Fun outdoor beer garden event ideas

A beer garden is a great asset at any time, but especially during 2020, when keeping COVID-secure means encouraging customers to space further apart and avoid enclosed areas with poor ventilation.

At the same time, there is a growing appetite for entertainment. Some attempts to create COVID-secure drive-in festivals have been unable to go ahead – but pubs that have reopened for business are in a perfect place to fill that gap.

Here are four fun outdoor beer garden event ideas to help you maximise your revenues and keep your regulars entertained throughout the summer months and beyond.

1. Karaoke Night

Pipe your pub jukebox through your outdoor speakers and set up a beer garden karaoke night by having your punters sing along with their favourite tunes.

Sound Leisure VenueHub digital jukeboxes come complete with a microphone jack and a karaoke mode that mixes the audio from the microphone with the song that’s playing, allowing you to turn your pub jukebox into a karaoke machine in seconds.

2. Pub Quiz or Bingo

VenueHub jukeboxes also have built-in pub quiz and bingo modes with professionally recorded audio, so again, you can host entertainment at the drop of a hat.

Just make sure your jukebox audio can be heard through your outdoor speakers, if you want to hold beer garden bingo or open-air quizzing.

3. Open-Air Art Exhibitions

More and more independent venues feature works by local artists as a way to regularly change their decor and give the artist a showcase to boost their sales.

An outdoor art exhibition could be a good option for your beer garden, with work displayed spaced out around the edge and available for customers to buy and take home.

Keep delicate artworks in display cases or undercover, and be ready to move them indoors if heavy weather sets in.

4. Fresh Air Festivals

A full-scale festival might be ambitious for the typical beer garden, but you could invite a local solo artist to perform an acoustic set to a socially distanced audience.

Again, if you have a pub jukebox with speakers throughout your premises, you might simply need to plug into the microphone jack for an instant fresh air festival that can be heard at the bar too – the best of both worlds so your punters don’t miss out while they’re buying a beer.

At Manco Automatics we continue to offer diverse entertainment for your pub, including fruit machines, jukeboxes and pub pool tables. Contact us by calling 0161 870 7777 or send us an email at for more information.

Preparing fruit machines for pubs, clubs and hotels for reopening

As more hospitality venues start to open back up, there are some simple steps you can take to prepare fruit machines for pubs, clubs and hotels for the long-term future of social distancing.

Nobody knows exactly how long we will need to live in a ‘COVID-secure’ way, but some of the more routine measures could remain in effect until a vaccine or cure is discovered.

The steps outlined below can help you to minimise the disruption for your guests, especially when it comes to having fruit machines for pubs, clubs and hotels available for them to play in a safe and COVID-secure fashion.

1. Location

The location of your fruit machine can have a natural effect on how easy it is for players to maintain social distancing.

It has always been common to place fruit machines against a far wall or in an otherwise awkward corner, to make more efficient use of space where you can’t fit a table.

Now, doing this brings the added advantage of keeping your fruit machine away from other customers, to put some distance – ideally more than two metres – between the machine and the nearest table or chairs.

2. Cleaning

Regular cleaning of surfaces is important to prevent the spread of COVID-19. On a fruit machine, that means particular focus on the parts of the machine that players touch, such as the buttons and the win tray.

You should also think about sanitising the vertical glass parts of the machine more often, especially any touchscreen elements or any area that is normally in front of the player’s face.

Here at Manco, we offer to fit sanitisation stations to the machines that we supply to our customers with the message, “Please sanitise before and after use” for added safety measures.

3. Distance

It’s not just the location of your machines that matters. If you have several pub fruit machines, make sure they are positioned with some distance between them.

Again, this is simply a way to keep players naturally spaced further apart – the more you can do without your customers having to think about it, the better your chances of keeping a COVID-secure venue.

4. Maintenance

Keeping your pub fruit machines well maintained can avoid unnecessary face-to-face discussions with customers, so please let us know if you have a machine in need of a service and we can arrange an engineer visit at an appropriate time.

5. Other Venues

Finally, keep in mind that these tips can apply differently in different venues. For example, a hotel fruit machine might be in a location with very little footfall, in which case it could be easier to maintain social distancing between the player and other guests.

Always take each scenario on its own merits and look for the advantages of each machine’s location, as by playing to those natural strengths you can make things a lot easier for yourself and for your players too.

If you require maintenance checks for your fruit machines as you get ready to reopen, Manco Automatics have decades of experience in ensuring that your machines work at the peak of their ability. Call us on 0161 870 7777, or email and we’ll be available to help.

How will pubs and clubs reopen after lockdown?

There’s no denying that hospitality has been hit hard by the Coronavirus pandemic, but with pubs and clubs due to reopen from July 4th, there is some optimism that the sector will be able to bounce back relatively quickly.

Some challenges will remain for the medium term at least, but the recent shift from two metres of social distancing to ‘one metre plus’ means it’s much more feasible for pubs and clubs to open and operate in a profitable and, crucially, an economically sustainable way.

Here are some of the obstacles pubs and clubs will face, not only on day one but going forwards, as the industry looks to cater for customers who want to get back to a ‘new normal’ and enjoy some leisure time out of the house again.

Cash or card?

Contactless card payments have become standard in shops and supermarkets, as it’s better to avoid direct contact with surfaces – including PDQ keypads and handling cash.

However, many gaming machines are not allowed to accept card payments. Pubs and clubs should have plenty of coin ready for day one and beyond, including till floats and coin-op machines like fruit machines.

