From the outside, The Ainsworth will look like every other bar in New York City tonight. Some TVs will be showing Game 7 of the Rangers/Senators series, while others will be tuned into the NFL Draft.
But patrons on the inside will be able to see that bar is taking it a step further.
As the NFL Draft unfolds, ESPN NFL analyst Merrill Hoge will give his live commentary at the bar and he’ll be joined by Detroit Lions defensive end Ndomukong Suh, New York Jets center Nick Mangold and New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram.
“It’s just something cool we like to do,” said Matt Shendell, president of Paige Management Group, which owns the bar. “We always want to have our foot on the gas, we always want to be the place that does something different. Any bar in the city can serve alcohol and put on the TV’s, no one is doing this.”
Shendell said this stunt hardly pays off from sales perspective for the night. But the customers who will be at The Ainsworth tonight also aren’t the average customers. It’s invite only to 300 influencers that Shendell has identified. Most of them, he says, will come and it’s important that they know, as the bar enters its fourth year in business, that The Ainsworth is still the place to be.
Creative thinking like this is risky, but in New York City, perhaps the greatest risk to a bar or restaurant is to be doing what everyone else is doing.