Want to Open a Bar? Think First

If you are going to take that big step make sure you are ready for it.

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Just the start

The first thing you need to do before opening a bar is to figure out if you can open a bar. There are some quite simple things to think through before committing to this huge step.

We will be doing a whole series of posts on everything to do with opening/starting/running bars and nightclubs. So make sure you follow us.

do you have time
Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

TIME, Do you have it?

Figure out if you are willing and capable of working from 9am to 2am constantly or longer if needed.

OK this is the standard scare tactic when you want to start and be in business. People saying “It’s hard work” and “its long hours” are not wrong. When starting a business your hours are going to be long. Hopefully once you start making enough you can hire other people to do things for you. BUT, are you willing to work long hours if the money doesn’t come in as fast as expected?

Bar owners have it tougher than most other new business owners.  Mainly because most of your suppliers are working 9am -5pm so if you need something done you need to be awake within those hours. Plus your business runs from 5pm -12am or later so you need to be awake within those hours too.

Learn and get knowledge.

Watch every episode of Bar Rescue and maybe even the Profit.

These shows will show you what not to do plus they also prove that if you are stubborn you will fail.  You might not be able to do all the things they do to improve bars due to money and a huge team, but you will get ideas and information that will help.

If you have never worked in a Bar you should go and do a bartender course and get a job in a different bar. It’s easy to get a job in a bar if you have done the course. Go to any busy bar, say you will work for cheap or free for couple of weeks and I’m sure they’ll be happy to have you.

You still wanting to open your own bar after working for 2 weeks is a good sign.

Get educated. A masters degree will help, but is really not worth it to run a bar, we have seen plenty of over educated bar owners fail because they rely too much on their education.

  • Small business management course are always quick, cheap and relevant
  • Bartender / cocktail courses are a must.
  • Health and safety course is a must
  • Cooking essentials is always good to know to help you in a kitchen.
  • Plus any license or permits you need in your state or territory. Fire, food standards, etc..

To find all different types of courses Click Here

opening a bar your idea
Photo by Donald Teel on Unsplash

Your Dream

You need an idea / concept, this can be as crazy as you want it to be. You might just want a small bar with a pool table or you might want to recreate the garden of Eden. 

First rule of your dream is, DREAMS CHANGE so do not fall in love with your dream, it might not suit your market. Dream will give you a good starting point but be prepared that it will change.

This is why Bar Rescue is good to watch, it will show you what happens when someone’s dream does not suit the market and does not deliver expected returns.

Also go to other bars and have a look to see what you like, look around and imagine your dream in that space.  Try to find faults with your dream before you spend any money.

Take photos of things you like so you can refer back to them later, because once you start your head is going to be full of million other things.

Money, money, money

First off do you have some, second do you have some more. It is not cheap opening and running a bar for the first couple of years you will only just be getting by.

We will get more into the money side in the next posts. For now the best thing to do is to roughly figure out your building costs and other expenses for the next year and then double it.  Most people leave lots of small things out and small things add up quickly.

Plus most people do not understand that marketing costs A LOT. Every new bar owner thinks they just open the door and  people will come. It’s true and false at the same time, people will come, but will they stay is up to you.

People have their local for a reason, they feel safe there. When people go to a new bar they compare it to their current local, they are very judgmental. You need to make them feel safe and comfortable, one mistake will push them back to their local.

Are you still with us?

Did we scare you off? What did you answer to these questions? Are you still thinking your in the right position to open a bar?

If so hopefully the next post will help to guide you in the right direction.

Remember lots of bars are very successful even though they did not follow any guides, steps or processes. But I bet you they were stressed out most of the time.

The next post will be out soon make sure you follow us a BarAdvisorHQ

Also if you want to see daily photos of successful bars and nightclubs Check out @Bar_Advisor


Jason Masson

Jason Masson

22 just out of college and love to find new and interesting drinking spots. My favourite bar is the next one I visit.

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