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How to Make a Sports Bar Menu Design With Examples (Free Template)

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Maddie RocklinAuthor

Cheers erupt in the air, beer sloshes in pints excitedly carried through the crowd, nachos are plentiful across the tables, and your guests couldn’t be happier. You can see the vision – you’ve opened the sports bar of your dreams and it is thriving. 

Before this dream can become a reality, however, there’s one crucial component you’ll need to take care of: creating your menu.

Sports Bar Menu Design Best Practices

Your menu is so much more than just a list of items. It’s a tool that plays a major role in determining your guests’ experiences. It’s a chance to engage your customers, influence their behavior, and drive business. And it’s an opportunity for you to communicate your brand and your sports bar’s identity.

These next 10 steps, as well as resources like these menu design best practices, will cover everything you need to know – from your colors, design, composition, and layout, to prices, item descriptions, and visual components, printed and digital options, and more – to design the perfect menu for your sports bar.

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How to Make a Sports Bar Menu

Write out all menu items 

To get started, you’ll want to make a list of all of the items you’re planning to include on your menu. Think of this as your foundation – as we move through the rest of the steps in this post, we’ll refer back to this first step to determine components like your item prices and descriptions, menu layout and composition, and more.

Anything that you’re planning to sell at your sports bar should go on this list – appetizers, entrees, sides, snacks, add-ons, desserts, drinks, beer, wine, cocktails, you name it. If customers can buy it, and if you can generate revenue from it, add it to the Excel sheet, Google document, notebook, or whatever tool you’re using to keep track of your items.

Categorize menu items

Now that you’ve listed all of your menu items out, it’s time to organize them. The categories you create for your items will determine, in large part, your menu layout and composition, so think about what approach makes the most sense for you and your sports bar. Will you sort by course, with categories for appetizers, entrees, and desserts? Or will you opt for item types, with organizing by sandwiches, salads, pizza, etc? Maybe you’ll include a section at the top for your most popular items or staff picks. It’ll be helpful to think about how many different sections you want to include on your menu and how much space you want each one to take up, to make sure you’re categorizing your menu in a way that is intuitive and accessible for your customers from the start.

Resources like this menu engineering worksheet and these sports bar menu templates can also be great to explore at this stage of your menu creation journey. 

Set menu prices

Now, it’s time to calculate your menu item prices. While the cost of the items on your menu will, to some extent, be based on the unique experience you’re able to offer your guests when they  step foot inside your sports bar, there are some universal questions that can be helpful to ask yourself as you determine what to charge for your services and goods:

  • Who is your target audience? What kind of customer are you trying to reach?
  • What price range will be accessible and sustainable for both that customer and your business model?
  • What is your competitive landscape? What do other sports bars near you charge, and how can you offer more competitive prices – or higher quality service?
  • What profit margin will you have to make sure these prices help you hit to cover the costs you’re on the hook for, including rent, utilities, staff compensation and benefits, inventory, maintenance, and more?
  • What adds value to your menu items? How are you factoring in the experience of your staff, the quality of your products, and where you’re sourcing them from?

If you need a little extra support, resources like this menu engineering course and this menu pricing strategy guide are also great options to explore. great tools to help you nail down your menu prices.

Create menu descriptions

Now that you know what you’re selling and for how much, it’s time to think about how you want to communicate what it is that you’re selling and why your customers should buy it.

The way you describe the items on your menu will influence how your customers engage with them, how they decide on what they want to order – and, ultimately, how they put money into your business, so it’s important to take your time thinking through this step. Will you take a funny or serious tone? Include lengthy narrative descriptions or offer a simple list of ingredients? Will you indicate which items are your most popular or staff favorites, as a way of building trust and rapport with your customers? How will you convey potential allergies or dietary restrictions? 

While there are many possible approaches to take, starting by gathering the bare minimum information your customers would need to know to place their order, and then deciding whether/how to build your descriptions out from there can be a great course of action. Because the language you use to describe your items is so important, this could also be a step where you bring in a copywriter, to help nail down the best approach for your sports bar.

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Menu Engineering Worksheet

Use this menu engineering worksheet, complete with intricate menu engineering formulas, to determine areas of strength and weakness in your restaurant's menu.

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Decide on a menu color scheme

Color is also an important tool for communicating your sports bar’s identity to your target audience, and maintaining consistency across your brand materials – from your logos to your website, to your physical establishment, your menus, and more – is critical for fostering brand recognition, building customer trust, and getting your sports bar to stand out from its competition.

If you already have a brand kit, that’s great! Incorporating your existing color scheme into your menu design opens up amazing creative potential. If not, don’t worry – that’s what this step is for! Take your time exploring different color options and combinations to find what best represents you and your business. If you’re in need of a place to start, resources like Chron’s The Psychology of Colors for Restaurant Designs, Adobe Color CC (color wheel tool), ColorDot (color palette tool), and ColRD (color inspiration) offer some great color inspiration. 

Pro-tip: this is also a good stage to start looking into printing costs to determine how much the colors you choose will need to be factored into your budget. For example, black and white printing tends to be less expensive than color, so if you’re planning to print a large number of copies, now is a good time to begin exploring different printing services, what they offer, and for how much.

Design your sports bar menu 

As we move on to the design of your sports bar menu, keep in mind that it’s totally okay to bring in outside support if needed (and if budget allows). A graphic designer can be a great addition to your process, adding an expert, professional touch to your template.

If you’re committed to building your menu from scratch on your own, there are also plenty of resources to help you do so. Canva and Adobe Suite provide accessible, helpful graphic design tools and capabilities, and menu design templates like these are also great to reference and utilize in your design process. For more menu design inspiration, sites like Pinterest, Instagram, TikTok, and other social media sites are also great to check out – and for additional guidance about this step in general, take a look at our menu engineering course’s section on menu design and these menu design best practices.