Remember different machines need different amounts of change – for example, fruit machines and quiz machines need to be ready to pay out prizes, whereas pool tables and jukeboxes do not.

Keep your distance

Social distancing will remain crucial for the foreseeable future, but the guidelines may change fairly often.

Ahead of the hospitality sector reopening on July 4th, the ‘two-metre rule’ was joined by ‘one metre plus’, which allows customers to be closer together if other mitigation measures are used.

That means avoiding direct face-to-face positions and using physical barriers like plastic or glass screens to separate different groups of customers.

Pubs and clubs can also control the movement of people around the premises, using methods like staggered arrival times, table service and careful management of how many people can use the bathrooms at any one time.

Bouncing back

Many parts of the economy will be looking to bounce back quickly, and after weeks of staying home, it’s likely many people will be yearning to get out of the house too.

For pubs, clubs and bars, that means there’s a huge opportunity to get revenues back to some kind of normal during the summer, combining drinks and food sales, gaming machines and any other revenue streams.

Spring was clearly a challenging time, but as the UK starts to emerge from lockdown, pubs and clubs that adapt to the changing social distancing guidelines can hopefully welcome regulars and newcomers alike, and start profitable trade once again.

If you require maintenance checks for your gaming machines as you get ready to reopen, here at Manco Automatics we take pride in working closely with all customers to ensure that their machines work at the peak of their ability. Call us on 0161 870 7777 and we’ll be available to help.

Tips on choosing the right sound system for you

A decent sound system can make a world of difference to the atmosphere in a pub, club or bar, as well as providing unobtrusive background noise in restaurants and communal areas in hotels.

Choosing a sound system for a pub or hospitality establishment can feel like a challenge if you don’t know what you’re looking for – so here are some top tips on where to start.

1. Integrated entertainment

A pub sound system is more than just a set of speakers. Think about how you will play music, and whether you want any other entertainment integrated into your audio system.

For example, a digital pub jukebox can play songs chosen by customers through speakers located throughout your premises, adding a valuable revenue stream.

But it can also go beyond that, by showing music videos on screens and offering other entertainment, like automated pub quizzes.

2. Surround sound

Surround sound can enhance the listening experience, but it’s important to think about speaker placement.

If you use a conventional surround sound speaker system in a pub or club, you risk having only the rear or ‘surround’ audio coming out of certain speakers.

For this reason, it’s important to make sure you get a professional sound system installed, with the speakers all balanced correctly in their various locations.

3. Playlist picks

The music you play matters, so have a selection of playlists ready to go, depending on who’s in your premises.

Digital pub jukeboxes now offer easy playlist control – you can ban inappropriate songs at times when children are around and raise the tempo later in the day.

4. Crystal clarity

A good sound system should offer clear audio, especially if you want to use it for voice content like pub quizzes and sports commentary.

This again affects the position of your speakers – make sure you don’t have any ‘dead zones’ where your sound system doesn’t reach, as you want full coverage throughout your premises.

5. Volume control

It should go without saying that volume control is important, but don’t forget about it once your sound system is installed.

Adjusting your music volume can have a huge impact on the ambiance in your establishment – a little lower in the daytime to allow conversation, and a little higher at night as the party groups arrive.

Just by changing the volume of the music and your choice of playlist, you can transform your premises in seconds, ready for the transition from daytime to night-time economy.

If you want to pump up the volume in your pub or hospitality establishment with a pub sound system or jukebox, then call Manco Automatics on 0161 870 7777 and we’ll be available to help.

How to maintain your pool table

Pool table maintenance is a matter of prevention rather than cure – the more you can do to avoid damage to a pub pool table, the more opportunity you’ll have to generate revenues by keeping it in regular use.

We know wear and tear is inevitable and in a busy pub, accidents do happen, so we’re always available to provide pool table maintenance and repair services when they’re needed.

But as far as possible, it’s best if you can keep your pool table in good condition on an ongoing basis, as this will make it more appealing to punters.

Here are some simple pool table maintenance tasks you can do in a matter of minutes, to keep yours looking great and working well.

1. Brush the baize

A quick brush can restore the appearance of the cloth on your pool table, with a light vacuum to pick up any bigger particles or crumbs.

Brush lightly in one direction, from the baulk end of the table (where the cue ball is dispensed) to the foot (where the black ball goes) once a week or whenever the table needs it.

Ironing should not be necessary on a pub pool table – it’s not a championship snooker table! – and we would suggest you avoid ironing the cloth unless you’re an expert.

2. Pool table covers

A good way to avoid dirt and debris on your pool table is to cover it when it’s not in use. Cloth covers protect against stains and spills, while a solid cover can give extra protection against impacts too.

Remember though, a pool table is not designed to be used as an ordinary table – so if you put a solid cover over it, still prevent people from using it to hold their food and drinks.

3. Legs and other wood parts

Any part of the table that is made of natural wood can be given a light polish if you want it to really shine.

Don’t spray polish directly on the table, as it shouldn’t come into contact with any non-wood parts – just apply it using a cloth and you should soon have sparkling pool table legs again.

4. Cue care

Finally, don’t neglect your pool cues, rests, triangle and balls, as they’re among the most important parts of the game.

Keep your cue tips straight and well-maintained, and provide plenty of chalk. Try to keep your balls together in matching sets too, especially if you have more than one pool table, as they may play slightly differently from different sets of balls.

For occasional pool table maintenance, such as replacing the cloth, redrawing the lines and dots, levelling the table or repairing the coin slot, just give Manco a call on 0161 870 7777 and we’ll send our experts out to take a look.