas clubs indicate revelers there frequent these venues even in tough times.

Nightlife remains a draw for consumers in other major cities as well. Numerous venues in Southern California markets, including Hollywood, Los Angeles and San Diego, also made the list, which is notable given the hit California’s economy took last year. All told, 20 Top 100 venues are in California. New York City contributed a cool dozen, with established venues Marquee and Pacha NYC leading the pack.

Ten nightclubs, bars and lounges in Miami also proved hot enough to rank among the Top 100, including the sizzling LIV and Mojito-driven Mango’s Tropical Café. Eight establishments in Texas make the list, four of them in Houston. Seven Chicago venues are among the 2010 Top 100.

On the drinks front, spirits generated the most sales among survey respondents’ venues; spirits and cocktails comprised 52 percent of total drink sales on average, beer an average 39 percent and wine 9 percent.

“Given the economy, you might have expected a shift away from spirits and from bottle service, but people like a specific type of drink when in these venues and it tends to be spirits-based,” says Henkes.

Entertainment was another important component, with 72 percent of survey respondents’ venues offering a dance floor in 2009 and 82 percent employing DJs; live entertainment was featured at 84 percent. Half offered gaming such as pool tables, video games and electronic jukeboxes.

VIP seating was a feature at 59 percent of venues surveyed, with bottle service available at 56 percent. Outdoor seating on patios, terraces and rooftop areas was offered at 66 percent. NCB

Top 100 Methodology

The 2010 Nightclub & Bar Top 100 list was developed by Nightclub & Bar in partnership with Technomic Inc. using primary and secondary research. An online survey of operators was conducted from Oct. 14 to Dec. 1, 2009, and yielded primary data from 600 nightclub, bar and lounge concepts, from which key information and insights were generated. Secondary research involving public databases and sources, scans of major metropolitan markets and industry resources provided additional data points. Total revenues are presented in ranges for calendar year 2009; specific ranking is determined by estimated midpoint of annual revenue. Concepts included can operate in no more than five locations and must be operating all 12 months of calendar 2009.

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