How to start a bar business

Updated February 21, 2017

If you want to start a business, the bar business is often a good choice. Everyone needs to get away from home and work from time to time, and they often stop at the local bar for a few drinks on the way home. The bar business is usually hopping, especially on weekends. It is very possible to show a nice profit within a year of opening a bar. Look for a building that was a bar before. Existing bars will already have a beer cooler and washbasins.

Write a business plan that will include all the bills you will have monthly. This includes alcohol purchases, utilities, supplies, wages and rent or mortgage. For the first month, include enough money for building the alcohol inventory. When you are starting out, you need to stock up on the popular liquors. Distributors can help you fill the order so you have enough liquor to open. Distributors come weekly, so you can always add different types of liquor as the weeks progress. Include enough money to apply and pay for all of the licenses you need to open a bar.

Find a building for the bar. Consider the age of the existing equipment and the amount of parking available. Look at the beer cooler. It should be in good condition with a working compressor. The basement should have a room where you can store liquor with a lock on the door. There should be a small room for an office with a telephone line. Check the bathrooms and the water heater and furnace to make sure they are in good working order. If there are coolers behind the bar, make sure they are large enough to hold all of the beer you need as well as non-alcoholic drinks.

Apply for a state sales tax stamp, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms tax stamp, Federal Identification Number and the liquor license from the city. You may also need a food license of some type if you plan to have pizzas and snacks. These licenses must be approved before you open the bar. Wait until you have approval before buying anything for the bar or hiring bartenders.

Place all licenses in a picture frame and hang in the bar. You can now contact distributors to come in so you can order your inventory. You will need a beer and liquor distributor as well as a snack and pizza vendor. At this time, you can contact the company that supplies pool tables and other games to set up your account and have it delivered and set up your games. Distributors will also be able to supply neon signs for the inside and outside windows.

Place an advertisement for a bartender. Keep in mind that you are going to work a minimum of 40 hours a week in the bar yourself. You should hire one to two other bartenders to help you. The bartenders' responsibility is to serve drinks and make pizzas in a pizza oven. If your bar is large, you may need a waitress, but for a bar that holds 200 or less people, you do not need a waitress.

Order supplies such as bar glasses, stools, cleaning supplies and whatever else you may want to conduct your business. Make sure that you have everything in place for opening day. Alcohol distributors can give you the name of the company in your area that has glasses, bar stools and cleaning supplies. Sometimes, your snack distributor carries all of these bar supplies.

Things You'll Need

  • Business plan
  • Existing bar building
  • Supplies
  • Alcohol
  • Bartenders
  • Licenses
  • Money (at least enough to pay two to three months of bills)
  • Gaming machines
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About the Author

Pamela Gardapee is a writer with more than seven years experience writing Web content. Being functional in finances, home projects and computers has allowed Gardapee to give her readers valuable information. She studied accounting, computers and writing before offering her tax, computer and writing services to others.