Staffed vs. Self Service Bars

Staffed vs. Self Service Bars

Unless you are planning a dry event, the bar often plays a very central roll at parties and celebrations; you don’t want to get it wrong.

The Usual Set Up

At most weddings and large get-togethers, people opt for a tended bar. This keeps the chaos to a minimum and keeps the evening running smoothly. For a lot of venues, they may require you to use their in-house bartenders. If you’ve ever hosted an event with an open bar, you know how expensive the bill can run. Many people are opting for DIY weddings these days, and self-serve bars are another surprising way you can save money when hosting an event.

Self Serve Bars

While self-service bars may require more planning upfront, they reduce labor and catering costs. As mentioned earlier, you first need to make sure the venue you’ve booked allows for self-serve bars. Not only does the venue need to agree, but you also need to review the relevant liquor laws in your area. You will likely have to obtain a one-day liquor license if you’re holding your event in a public space. In most states, you will have to apply thirty days before your event and make sure you have a physical copy of the license on the day of.

What You Will Need

You’ll need everything a regular bar might need; glassware, liquor, beer, wine, ice, and lots of sanitation supplies to keep things tidy and clean. It may be wise to have multiple stations set up so that no one has to wait too long for a drink; perhaps a station each for beer, wine, cocktails, and non-alcoholic drinks. You’ll only want to have some of your alcohol stock available at once so that it isn’t run through too quickly. Not only will this likely save you some money, but it will stop people from over-serving themselves. This is certainly one of the risks with a self-service bar.

Get Creative!

An excellent way to prevent guests from mixing drinks that are too strong is to buy pre-bottled cocktails from a local bar. You’ll be supporting a local small business and may even be able to work with them to create a signature cocktail for your celebration. Both canned wine and bottled wine are great options for a self-service bar; nice and easy! If you will have a lot of beer drinkers at your event, it will be cheaper to order a keg of easy-drinking beer from a local brewery. Just make sure you have a setup to keep it cold!

On a final note, you need to make sure that someone is keeping an eye on these self-service bars. You don’t want anyone to overserve themselves, or serve alcohol to anyone underage. Once in a while, the bar may need a little wipe down and reorganization, but it should mostly run itself! Just don’t forget the ice!