The biggest obstacle that a pub needs to overcome is getting customers in the door. Once customers have decided to enter your establishment, you're set up with people who intend to shell out money for drinks and food, as long as they're offered at a reasonable price. However, first you need to catch the eye of your target audience and give them a reason to choose your pub over the competitors. Advertise your promotions in your local papers and with signage in front of your pub to draw a crowd.
Holidays are an effective time to get new customers because you'll attract the regular pub crawlers and you'll catch the eye of people who have a day off of work and are looking for a new place to grab a beer. Offer a special holiday deal, like two-for-one drinks on Valentine's Day, or go for an eye-catching offer, like green beer for St Patrick's Day.
Advertise a happy hour that takes place several times a week at 5 p.m., right when people are getting out of work. Having happy hour gets customers in the door early and even sets you up with some regulars. Offer drinks at a discount and a limited amount of free food items. This can be done on a budget--some popcorn, pretzels and chips will suffice if you don't want to go all out with a spread of hot food for no cost. Plus, offering salty items makes patrons thirstier and more likely to purchase drinks.
Offering entertainment sets your pub apart from the rest. Try several forms. Popular choices include an open-microphone note for singer-songwriters, a karaoke night or hiring a local band to perform. See which nights end up being popular and make them a weekly event.
Invest in some souvenirs to carry the pub's logo. Sell mugs, T-shirts and other items that say your pub's name. People will ask patrons about the establishment, and you'll end up with new customers. Plus, patrons who use a mug with your pub's name on it for their morning coffee will have the idea planted in their head to visit your place after work instead of a competitor.