A new report says Irish people along with tourists favoured bars with a good atmosphere and fun entertainment.

The report by Euromonitor International studied the current trends in pubs and cafés in Ireland.

With tourism on the rise and lower unemployment levels in the country the pub and café sector has benefited with a boost to sales. In 2016 sales have grown by 6% and transactions by 4% overall resulting in a growth of €4.3bn.

In the findings some of the key trends included; sales in pubs and traditional bars across Ireland rose as tourists view a visit to the pub as a ‘must’. Also with the unemployment rate reduced to 8% in 2016 it helped boost sales in the pub industry.

Specialist coffee shops and cafés are the fastest-growing category with a sales rise of 16% to reach €94m. Irish consumers are more knowledgeable about coffee and enjoy drinking premium coffees, which stresses the importance of pubs serving good quality coffee.

As drinking habits change a large percentage of consumers are now not only visiting pubs for alcohol or beverages but they are also seeking out pubs who are serving quality food. Eat-in sales represented 86% of total sales.

In 2016 the percentage of drink sales from total sales in bars and cafés was 67% with high premium drinks contributing to the increase. There is now a clear trend towards higher-quality and higher priced spirits such as premium gins and whiskeys. Another important trend that had an impact in pubs and bars growth was entertainment.

The competitive landscape of the industry has resulted in a rise in the launch of new hybrid concepts such as bars and restaurants all under the one roof. Pub and bars are continually trying to push the boundaries to create the ultimate customer experience.

Overall the future of the bar/cafés is looking bright with pubs expected to continue to be the most important in this sector. Sales will continue to grow thanks to better economic conditions and increased employment. There will be a higher focus on food offerings, the creation of events/festivals and new ways to cater for the increasing number of tourists.