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June 12, 2018

10 Tips For Opening and Running A Successful Commercial Bar

Owning and operating a successful bar begins well before your grand opening. Even before you open the doors to the public, you have to put in a substantial amount of physical and intellectual effort to ensure its profitability. These 10 tips could help you open and run a bar that will be successful for years to come.

Before you open your bar’s doors, you may want to check out other bars in the area.

Make Sure You Have Enough Money

Running a bar is not cheap. In fact, it requires you to have not only seed money to get the business up and running. You also need cash reserves to rely on for expenses like paying utilities, ordering inventory, and perhaps even paying employees until your bar turns a profit. Without a stash of cash set aside for reserve, you could run out of money and have to either cut back on hours and employees or close the doors of your bar entirely.

Get a Liquor License

You also need a license to sell liquor before you can open your bar to the public. Depending on the state you live in or in which you plan to run the bar, the process for getting a liquor license can be complicated and time consuming. Rather than risk making a mistake and being denied a license, you should hire a solicitor or an attorney who knows the legalities involved with the process. Hiring someone to secure your liquor license for you can actually shorten the process so you can open your bar sooner.

Decide on a Theme

Another detail you need to decide on involves what kind of theme or decoration scheme you plan to use in your bar. Do you want it to be a sports bar or an upscale vintage pub? After you decide on the theme, you then need to invest in the fixtures that will make the theme obvious to customers. Everything from TVs to curtains need to be purchased and put in their rightful place before you can open the doors.


You also need to ask yourself if you have the right amount of experience to run a busy, successful bar. If you have never before managed a bar, you might want to work as a bar manager someplace else before you actually open your own. This experience will serve you well as the owner and operator of your own bar.


Another question you need to ask yourself is who is going to manage your bar. Are you going to manage it yourself or will you need to hire a manager or two to act in your stead when you are not there? Deciding what kind of management team you want is crucial to your bar’s success.

Long Hours

If you have never before owned or managed a business, you may fail to appreciate the long hours you will inevitably work. You will not be working a normal 8:00 to 5:00 job. In fact, chances are you will be at the bar on weekends, during holidays, and other times of the calendar year when other people have off from work. You need to prepare yourself for this reality before you open your bar.

Scope Out Other Bars

Before you open your bar’s doors, you may want to check out other bars in the area. Get a feel for how they are operated and take notes on what makes them successful. You could replicate or improve upon services that customers find appealing in other local bars.


Your bar will also be appealing if you choose a layout that is customer-friendly and conducive to a good time. You want the bar to easily accessible to customers but also want to include booths and tables. You should also have a clear path to the restrooms.

Stock Up

As opening day nears, it’s time to stock up on liquors, condiments, food, and other items needed to serve customers. Make sure you have a healthy supply on hand to meet any level of customer demand. Also be ready to order more inventory as needed.

Hire an Accountant

Unless you plan on working extra hours doing your own books, you should hire an accountant for your bar. Your accountant can make up your payroll, make sure you pay your quarterly taxes on time, and handle other financial tasks associated with running a successful bar.

These 10 tips can help you launch and maintain a popular, successful bar. They also may spare you from having to close your doors because of poor quality and lack of appeal to your targeted audience.

TAGS: bars, helpful tips, bartenders, management, business, cocktails, entertainment
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