Opening a bar is a waste undertaking, to say the least! Whether you are going to open a bar that serves only drinks and cocktails or go for a restaurant bar that also serves appetizers and snacks, you will have to invest heavily into outfitting your future establishment. The list of essential equipment may be impressive, but if you set your priorities right – you will have a perfect bar in no time!
Considering you have already completed your business plan and set the vision for your bar, you will need to solve the most important thing first – your liquors.
Let the liquors do their job
Stacking your bar with a fair and right selection of liquors is what you need and what your customers expect of you. Liquors come in three main categories depending on their price and popularity.
- Chip liquors. These spirits and liquors are normally on the lowest shelves and within the immediate reach of your bartenders. When people come to your bar and order a dash of whiskey or a gin and tonic these are what they will get. Do not consider these liquors bad or anything; they are just the most popular.
- Call liquors. These are more refined and expensive options that customers usually order by name. In most cases, bottles of call liquors are placed on middle shelves. Having an excellent selection of call liquors will be highly appreciated by more refined customers of your bar.
- Top-of-the-shelf liquors. The top shelf of your bar is reserved for high-price, high-class liquors favoured by connoisseurs or people celebrating special occasions. Be sure to have a range of aged spirits and expensive vines at your disposal.
Of course, if you want to cover all grounds you may need to set up a beer station or select canned beer in refrigerators.
Now, let’s delve a bit deeper into specific alcoholic beverages and liquors themselves.
Essential Alcoholic beverages:
While each of the beverage types in the list can come in three categories mentioned above, you should pay attention to have them readily available in the chip liquor section.
- Irish Cream Liqueur
- Coffee Liqueur
- Orange Liqueur
- Dry and Sweet Vermouth
- Orange Liqueur
No establishment can call itself a bar without these basic liquors.
Essential Bartending Equipment
With the liquors and alcoholic beverages sorted out, you will have to focus on all the necessary bits for making cocktails and bartending. While the exact list of items may depend on your particular model of operation here is the list of conventional essentials:
Essential Cocktail Equipment
- Rocks glasses
- Shot glasses
- Pint glasses
- Specialty glasses (such as Collins glasses)
- Wine glasses
- Martini glasses
- Champagne glasses
- Brandy snifters
- Highball glasses
Sure, you may end up having even more impressive variety of glasses depending on your approach and vision.
Essential Bartending Equipment
- Cocktail shakers
- Cocktail spoons
- Citrus Juicers
- Bottle and can openers
- Cocktail strainers
- Garnishing tools
- Straws and stirrers
- Muddling supplies
- Cutting boards
- Napkins & coasters
- Bar mats
- Bar towels
- Liquor bottle pourers
- Containers for garnishes and bitters
- Wine openers
Refrigeration and coolers
No bar can operate without coolers and refrigerators unless you are trying to make another fancy Icebar. At the bare minimum, you will need a wine cooler, a reach-in cooler at the bar, and a glycol chiller. If you want to make your bartenders’ lives much easier, consider buying a reach-in freezer as well. The shortlist of coolers you may end up buying may look like this:
- Wine coolers
- Kegerators (if you will serve beer)
- Beer coolers
- Horizontal bottle cooler
- Storage cooler
Cleaning tools and equipment
Cleaning and disinfection equipment is of paramount importance during the global health crisis. It is necessary to ensure the safety of your employees and customers, thus, you should be able to set up a streamlined way of disinfecting glassware and working surfaces. Consider installing additional sinks for bar staff to clean glasses and dishes with specialised antimicrobial agents. Hand sanitisers are essential.
Furniture and Other Bar Equipment
It goes without saying that if you are not serving drinks to go only, you will need to figure out the number of tables and seating arrangements. Building up a good bar counter if you don’t have one yet is a must. If you are looking for ways to enhance social distancing in your bar, consider using protective guards or other ways to separate customers.
Most likely than not, you will decide to decorate your bar. Make a list of desirable decor items beforehand.
Do not forget that you will need to buy and set up a modern POS system. Modern POS systems are time and money savers. Your bar staff will thank you for making their lives much easier. Moreover, you will have a piece of crucial information about your business always available.
Where to get bar equipment
Buying good equipment for your bar at a reasonable price may be a tedious process. Consider looking into the used goods market first. If you are lucky, you may buy all the essentials at a lower price. However, you may also consider finding a good bar and restaurant equipment supplier and negotiate a favorable deal when buying en mass.