Sports Bar Menu Photos 

Incorporating photos or other visual assets into your menu can be a great way to add value to your design and engage your customers. If you’re able to get high-quality, well-shot photos of your products, having them available for your guests to preview could help influence customer behavior and drive business. Just make sure the photos are indeed up to par – sometimes because low-quality, poorly-shot images indicate such a lack of care and can leave a bad impression on your customers, it can be better to go with no images at all than subpar options. If you want to add in some visuals, but you’re not feeling the photo route, another option is to incorporate illustrations or other graphics that match the vibe and energy of your brand. 

You can also always work on establishing a strong social media presence, to get images of what your sports bar can offer in front of your potential customers. Sites like Instagram and Tik Tok can be great tools to both share mouthwatering visuals of your food and drinks and engage your guests by encouraging them to post about their experience and tag your account. 

Choose Menu Fonts, Spacing, and Composition

The last components of your menu design that we’ll cover are your fonts, your spacing, and your composition. All of these play a role in influencing how your guests will experience your menu. Think about the difference in tone and energy that a playful, artistic font will convey vs. simple block text. Think about how the space between and within your sections can be used to make your menu feel more crowded or more accessible and easy to follow. Think about where you position your visual assets and how many you choose to incorporate, and how this impacts the flow of your design.

Don’t be afraid to try out different options – swap in a variety of fonts, move your sections around on the page, test our different visuals to find what works best for you and your sports bar.

Select the final menu layout

Once you have those different options, it’s time to choose your final menu design layout! This is a great step to bring in some additional perspective to help you nail down what direction to take your menu in – tap your network of friends, family, sports bar staff, and other trusted stakeholders and get a sense of which option resonates most with them. Take feedback, incorporate any changes, and make your final selection.

Proofread and print your menu 

Before you send that final design selection off to the printers, it’s very important that you proofread your menu. Like, really closely. Any typos or errors are totally preventable mistakes that have the potential to undermine customer trust and harm your business, so take the time you need to make sure you’re catching any now.

Once you’ve given your menu a close read and feel confident in your whole design, it’s off to the printers – congrats! Check out spots like Staples, Vistaprint, PsPrint, or PrintPlace, or do your own research into what printing service best meets your sports bar menu needs. Championship level, first-round draft pick-quality menu here we come.

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Menu Engineering Course

Take this course to make the most of your menu. Learn about menu psychology and design, managing your menu online, and adapting your menu to increase sales.

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Amazing sports bar menu examples

For some brewery menu inspiration, check out these examples.

Tiny’s Hi-Dive

With a bright red, green, and black color scheme and a funky mix of fonts against a cheetah print background, there’s a lot happening on the menu at the Chicago-themed Tiny’s Hi-Dive. But while it has the potential to feel overwhelming, its well-organized and labeled sections, with plenty of space between and within each, keep it light, fun, and perfectly balanced. Just like a Chicago dog at a Cubs game, yum.

Firestone Walker Brewing Company

Complementary fonts. Neutral-tones and an aesthetically pleasing color scheme. Strategic sizing, use of caps, and bold to differentiate between section titles, menu items, and descriptions. Vegan and vegetarian options clearly indicated. Dream team of a menu design at Firestone Walker.

LAces 

With a simple and consistent font, an aesthetically pleasing color scheme, and super well-organized and easy-to-browse menu sections, the menu at LAces covers every base. This one is a home run in my book. 

The Greyhound Bar and Grill

The Greyhound Bar and Grill offers a perfect example of how menus can utilize keys and symbols to communicate important information to their customers. For example, while the number of options for wings could be overwhelming, the Greyhound’s menu keeps it easy and accessible, organizing by bone-in, bone-out, or veggie options, number of wings, and including a color-coded key to indicate flavors and levels of spiciness. Different symbols and shapes also indicate gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options throughout. Truly a slam dunk.

Berkshire House

With a unique and consistent font throughout, Berkshire House’s menu is a great example of how your menu font can help communicate your sports bar’s brand and establish solid brand recognition. Well done – touchdown, Berkshire House.

Blue Dog Beer Tavern

With a neutral color scheme and simple font, the menu at Blue Dog Beer Tavern could be a bit basic – if not for the pup feature. Incorporating a couple of illustrations of a Very Good Dog adds just a bit of fun this menu needs to really hit it out of the park. 

Surly Goat Encino

The menu descriptions at Surly Goat are truly *chef’s kiss.* With clear, narrative paragraphs describing their beers, what’s in them, what they taste like, and more it’s no wonder this sports bar has such a strong fan base. 

Nickel Mine

I’m hungry just looking at the high-quality photos of wings, dips, salads, pizzas, and waffles on the menu at Nickel Mine. With these beautiful images – combined with a simple black-and-white menu, easy-to-read font, and accessible spacing – I’m sold. Placing my order now. 10/10.

Jameson’s Pub

Jameson’s Pub has a lot to offer – from starters and shareables to burgers and sandwiches, to tacos, salads, prime rib specialties, entrées, and sides, not to mention cocktails, beer, wine, spirits, and a whole brunch menu as well. With clearly labeled sections and well-organized items, however, this menu still manages to be accessible and flows super well, making it easy to read, find your meal, and place your order.

33 Taps

As we covered extensively in our 10 steps, your menu is a crucial communications tool – and that can mean, literally, a place for your sports bar to use words to communicate information to your guests. 33 Taps does just that, taking space at the top of their menu to introduce their customers to their values and share how they’re reflected in the way they serve their food and drinks. All the points for 33 Taps!

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Sports Bar Menu Templates

Use these sports bar menu templates as a starting point for your menu design or to give your menu a refresh.

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