What Are the Best Tips for Starting a Bar?

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  • Written By: K. Testa
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 21 January 2020
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Starting a bar is similar to embarking on nearly any other business venture. To avoid the risk of failing early on, aspiring entrepreneurs typically need to have knowledge about the industry as well as sufficient capital to start a business. They also need to be informed of local business regulations, and they need to analyze the target community in order to open a potentially successful establishment. The first few years of a bar business generally require a great deal of work and investment, so it is usually necessary to have patience and a realistic outlook since it could be some time before the owner sees a profit.

A typical first step when starting a bar is to define what type of venue to open — before committing one’s resources. One way to decide is to perform market research and answer some key questions. Some factors to investigate include the average age, general interests, and other demographic factors of the target population. To gain insight into these areas, one can often consult with other local business owners and take advantage of other industry resources, such as professional organizations.


Next, one should calculate his or her initial costs for starting a bar. Start-up costs are usually one-time investments; some estimated expenses typically include renting or purchasing a building, remodeling, buying equipment, and paying utility deposits. Other common expenditures are insurance policies, a liquor license and other permits, and marketing and promotion costs. Some initial expenses that will be ongoing include employee pay, inventory expenses, and fees for legal services. It also is important to know in advance how the venture will be financed — whether it will be with loans, personal funds, outside investors, or some combination of those.

When starting a bar, a business owner normally has to carefully choose and market the location. His or her previous market research, along with considering the available properties, should help in this regard. One way to publicize the opening of the new bar is to hold promotional events. In addition, free or low-cost advertising is often available when using local print and online media.

There are many venue options available when starting a bar. A neighborhood bar or restaurant is just one of several types of establishments to consider. The estimated costs and revenues will generally depend on its size and location, such as in a city or suburb. For instance, it is typically more expensive to run a bar in a big city, but the potential profits are usually greater.

Starting a sports bar is another option. While it may be similar in size to a neighborhood bar, some additional costs to consider include technology such as televisions and sound systems for broadcasting sporting events. Another potential issue to keep in mind is whether or not restaurant food will be offered, as this may require further licensing.

For someone starting a bar, opening a nightclub may require the most upfront research and preparation. Its success frequently depends on choosing the right type of venue and then effectively promoting the business. There are several different types of clubs, from small locations with local bands to large dance clubs, the latter usually requiring a larger population to succeed. One should consider the fact that small or medium clubs usually do well in suburbs and smaller cities, where overall costs are lower.



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