New Year’s Eve on Saturday not always cause for business celebration

Brett Menser, left, and Alex Reindel drove from Tipp City to shop the large beer selection at Jungle Jim’s International Market in Fairfield for New Year’s Eve supplies. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Brett Menser, left, and Alex Reindel drove from Tipp City to shop the large beer selection at Jungle Jim’s International Market in Fairfield for New Year’s Eve supplies. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Ohio State game, not New Year’s, will be focus for some bars.

Owners of Butler County bars and businesses have mixed thoughts on one of the most popular party nights of the year — New Year’s Eve — falling on a Saturday.

“We thrive on this,” said Phill Adams, the director of development at Jungle Jim’s International Market in Fairfield. “The excitement’s not the same when New Year’s Eve is on a weekday. Saturday’s a different experience because people tend to go out and do things on a Saturday anyway. This just adds to the excitement.”

The store expects to see large groups of families and friends filling the aisles of its store today and Saturday in search of items to create an enjoyable New Year’s Eve.

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“The stores build up differently going into a weekend holiday of any sort than a weekday holiday … but Christmas and New Year’s when they fall on a weekend? Wow. It’s really cool,” Adams said

But not all business owners are thrilled about the way this year’s calendar falls outs, eliminating the opportunity for weekend-like business on a weekday via the holiday.

Linda Moorman, co-owner of restaurant Murphy’s Landing in Middletown, said she and other area restaurateurs endured a sluggish Christmas Eve business last Saturday and that New Year’s Eve falling on a Saturday may mean more of the same.

“It’s had less people coming out because it’s traditionally their weekend,” Moorman said. “It’s just been really odd with both holidays falling on Saturday and Sunday … when people are already off. I think it’s taken its toll on the retail business and our restaurants.”

She’s betting that a $30-a-person dinner with a champagne toast at midnight combined with live music is enough to draw in customers.

Ohio State's appearance in Saturday's Fiesta Bowl is expected to help boost business at some local bars, owners told the Journal-News. The No. 3-ranked Buckeyes battle the No. 2 Clemson Tigers at 7 p.m. Saturday. And locally, crowds of Buckeye fans are expected to pack sports bars and restaurants to watch the College Football Playoff semifinal.

“We love when OSU is in a big game. It brings in a great crowd who are all looking to watch the game with fans,” said Brionna Webb, marketing manager for Dingle House Irish Pub & Grub in West Chester Twp.

The restaurant and bar is also anticipating an uptick in business with the holiday falling on a weekend night.

“We love when a holiday lands on the weekend because usually the party will last all weekend long,” Webb said. “We’re hoping for the party to roll right into Sunday morning for brunch, which starts at 10 a.m.”

Mary Burdsall, owner of Hamilton bar The Drink Tavern, plans to skip the usual DJ and a band combo and instead dole out Buckeye shots and giveaways while the game is in full swing followed by a champagne toast at midnight.

“As a sports bar, we’ll be cheering on the Buckeyes as we bring in the New Year,” Burdsall said.

The Hamilton bar owner said New Year’s Eve falling on a Saturday isn’t always ideal.

“Having a New Year’s Eve party during a Monday or Tuesday night would definitely help sales since those evenings can be slow for business,” she said.

Despite the way the calendar falls, Burdsall believes the Ohio State game will be good for early New Year’s Eve business.

“Especially if they win, customers will be ready to celebrate the victory and bring in the new year,” she said. “Either way, you just roll with it and hope for the best.”

Michelle Brown, chef proprietor of Jag’s Steak & Seafood in West Chester Twp., said restaurants and other business learn to take each year as it is.

“Saturday’s usually the worst day for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve to fall on. Next year it’s good because it (New Year’s Eve) falls out on Sunday and we’re usually closed on Sundays, so you kind of just take it year by year,” she said.

The restaurant aims to generate excitement Saturday night by offering a ticket-only “Passport Around the World” party that will offer guests cuisine and beverages reflecting the cities of New York, London, Venice, Paris, Munich, Rio, Tokyo and Sydney.

Jason Kutash, general manager of Funny Bone Comedy Club at Liberty Center, said its New Year's Eve offerings include a dinner package at early shows and party favors and a champagne toast for the later show. Hopefully those promotions provide compensation for not having shows during the week for both New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, he said.

“Knock on wood, people are typically looking to do anything with entertainment on a Saturday night regardless of whether it’s New Year’s or a regular Saturday,” he said. “Luckily, for the clubs, it doesn’t really negatively affect us either way.”