Category : Bar Ownership

How to Open Up a Small Bar

How to Open Up a Small Bar

What does it take to open up a small bar?
Question by Black Jack

I have an idea for a small bar and would like to open one up. Can someone tell me what it takes as far as licensing goes and how much investment it will take ? Do I need to be a bartender to own a bar ? How much money can you expect to make your first year and what are the challenges ?
BarsandBartending Answer:

Starting up and running a bar – any size bar – is a LOT of work.  If you want to open up a bar, aside from the massive monetary obligations and legal responsibilities you’ll be undertaking, you’ll also be putting in a lot of hours. 

Expect to be working at least 80 hours / week until you get your bar to the point where it’s making enough money and has the proper systems in place to have a well compensated bar manager replace you.
There are definitely people who have “lucked out” and opened a bar who didn’t really have to do anything beyond open their doors and they were making money hand over fist.  This is not the norm.
We recently wrote about a very similar topic – How to Run a Bar – because of the horrible advice people were giving on the subject.  We heard things like recycle your beer, tap a cheap keg but change the tap handles to something more expensive, under-pour on your guests etc.  Do any of these things and you’ll be out of business before you know it.
If you’re serious about opening up a small bar and managing the bar yourself, make sure you read through all 16 points in How to Run a Bar.
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