Surviving nightlife biz beyond Pike/Pine, Living Room gives itself a Groupon birthday gift

The Living Room Bar lives up to its name; stocked with couches, art, a full bar and cozy atmosphere on Olive Way and Bellevue Avenue. The bar will celebrate its one year anniversary on Halloween which the owners Monika Proffitt and Clay Roach are very much looking forward to. Recently, The Living Room celebrated being featured on Groupon, one of a growing list of online services that allow people to purchase special gift certificates available for only a limited time.

“It has brought so many new people in, ” said Proffitt. That day Proffitt thought she’d be helping out a little, instead she ended up staying later due to the amount of customers she says came in. “It’s one in the morning and I finally sit down. This couple keeps leaning over and talking to me, I’m thinking ‘I’m so excited!’ Finally they say, ‘You know we live a block away from this place and it took Groupon to get us in here’. I thought ‘Wow!’ That’s just awesome.”

The Living Room’s Groupon deal gave buyers a $20 voucher for $9. The deal was available for one day in August. 665 of the vouchers were purchased.

“I thought if someone lived a block away they probably would have stopped in by now and sometimes that’s just not true,” said Proffitt. “Sometimes it takes Groupon to get people [to come in]. We just want to get the word out.”

Being off the beaten path in the former East Olive Way home of the now out-of-business Anne Bonny seemed like a dilemma at first for The Living Room but hosting events Show and Tell and a Trivia Night have also helped business, the owners say. Show and Tel allows a group of guest DJs to bring in music of their choice to share with everyone.

This month, the bar is adding a full food menu curated by Garrett Wolotka, a entrepreneurial chef. Food options will include tapas, entrees and catering events from his own business inside The Living Room.

In the beginning of August, The Living Room debuted their first artist for Capitol Hill Blitz Artwalk. “People came, they enjoyed it, it’s good for me and ended up being a good thing for [the artist] too,” said Proffitt. She is referring to her mission in regards to treating the artist (and employees) in a fair way, it speaks depth for modern business and art. Their first artist installment was a roaring success and The Living Room plans on continuing participation in Blitz. For more information on upcoming artists, follow the link. (http://www.thelivingroombar.com/art/)

One knock on promotion services like Groupon is that it can create a low quality customer base of people who float from deal to deal and won’t ever come back. While not the surest measure of customer loyalty, it does seem like the Living Room’s recent promotions have helped sway positive sentiment. This chart of the bar’s Yelp recent review trends looks like a 1990s dot com era stock.

Source: Yelp

By the way, you can leave your thoughts on the Living Room here in the CHS Reviews.

Beyond the promotions, Proffitt said she believes in integrating a great atmosphere, work environment, art, food and drinks into the customer and employees bar experience. A great reminder of this is a saying listed on their receipts, “We like you,” which is apparent when talking to Proffitt and watching her interact with customers. “My home is your home. Come on in,” said Proffitt smiling.

Currently Proffitt said they are planning a big party for their one year anniversary which may include a movie night, a DJ, a birthday celebration and events throughout the week. And, if you’re lucky, maybe another group buying deal.

4 thoughts on “Surviving nightlife biz beyond Pike/Pine, Living Room gives itself a Groupon birthday gift

  1. Two big problems I found when we used a competitor deal site. We had a restriction on the deal of no booze and that pissed the deal buyers off. The second is like any promotion but even worse with these services. Just because they come in for a deal doesn’t mean they’ll ever come back.

  2. I love these deals, but, as a consumer I find the restrictions to be a bit much.

    Some are for lunch only, fine if near the job.

    Some are for certain days, well, do you want me to try the place or not?

    Some are just food, but that just gets complicated. The dollar total should be the only game.

    The one thing the coupons do is get you a great deal, no doubt. Frugal and smart – extending your eating money.

  3. I hate the living room. It’s expensive, uncomfortable, and a poor setup. The bartenders don’t know how to make drinks properly. I ordered a Manhattan and it was made with dry vermouth and an olive. I’ve wasted enough money and there are far better bars out there.

  4. Ignoring any additional Groupon charges, the flat 45% discount on each voucher means their cost of sale $(20 – 9) x 665 = $7315 was 120% of the actual voucher sales $9 x 665 = $5985

    Talking in traditional promotional terms, they spent $7315 on promoting a single day, and got $5985 out of it, assuming only 665 turned up that day

    Could there have been more economical ways of doing this?