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Bar equipment: 5 essentials for setting up a bar

Bar equipment: 5 essentials for setting up a bar

It’s no secret that opening a bar is easier when you have a detailed plan. Before you open your doors, it’s important to make sure you have all the right bar equipment to transform your vision into a reality.

Here is a complete bar equipment list that covers everything from cocktail supplies and software, to cleaning supplies.

What equipment should every bar have?

Keep in mind that the exact equipment on your list may vary based on the unique operations of your business. However, your supply list will likely include the following:

  1. Cocktail and bartending equipment
  2. Beverages and beverage dispensing bar equipment
  3. A bar ePOS system
  4. Bar furniture and other equipment
  5. Food and kitchen supplies

1. Cocktail and bartending equipment

Glasses

  • Rocks glasses
  • Pint glasses
  • Shot glasses
  • Collins (and other specialty) glasses
  • Pint glasses
  • Wine glasses
  • Champagne glasses
  • Martini glasses
  • Brandy snifters
  • Highball glasses
  • Mixing glasses

Bartending tools and accessories

  • Jiggers
  • Muddlers
  • Cocktail shakers
  • Cocktail spoon
  • Citrus juicers
  • Cap catchers
  • Bottle and can openers
  • Cocktail strainers
  • Garnishing tools
  • Muddling supplies
  • Straws and stirrers
  • Cutting boards
  • Napkins and coasters
  • Bar mats
  • Bar towels
  • Liquor bottle pourers
  • Containers for garnishes and bitters
  • Ice cube trays, ice molds and ice buckets
  • Wine openers

2. Beverages and beverage dispensing bar equipment

Your bar equipment list should also include a good selection of spirits, as well as liqueurs and mixers for cocktails.

Alcoholic Beverages

  • Vodka
  • Gin
  • Tequila
  • Whiskey
  • Scotch
  • Bourbon
  • Rum

Basic liqueurs

  • Amaretto
  • Coffee Liqueur
  • Dry and sweet vermouth
  • Irish cream liqueur
  • Orange liqueur

Non-alcoholic mixers for mixed drinks

  • Lemon and lime juice
  • Orange juice
  • Cranberry juice
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Pineapple juice
  • Tomato juice
  • Bitters
  • Simple syrup
  • Sour mix
  • Grenadine
  • Milk, Half & Half or cream
  • Tabasco sauce and Worcestershire sauce

Essential sodas

  • Club soda
  • Tonic Water
  • Ginger Ale
  • Cola and Diet Cola
  • Lemon-lime soda

You’ll also want to stock garnishes and those extra touches that take your cocktails up a notch, particularly if you’re running a higher-end establishment.

Fruit garnishes

  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Oranges
  • Maraschino cherries

Beverage nice-to-haves

  • Olives
  • Cocktail onions
  • Mint
  • Salt and sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Grated nutmeg
  • Celery or pickles
  • Whipped cream

Depending on local regulations, you might be able to offer to-go or off-premise drinks. If that’s the case, you’ll need to invest in supplies to make carryout orders a breeze. 

Takeout supplies

  • Disposable cups and lids
  • Straws
  • Drink holders
  • Bags
  • Napkins

3. A bar ePOS system

While you can operate a bar using old-fashioned cash registers or heavy computers, a modern bar ePOS system can be a huge help to your business. Not only will this system give you a quick way to manage customer tabs and transactions, but modern ePOS software also gives you tools to manage your bar right from the palm of your hand.

Gestion personnel de bar

Enhance bar management with Lightspeed ePOS

Read our pub and bar guide to find out what else Lightspeed can do for you

4. Bar furniture and other equipment

Depending on the size of your space, you’ll have to figure out the number and style of the tables and chairs you want in your business. If you don’t have a physical bar counter, you’ll want to have one built to fit the space.  Other logistical needs will include decor, as well as TV monitors, cable and sound equipment.

Refrigeration and cold storage are also essential, even if you don’t serve food at your establishment. Here’s the full list of coolers to consider:

Coolers and refrigeration

  • Kegerators
  • Beer coolers
  • Wine coolers
  • Additional cooler for garnishes
  • Horizontal bottle cooler
  • Swing door back bar cooler
  • Swing door merchandiser
  • Storage cooler

Now more than ever, it’s crucial that you have strong cleaning tools and a streamlined process for disinfecting glassware and barware for the safety of your employees and customers. You’ll need a two or three sink setup for bar staff to wash dishes with specialised cleaning agents, as well as bathroom equipment, hand sanitiser and cleaning supplies.

Additional equipment

  • Speed rails
  • Liquor dispensers
  • Floor mats
  • Ice wells
  • Ice crusher
  • Ice maker
  • Blenders
  • Waitress stalls
  • Glass racks/holders

5. Food and kitchen supplies

If you’re going to serve food at your bar, you’ll need kitchen equipment and supplies. Depending on the food you serve, you might need: 

  • Grills
  • Fryers
  • Flat-top griddles
  • Plates
  • Cutlery, and whatever else lets your staff execute your menu efficiently. 

How and where can I get this equipment?

You need equipment that will last a long time, so it usually pays to buy new, high-quality equipment. While used bar equipment may save money at the time of purchase, it will likely wear down and need to be replaced sooner than brand-new bar supplies. You can find discount supplies at any restaurant supply retailer or order them from various specialised online retailers.

If your margins are tight, you can rent or lease some of the equipment you need to operate a bar. This is a good idea for any specialty equipment you either use for limited-time offerings or don’t use very often. Make sure that if you shop for used or rental bar equipment, you don’t compromise on quality.

 

Stocking up your new bar with the right equipment

Once you’ve finalised your bar equipment list, you’re free to focus on the other things that come with starting a business: like hiring employees, and building a recognisable brand. With the right tools and equipment in place, your bar will have a strong foundation. If you need help getting started finding the right POS equipment for your bar, let’s chat!

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