1. What is a bar?
A bar is a retail business where alcoholic drinks and sometimes food is served. A defining characteristic is the possession of a liquor license, which is a permit from the government to sell alcoholic beverages to the public.
The word “bar” is a blanket term for many types of establishments, and most states offer various liquor licenses for different purposes. A bar can be a beer-only pub, a wine bar, a club, a hotel bar, or more — and they all require a license.
Restaurants or establishments that serve food fall under the “bar” umbrella when alcohol sales are more than 50% of total sales. The age limit to enter a bar is between 18 and 21 years old, depending on the country.
2. What is the history of bars?
Bars date back to Colonial America and were known as taverns, providing food and lodging in addition to alcoholic drinks. Early laws fixed the amount that could be charged for a drink to keep prices down, and all members of the community were welcomed, including women and children.
Alcohol-only saloons eventually emerged as men-only establishments and sold spirits over a long “bar,” which is where the name comes from. With Prohibition in the 1920s, “illicit” speakeasies popped up, attracting both men and women, and bartenders introduced drinks made with mixers to enhance bootleg alcohol.
The popularity of these “cocktails” took off after Prohibition, and we now have all kinds of bars today.
4. How do you start a bar?
The business plan is a roadmap for bar owners and investors to guide them through the opening process. Here are some of the critical decisions and actions potential bar owners will need to make:
- Trademark the name and logo of the bar with the United States Patent and Trademark Association.
- Choose a location that makes sense with the bar’s concept and desired demographic.
- Obtain the appropriate liquor licenses.
- Create a hiring plan.
5. How much does it cost to start a bar?
The bar startup costs depend on many factors and falls within certain ranges. According to Investopedia, the amount needed to open a bar in 2022 ranged between $100,000 and $850,000.
The exact answer depends on the bar type, size, location, inventory, and waitstaff needs. When creating a breakdown of potential costs, it’s essential to budget for certain key expenses.
Consider whether the space will require construction or renovation, what the utility bill will be, the type of technology needed to run the bar smoothly, the number of staff, and the costs for marketing and PR.
6. Most popular types of bars
Specific types of bars remain perennially popular in the U.S., like cocktail bars, hotel bars, and modern “dive” bars. Certain trends, however, have emerged post-pandemic as consumers seek out-of-the-ordinary experiences when they socialize in public.
Bars hosting special events like Karaoke or live music stand out, as do bars offering games (think shuffleboard, cornhole, and trivia night). With bar hopping on the wane, many bars turn to strong food programs and experimental cocktails to inspire guests to linger.
With more than 71,000 bars in the U.S., the sector is booming and will continue to thrive. The sheer variety of bars demonstrates the desire of consumers to socialize and pull up a barstool in a public space.
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