View Full Version : Any useful advice for opening a bar?

03-12-2005, 02:44 AM
A friend and I are considering opening a bar. We have some really good ideas and we think that a bar could really take off in our town. We're just researching right now, but we need information and advice form former and current bar owners so we can get a better idea of what we could possibly be getting ourselves into. We want to be sure that we really want to do this. Any information that anyone can offer would be greatly appreciated.

03-14-2005, 04:36 AM
Hi BarGirl,

Opening a bar is a tough business and requires a good amount of capital to get going...

But it is very rewarding, i know this because I am a bar manager and have set up my own in the past! I love every minute i work there (as it is my second job) but i have to ask if you have a brewery or how you plan to get hold of the ales... have you already picked a site? if so try and find out about previous bars or existing bars around that area, plan how much you will need and do it, if you think it will do well, why not? Let me know how things go! good luck!


03-17-2005, 12:22 AM
That's one thing I was wondering. How difficult would it be to find out how those other bars in my area are doing? I've tried to look up information on the internet for tips and such but not really getting to far. And I'm not too sure how they would respond to a potential competitor asking for all their vital information. That was my main reason for using this site. I figured people in other areas would be more likely to offer the stuff I need.
I'll have to look into the brewery situation and see what's available to me.
Thanks for the help.

03-31-2005, 02:14 PM
I was in the industry for a while manager of a golf club and a local night club, though it played havoc with my own social life and was only really a stop gap.

With regaurds to epos (till systems), websites, cleaning contracts, and secuirty both door and cctv.

This is something i can help you out with now.

Please feel free to look at my site for more information or to contact me.

Always glad to help.

05-28-2005, 06:53 PM
Hi all,

I live in Eastern Europe and it is very risky business to open a bar or night club here. I mean risky because lots of gangsters get togher in such places. There are lots of situations of shooting,killings, etc. which in most cases ruin the reputation of such premises or the local athority close them afterwards. :x

01-16-2014, 09:08 AM
A friend and I are considering opening a bar. We have some really good ideas and we think that a bar could really take off in our town. We're just researching right now, but we need information and advice form former and current bar owners so we can get a better idea of what we could possibly be getting ourselves into. We want to be sure that we really want to do this. Any information that anyone can offer would be greatly appreciated.

Before I started my pool business I had a nightclub/bar for 8 years and my only advice is Don't; don't open a bar. It almost killed me with the hours, the drinking, the staff, the bands, the city council. It may sound like fun and yeah sure it was for a while but then it became the worst job ever. It I wasn't hungover I was drinking you see when the owner of the bar drinks everyone drinks and you make more money. Someone always wants to buy you a drink and you can't say no (I eventually had my own bottle of Absolut that was just water). There is so much more then "hanging out behind" the bar when you own a bar. Your staff will drive you crazy and steal from you no matter who you hire, every free drink they pour is profit taken right out of your pocket. I hate to be a downer but this is a business I wouldn't advice my worst enemy to get in to.

01-22-2014, 09:31 AM
It's a must to do some feasibility studies before going all out on this kind of business. Traditional business could cost a lot though but if you really made it right, the return is going to be so worth all your effort. Preparation is key here so you must take heed of that.

01-22-2014, 09:57 AM
Opening a bar can be hard and require quite a bit of time to turn profits. Make sure you have a few things in order and have some research done before starting this endeavor.

Can you purchase a liquor license? You need it for a bar, and a lot of states have a specific amount of liquor licenses, which have been already dispersed. Now what you need to do is purchase a liquor license from a business or individual that wants to sell it, which is why they are quite hefty on price.

How many employees are you wanting to have in the beginning? This is a very important step, because you need enough to fill your needs, but you don't want to much if business in the beginning is running slow.

Have you ever worked at a bar before? If not, I would highly advise doing it so you can get a real understanding on where the money is actually made from.

A lot of bars these days aren't offering promotional deals which could really help their business. Would you prefer to go to Place A on a Wednesday night who charges $4 for a can of PBR, or Your Bar who has a promotional every wednesday to sell PBR for $1 a piece. Keep in mind, you'll be selling more, so you'll be buying more at a cheaper quantity. Also, it will bring all the customers in and they will want more than just PBR.

Hope some of these ideas help a bit.

01-23-2014, 08:06 PM
To start, depending on where you live, getting a liquor license can be a real process. Lots of red tape there, so be prepared and plan for that in advance. I have a few friends in NYC who have opened restaurants and gone the first 6 months to a year without being able to serve alcohol because of the level of bureaucracy involved.

Other than that, if you live in a medium to large sized town/city I'd say you should get the led out on advertising as soon as you have the game plan drawn up and set into motion (no sooner though, as plans are subject to change before finalization).

A bar is one of those businesses that relies very very heavily on customer loyalty (unless it's a tourism centered area), so everything from the glassware to the uniforms should be selected with customer convenience in mind.

Hope that helped! Good luck!

