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Chalkboards: Back in black and white

Pub chalkboards are back. They might feel like a relic from our pre-social media age, but the humble chalkboard is experiencing a Lazarus-like return.

Chalkboards are a great way of attracting passing trade


Something to chalk about


The old saying goes that if you wait long enough, most things will eventually come back into fashion. And so it has proved with the return of the humble pub chalkboard.

It might have disappeared after everyone got excited about the emergence of the internet, but in reality it was taking some well-deserved time off. It was hibernating, readying itself to re-emerge bigger, better and more boisterous than before.

And it’s back with a new lease of life. Bars and pubs up and down the country have become reacquainted with the multi-faceted charms of the chalkboard. Today, chalkboards are not only a means of sharing information, they are humorous, knowledgeable and artistic. The best (and worst) are posted online, shared on social media and discussed on blogs. In short, they have become a memorable method of enticing people into your bar.

The chalkboard trend itself began with the coffee shop craze of the last decade. Independent coffee shops used chalkboards as a way of differentiating themselves from some of the more homogenous chains. Witty messages, thoughts for the day and literary quotes were a quick way of attaining personality and standing out from the crowd.

Adventurous bar managers soon followed suit. What followed was an array of artistic statements ranging from the surreal (Soup of the Day? Whiskey) to the scientific (Drink plenty of water in this heat. Beer is 97% water) and everything in between.


 Getting the message across


So — apart from demonstrating a biting sense of humour — what are the advantages of letting your mind run riot on a chalkboard? For starters, it lets your customers, and potential customers, know that you are open. It shows you are welcoming and friendly. It can also communicate simple pieces of information (promotions, events, food specials, quizzes) in a timely and handy fashion. Finally, and arguably most importantly, it demonstrates that you care about your community and want to play a pivotal role in its wellbeing.

Communicating in this way is crucial when it comes to detailing what football matches, rugby games or other sporting fixtures you’re showing in your venue. Not everyone gets their information from social media channels. If your bar advertises what sports are on that day/week, locals know that your pub is the place to come. It brings your bar alive and makes it authentic, with an ever-changing roster of events on for all of your neighbourhood to enjoy. When combined with humour like this Luis Suarez-themed gag and relevant local information it can make for a killer combination. It’s cheap too — especially for direct marketing.


Easy to manage


The ease of maintaining the chalkboard means that messages shouldn’t become outdated or forgotten. Faded messages can suggest failings elsewhere in your venue.

The best and most imaginative signs become talking pieces — either online and viral or in through word of mouth in the local community. Chalkboards help a bar stand out from the crowd.

And when used alongside a considered online offering and in conjunction with BT Sport banners your customers will always know that you’re open for business.

So what are you waiting for? Knowledge is power, so get outside, share your bar’s information and start chalking!