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Everything You Need to Know About Setting Up Your Own Bar

Setting up and running your own bar is the best way to immerse yourself in this growing industry. Bar owners are coming up with creative ideas and concepts for bars that set them apart. While there is a lot to consider when opening a bar, and lots of hoops to jump through, it is a gratifying business.

With some knowledge on the beverage industry, a bit of business know-how, and lots of determination, you’ll be running a successful bar in no time. Check out these tips for getting started.

What type of bar will you open?

“Bar” is a loose term for a hospitality venue that serves alcohol. You need to be specific in the type of bar you want to open and what you’re passionate about. Depending on which avenue you want to go down, there will be different start-up costs involved.

What type of customer do you want to target? What sort of drinks do you want to specialize in? What vibe or theme do you want to focus on? All these questions will help you choose the type of bar to open.

Some examples include:

  • Sports bar
  • Cocktail bar
  • Brewpub
  • Lounge
  • Dance club
  • Tavern

Choose your location strategically

Once you’ve decided what type of bar you want to open, you’ll need to find the perfect location. Location is key to your bar’s success, so you need to do your research and be strategic with your choice. Regardless of the type, your venue needs to be accessible. You want lots of foot traffic and good access to both parking and public transportation.

Depending on the clientele you are targeting, you’ll need to pick an area with a higher concentration of that demographic. It’s also a good idea to survey the area and see what your competition is like. If you are opening a Mexican-style tequila bar, you won’t want to open right next to another Mexican bar like Wahaca.

Make a budget and source funding

Once you’ve decided on your location, bar type, and design, you can bring your vision to life, but only if you have the proper funding. You can check out research that will detail different funding options, such as a short term loan. Create a business plan to outline everything you need to start operating. That will include any venue fees, purchasing equipment, supplies, glasses, décor, stock, etc. You’ll also need to consider licensing fees, such as liquor license, music license, food service license, and maybe even a sign permit. Apply for the required loans, source local or corporate sponsors if you can, and you may also consider running a crowdfunding campaign for some extra community support.

Licensing As touched on above, there are many licenses required when setting up your own bar. While regulations can vary in different locations, one license every bar will need is a liquor license. You can obtain a basic beer and wine license for a relatively low cost, while a full-service liquor license will be more expensive. You will also need a different license if you intend to sell food, including a food service license and food handler’s permits for anyone making the food. On top of the venue licenses, you will also have to license the business itself.


BakingBar was launched in 2010 to provide simple and straightforward baking guides and recipes. BakingBar are currently recipe developers for Neills Flour and MyProtein.