01-23-2014, 08:21 PM
I have never opened or operated a bar, but my brother in law does. It is very tough to start up, but the profits can be great! The hardest part is getting all of the permits for selling, not only beer and wine, but hard alcohol. I don't know what the laws are in your state, but here, in California, businesses are required to publicly post that they are seeking a license to sell alcohol and residents of the neighborhood can challenge those permits. If you have already rented or leased a property, that can be a problem if you can't secure the licenses.

01-26-2014, 05:16 AM
I believe 2 things are essential in opening a profittable bar business. The first is location location location! :D If you can get some place on a very popular street which has alot of traffic and/or tourists the first problem you have is solved. Streets like these are really great for bars, if there are alot of people walking by every day there is a greater chance that someone will decide to come in and get something. The other side is decoration and ambience. You have to decorate and model your bar in a way that will attract your customer! If its going to be a sports bar - Tvs alot of sports memorabillia etc. Make the decoration unforgettable and people think "wow this place is so cool" when they come in. Also pick your target audience and a way to attract them! Post other questions you have and ill try to help with my ideas :)

01-26-2014, 05:20 AM
Target audience is a very important point. Different types of people like different bars... also keep in mind that these groups of people have different spending habits.

01-26-2014, 02:09 PM
Make sure you can get a popular street with plenty of people, and get plenty of TVs and put them everywhere. I'd recommend making a grill & bar, where there's the bar aspect, and there's a place where a family can eat and enjoy their meal.

02-02-2014, 12:02 PM
Watch some bar rescue and read articles from Jon gaffer.. bar genius lol.. Seriously though location is key.... And you really have to think of what your target clientele is and really base your promotions, decorations, etc on that

02-06-2014, 01:07 PM
I agree with what a lot of the other people on here have been saying. You have to find a suitable location. If there are 20 established bars right next to you then you are not going to be successful. As with anything you have to have scarcity. Find somewhere that has either very few or no bars around. Chances are that people would rather go somewhere close by than somewhere far away so location is huge.

02-07-2014, 01:28 AM
My boyfriend is a guitarist and plays in bars every weekend. The scene is bad for bars right now. They open and close quickly... I don't really get why except I am guessing everyone is drinking at home these days and now with the legalization of weed you are going to see less and less people in bars. My cousin just opened 2 Hookah bars, you might think about checking into that as I hear they are very popular and even here in the mid-west hookah is gaining popularity! Good luck and Cheers!

Moore Than SEO
02-07-2014, 02:34 PM
Take the time to thoroughly analyze your local competitors. Try to gage their success by traffic (visit the bar as a customer on a Friday/Saturday night) and marketing efforts. Look for promotional flyers, take note of any ads they place in local papers, radio, etc. Do they have a website? If yes, make a note of it and critique it to determine their success. (You can use tools like OpenSiteExplorer.org and MajesticSEO.com to compare website metrics with measurable scores in Domain Authority, mozTrust, mozRank, etc. The higher the score, the better. You can even see how many backlinks their site has established) Look at their participation on social media - do they have any business pages on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, even YouTube? Make notes of the marketing they are currently doing and look for opportunities where you can do it better. (For example, many bars may not have a Facebook page, but this is a brilliant way to increase promotional announcements and foot traffic. If you decide to launch this business, gain an advantage by engaging online through as many social networks as you can handle on a regular basis. Promote your social pages in the bar and online. Knowing your competition intimately will help you to make a more educated decision on such an investment.

02-09-2014, 02:49 AM
It's a great business but getting the permit might be a bit difficult. You would also need to pick a really good location because if you don't get enough customers, permits can be expensive and you might go at a loss. But once you have established loyal customers, your profit will soar up. It is a risky business but I think it will still be a good move.

02-16-2014, 12:26 PM
Getting the liquor license is the single most expensive part of this endeavor. It'll take months and there is a lot of red tape. Once you've found the ideal location, you need to make sure your staff is all about making safe money. They MUST card, they must report tips, and if you make the experience of working there good for them, you'll all profit. Alcohol has an insane profit margin, so try not to be greedy about it, you'll turn your customers off. This is a numbers game, and you'd rather sell more product at a lower rate than less at a higher rate---the customers will tip better and be more loyal. Good Luck!

02-19-2014, 12:19 AM
Location is very important, in my opinion. You want to make your bar very accessible to customers. A place where there's good foot traffic is a place to start, not a place in the middle of nowhere. Startup businesses must also take into consideration marketing strategies. You need to be able to market your bar well, show others why it's better than other bars. Once your bar is up and running, you guys should build strong relationships with your customers so they can keep coming back to your bar. I'm not so knowledgeable about the legalities of bar businesses, but I think you're going to need some sort of business license in order to sell alcohol.

02-20-2014, 08:04 PM
Bars can be tricky because depending on what kind of clientele you entice to come to your new bar and what kind of atmosphere you provide, your bar could be a hit or a miss. Are you looking to get the college crowd, or mature adults who want to drink and mingle? Does the bar have a theme or "feel" that will appeal to a lot of people? Is it something unique for your area? Not that you have to go Coyote Ugly or anything, but something specific to distinguish you from other bars could be fun and memorable, or if you have special nights or drink specials to spice things up during the week. Everyone knows weekends are the biggest times for bars, but you still have to make some business the other 4 days of the week. Find something to make your bar stand out among the crowd, and you'll be on the right track to success. If your bar is not fun to be in or memorable the next day, people will choose not to go there and forget it's there.

