It’s no secret that opening a bar is easier when you have a detailed plan. Before you open your doors, it’s important to make sure you have all the right equipment to transform your vision of a successful bar into a reality.
Here is a complete bar equipment list that covers everything from cocktail supplies, to software, to cleaning supplies.
What Equipment Should Every Bar Have?
Keep in mind that the exact equipment on your list may vary based on the unique operations of your business. However, your supply list will likely include the following:
Cocktail and Bartending Equipment
-Collins (and other specialty) glasses
Bartending Tools and Accessories
-Bottle and can openers
-Straws and stirrers
-Napkins & coasters
-Liquor bottle pourers
-Containers for garnishes and bitters
-Ice cube trays, ice molds, and ice buckets
Beverages and Beverage Dispensing Bar Equipment
Your bar equipment list should also include a good selection of well liquors and top-shelf liquors, as well as liqueurs and mixers for cocktails.
-Dry and Sweet Vermouth
-Irish Cream Liqueur
Non-Alcoholic Mixers for Mixed Drinks
-Lemon and Lime Juice
-Milk, Half & Half, or Cream
-Tabasco Sauce and Worcestershire Sauce
-Cola and Diet Cola
You’ll also want to stock garnishes and those extra touches that take your cocktails up a notch, particularly if you’re running a higher-end establishment.
-Salt and Sugar
-Celery or Pickles
Depending on local regulations, you might be able to offer to-go drinks. If that’s the case, you’ll need to invest in supplies to make carryout orders a breeze.
-Disposable cups and lids
A Bar POS System
While you can operate a bar using old-fashioned cash registers or heavy computers, a modern, iPad POS system can be a huge help to your business. Not only will this system give you a quick way to manage customer tabs and transactions, but modern POS software also gives you tools to manage the operations of your entire business right from the palm of your hand.
Bar Furniture and Other Equipment
Depending on the size of your space, you’ll have to figure out the number and style of the tables and chairs you want in your business. If you don’t have a physical bar counter, you’ll want to have one built to fit the space. Other logistical needs will include decor, as well as TV monitors, cable and sound equipment.
Refrigeration and cold storage are also essential, even if you don’t serve food at your establishment. Here’s the full list of coolers to consider:
Coolers and Refrigeration
-Additional cooler for garnishes
-Horizontal bottle cooler
-Swing door back bar cooler
-Swing door merchandiser
Now more than ever, it’s crucial that you have strong cleaning tools and a streamlined process for disinfecting glassware and barware for the safety of your employees and customers. You’ll need a two or three sink setup for bar staff to wash dishes with specialized cleaning agents, as well as bathroom equipment, hand sanitizer, and cleaning supplies.
Food and Kitchen Supplies
If you’re going to serve food at your bar, you’ll need kitchen supplies. Depending on the food you serve, you might need:
-Cutlery, and whatever else lets your staff execute your menu efficiently.
Some bars are now mandated to serve food as a requirement for opening. Check your local guidelines to see if this applies to your business.
How and Where Can I Get This Equipment?
You need equipment that will last a long time, so it usually pays to buy new, high-quality equipment. While used bar equipment may save money at the time of purchase, it will likely wear down and need to be replaced sooner than brand-new bar supplies. You can find discount supplies at any restaurant supply retailer or order them from various specialized online retailers.
If your margins are tight, you can rent or lease some of the equipment you need to operate a bar. This is a good idea for any specialty equipment you either use for limited-time offerings or don’t use very often. Make sure that if you shop for used or rental bar equipment, you don’t compromise on quality.
The Bottom Line
Once you’ve finalized your bar equipment list, you’re free to focus on the other things that come with starting a business: like hiring employees, and building a recognizable brand. With the right tools and equipment in place, your bar will have a strong foundation.