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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Table hoppers & party strollers » » Permission to perform at a bar??? (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

JeffreyMichael1127
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98 Posts

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Hey guys, I want to get out more and perform at bars. Most bars are located in a restaurant which is my main target. So, here is the question....Should I call ahead to the bar to see if they were interested in a complimentary night of magic from a magician, or should I forget getting the ok from them...and just go down to the bar and perform for people that want to see some magic. My goal is to get paid performing in bars/restaurants...so permission or no permission to perform at bars on the hope to get noticed for a paid venture? I called one place to see if I could come down to perform some magic for free....they had no interest....but I could easily take it upon myself to just go down there, meet some people, and perform for them without getting permission from management... thanks for your insight.
mixman
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Northern Colorado
294 Posts

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This will not work. You will get booted out by the management and there will never be any chance of going back there again. Read Christopher Lyles thread about getting bookings at the top of this page. Or get Jaime D Grant's book "The approach". But just going into a bar and performing for the customers without the mangements knowledge or consent will get you thrown out or even arrested.
themagiciansapprentice
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Inner circle
Essex, UK
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Always ask permission. Start with your favourite bar, if they know you and want to see magic that makes it easier for all.
Have wand will travel! Performing children's magic in the UK for Winter 2014 and Spring 2015.
AdamChance
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What you can do is go to a bar and grab a spot at the bar. Order a beer or whatever drink. Strike up a conversation with the people next to you and show them some tricks. If it goes over well and other people want to see, then go ahead and show those people some tricks.

However, don't go into a bar and start walking up to tables and walking all around the bar performing for people.

If it's a bar where there are a lot of regulars who know each other, all it takes is to impress one of them and they'll be begging you to show their friends and acquaintances.

One time, I was meeting some friends at a bar and I was a bit early, so I grabbed a seat at the bar. I showed some tricks to a guy who was there alone, and he was really blown away. Word started to get around that a magician was there and pretty soon I was showing tricks to the manager and the manager had me showing tricks to some of his staff. The manager even gave me a free beer.

Also, I've lost count of the number of free drinks that magic has paid for over the years. If you show people at a bar a few tricks and really impress them, they'll often buy you a drink to say thanks for the performance.
davidpaul$
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Inner circle
Pittsburgh, Pa
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Bill Malone on one of his dvd sets recommends the above approach . I have worked many restaurant / bar establishments and am currently working 3 now. The one I obtained by word of mouth , the others were by first sending a letter to the GM or owner
then following up with a phone call and/or stopping in at a slow time,generally around 3:00 PM. I prepared a professional packet
with info, pictures, testimonials etc. If you approach the establishment professionally both in your pitch as well as your apearance you'll have a much better chance There are no guarantees. Some owner/managers will say "NO" period no mater what you say or do. Others may be skeptical while others are open. It's hit and miss.

Do your homework regarding the places you feel would benefit from what you have to offer. The sign of a healthy restaurant is a noisy restaurant. Lots of chatter and laughing. I know this to be very true. Be professional and like was mentioned don't just hi-jack a restaurant/bar with your magical skill. That's a quick way to be asked to leave and that is not very professional.
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
charliemartin
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Rapid City, SD
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I have relocated to a small town and have established myself in two bars, they know my name and that I do magic. Sometimes the bartender will ask me to do a quick set for his customers. I would not work the tables without permission. But make friends with the bartenders and waitstaff and managers, they talk to others. Word of mouth will help.
Gordon the discombobulator
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For regular paid bar work you must ask yourself what can you do for that bar/restaurant ?

Can you increase their sales by bringing in people who might want to see a magician for an advertised event ?
Can you keep guests staying longer after a meal so that they order more drinks ?
Can you keep entertain guests in the 'waiting area' during busy times until a table is available (rather than have them walk off to another restaurant) ?
Could you entertain when there is a long delay between ordering meals and the meals arriving ?
Would any tips go to you instead of to the bar staff/waiters, causing resentment ?

For the above reasons it is very difficult to get regular paid bar or restaurant work.
I suggest using bars (with the manager's permission) for no fee in order to gain experience and to hand out your business card. You may get other work such as parties or weddings on the strength of your bar work. The manager may recommend you for private functions taking place in the pub.

One big problem with bars is that many of them are part of a larger company. You may find that the manager needs to refer you to the 'head office' as there is a company policy about busking/entertaining and magic may not be part of their corporate image.
JeffreyMichael1127
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Thanks you guys for all your help. I do own the book "The Approach" and it is fantastic. I just wanted to tie up this loose end for myself.
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