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Simple Tips for a Successful Bar

Managing a bar isn’t always easy, but in our decade of experience, we’ve found some tried-and-true tips that always help it run smoothly. Spending your night managing the bar? Read below for some basic steps you can take to get yourself, and your staff, started on the right foot.

Always stock your bar.

Need we say more? To keep your patrons happy, you need to make sure your bar (whether it’s an actual bar or a bar setup at an event) is stocked with everything from the basic liquors and beers to mixers, garnishes, rimming salts, fun liqueurs and more. Basically, if someone asks for it, you want to be able to have it. After all, that’s what keeps happy drinkers coming back for more. 

Make sure you have (and maintain) all the right bar equipment.

From stirrers and shakers, to all the right drinking vessels – like beer, martini and shot glasses, whiskey glasses, or even plastic cups, if that’s what your particular event calls for – it’s important that you have all your tools right there, when you need them. Not only is this more efficient, but not having the proper tools could inhibit your ability to give a patron what he or she wants… which is a really easy to ensure they don’t come back.

Clean up.

Whether you’re working at a hotel bar, a standalone bar or manning the bar station at a fancy gala, keep your bar clean. Every bartender needs to wipe up any spills, make sure caps are back on the bottles, keep the floor area dry and throw away any napkins or leftover food in the vicinity of the bar. Doing so is not only hygienic and alluring for customers, but it’s also a safety measure. You don’t want anyone slipping on a wet floor or letting bacteria build up around any food and drink you have on hand.

Make sure you have something for everyone.

…and everyone means the non-drinkers, too. Along with alcohol, have your basic sodas, juices and club sodas for designated drivers and children, and keep something in the fridge for gluten-free patrons. For many people at events, the key to having a good time is always having a drink in your hand – even if for some people, that means a non-alcoholic drink.

Know the back of the bar like the back of your hand.

If you think that just because you’re a manager, you don’t actually have to put in time behind the bar – think again. To successfully run a bar, you need to know all the ins and outs of it; and to know that, you have to have experienced it firsthand. If your responsibilities allow, spend an hour or two slinging together drinks yourself. Not only will it help make sure everything’s in order, but it will also give you a chance to check on your team members and get a sense of how your customers perceive the bar.

Be efficient.

No one wants to wait for a drink. Combine the points above to give your guests an efficient, and enjoyable, bar experience. Remember: the bar should enhance a person’s evening, not make it stressful – and the way you can help that is by making sure guests are accommodated as quickly and easily as possible.