03-01-2014, 09:40 AM
I don't personally own a bar, but a friend does. It's quite difficult to open up a bar because of all the permits for selling alcohol. That's what takes a long time. After is the capital. If you have a lot of it, it will be good to invest in the ambiance of the bar, since that is what a lot of people look for when going out. Also, figure out who your market will be so you will be able to price it well and earn a lot. I think it would be a good idea to partner up with 3-5 people so that you all have different networks. Once the bar is open, they can all bring their own connections, thus, always a full house.

03-01-2014, 04:16 PM
Opening bar sounds tough to maintain and you're going to have to hire a lot of shady employees. Plus you're going to need to get a good insurance plan, cause you don't know what happens when people get drunk. A lot of bar fights, a lot of people stealing. Overall it's a pain to deal with, though it really depends on the neighborhood.

01-20-2020, 10:31 AM
Opening a bar is a great idea. I also have a small bar, though I only deal with wines. Despite the fact that I have such a highly specialized bar, it is popular. As the owner of a wine bar, I can advise you to buy such universal corkscrews - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MS9P6MJ?language=en_US that will definitely be useful to your staff. Well, good luck to you, I hope that you will succeed

04-15-2020, 06:57 PM
Opening bar sounds tough to maintain and you're going to have to hire a lot of shady employees. Plus you're going to need to get a good insurance plan, cause you don't know what happens when people get drunk. A lot of bar fights, a lot of people stealing. Overall it's a pain to deal with, though it really depends on the neighborhood.

Why shady employees?

04-15-2020, 06:57 PM
Plan to move to Spain to open a number of my bars there, somewhere in the suburbs of Madrid. My dream is to get Spanish citizenship in the end. Is it possible? What do you think?

I guess that one of the most obvious ways in your case is Spanish Golden Visa. To put it short it is a state program which lets investors in Spanish property obtain local citizenship. Here are more details https://virtoproperty.com/info/spanish-golden-visa-program-investor-guide. Hope it will help :D

05-01-2020, 04:14 PM
If you are convinced that that is what you want I suggest you go and get a job in a liqour store and find out what really goes on.You could always volunteer to work there for free if you have to and I am sure it would be very valuable experience. Incidentaly I own a liquor store, well I own the store and a guy rents the space from me and runs a liquor store in it. For me it is very profitable and I get a nice regular income unlike the guy who has the business there. He has shit all the time from drunks, people trying to steal bottles from the shop and staff pocketing money from the till. Attempted break ins are a constant problem but so far after 6 years he is still at it so maybe he is making some money.

05-02-2020, 04:32 AM
If you want to open a bar where you will sell alcohol, you need to find a good supplier with high-quality alcohol. I buy alcohol in a reliable liquor store (https://www.zogby.com) . But before you open the bar you need to know how to properly store alcohol. The liquor needs to be kept in a cool place and away from sunlight, gin and vodka are best served chilled, the liquor likes to stand, it is necessary to put the bottle of liquor in an upright position, it is advisable to store the wine in a wine refrigerator.

05-02-2020, 10:46 AM
Determine your target market. One of the biggest lapses in judgment that you can make when opening a bar is trying to appeal to everyone.
Decide on your concept and be consistent.
Study your competition.
Point of Sale & Technology.
Your Staff.

05-04-2020, 09:39 AM
Decide your objective market. Probably the greatest failure to understand the situation that you can make when opening a bar is attempting to interest everybody.
Settle on your idea and be reliable.
Study your opposition.
Retail location and Technology.
Your Staff.

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10-26-2020, 07:40 AM
Write Your Bar's Business Plan. ...
Set Up Your Business Structure. ...
15 Licenses and Permits Needed to Open a Restaurant. ...
Trademark Your Name and Logo. ...
Obtain the Proper Licenses. ...
Choose a Location. ...
Design Your Bar. ...
Be Savvy with Accounting and Inventory.

12-16-2020, 12:17 AM
Opening a bar is a tough business and requires a good amount of capital to get going...

01-17-2021, 11:37 PM
8 Steps to Run a Bar Successfully
Keep Your Bar Stocked.
Measure Your Liquor to Reduce Overpouring.
Make Signature Cocktails.
Host Happy Hour and Events.
Recruit the Right Bartenders.
Train Your Bartenders and Wait Staff to Upsell.
Put resources into a POS System.
Pay attention to Liability.

02-25-2021, 01:40 AM
Get the Proper Licenses It's significant that your bar is appropriately authorized before you just getting started to maintain a strategic distance from lawful difficulty. Licenses are needed to serve liquor, food, and even to play music in your bar. A portion of these are not difficult to acquire, while others are more convoluted. Many expense cash and time.