Repeat custom in numbers is great for business, so why not reach out to clubs such as these and make your pub their base?

1. Book clubs

Attract book clubs to your business and you could be doing a great service for two threatened classics: the printed word and the beloved British boozer. Book groups come in all shapes and sizes. Some may want their own room, but a decent-sized table that they can reserve could well be enough for others. They'll mainly be chatting and drinking, so they should fit in nicely.

Who does this? The Shrewsbury Book in the Pub Club meets once a month at The Red Barn.

Where can we find them? Try putting an ad up on a noticeboard at the local library.

How can we develop it? You could extend this by introducing a community library, just like The Halfway House in Polbathic, Cornwall, or having a simple charity bookshelf.

 

 

 

2. Sports clubs

Running your own pool and darts teams is one thing, but how about broadening your horizons? So many minority sports are short of funds and facilities and need places to go for meetings and team-bonding sessions.

Who does this? The Chequers Inn in Laddingford, Kent, formed its own swimming, cycling and running clubs and has travelled the world with them. Allstars Bristol sponsors teams including the local American Football side (big squads, big appetites).

Where can we find them? Sports governing bodies can tell you where local clubs are – some, such as the FA, even have web search functions just for this. Failing that it could be time for a trip to the local sports centre.

How can we develop it? Start your own team or run an event pitting your sports teams against each other.
Ladies tennis v Men's boules, at darts – who's your money on?

 

 

3. Local political groups

It isn't hard to find people talking politics in the pub. In fact, we'd wager you may well have several party members among your regulars already. They need rooms for their discussions – just make sure you book different groups on different nights.

Who does this? The Sultan in London's Wimbledon offers its upstairs room to political groups and is proud that Tory and Labour members will have the odd drink together.

Where can we find them? They'll find you.

How can we develop it? Some pubs, such as The Bush in Tallentire, Cumbria, have been used as polling stations.

 

 

 

4. The Women's Institute

The WI turned 100 a couple of years back and has been trying to modernise its slightly fusty image to attract new members. A cool location, like your pub, could help.

Who does this? The Dalston Darlings meet up regularly for red wine and chips at The Duke of Wellington in East London.

Where can we find them? www.thewi.org.uk has a great search facility that will put you in touch with your nearest WI.

How can we develop it? It's not just baking. The Hampshire County Federation of Women's Institutes (HCFWI) surveyed members and found out they were involved in 170 different activities. That's potentially a lot of organisations for you to cater to.

 

 

5. Local business networks

Are you into trends? Here's one for you: self-employment has grown from 12 per cent to 15 per cent of the labour force in the last 15 years or so. That's around five million people who work for themselves and may need places to network or even just to occasionally log in and use the wifi with a lovely cup of coffee.

Who does this? The Farm is a networking group for freelance web designers and developers. They meet monthly at pubs in Brighton, including The Caxton Arms.

Where can we find them? We found a load by searching out online forums. There are bound to be some local to you.

How can we develop it? The great thing about business networking groups is members may have skills that could benefit your business. You could even provide a room, drinks and a bit of grub in return for some help with your website, PR or similar.

 

 

 

6. Parent Teacher Associations

As our educational feature shows, the links between pubs and schools are growing. This is likely to continue as other community amenities struggle and pubs become more family-friendly. Linking with your local PTA is a logical step, and let's be honest, which teacher or parent of young children couldn't do with a relaxing drink in a pub?

Who does this? More pubs than you might think. The Merito Bar in Dunlop, East Ayrshire was bought by the community and is run as a social enterprise. Groups, including the PTA, use it as a meeting space.

Where can we find them? You don't need our help with this. Just make contact with your local school.

How can we develop it? Get involved with fundraising or encouraging kids to engage in community projects at the pub.