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A Bar Equipment Checklist: What You Need to Stock Your Bar

Tillie Demetriou
1 Jun 2022

You've decided to take the plunge and open up your own bar. Congrats! And although this is a huge undertaking, you've already done all of the boring stuff - from registering your company to finding the perfect location. Now it's time to get down to the fun part: outfitting your new bar! 

However, while bar-shopping can be fun, it can also seem like a daunting task. What do you need? Will it cost an arm and a leg? How can you get the best bang for your buck?

Not to worry, we're on hand to help. Below is a checklist of everything you'll need to fill your new bar, from big-ticket items like coolers and kegs to smaller supplies like garnishes and bitters. Of course, prices will vary depending on the quality and brand of the product, but we've provided some general guidelines to help you budget for each item.

So grab yourself a nice cold drink, and let's get started.

What equipment is needed for a bar?

From dive bars to upscale cocktail spots, there is a myriad of bar models, meaning the specific equipment you'll need will actually vary depending on what type of establishment you're running. So we've created a comprehensive bar equipment list, with the bar tools and apparatus you'll need to get started. Let's begin with the top bar and catering equipment must-haves:

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For a dive bar:

Commercial refrigerator: You'll need a fridge to store your beer, liquor, and mixers. Make sure you get one that's big enough to accommodate all your needs.

Glassware: Dive bars tend to stick to the basics: pint glasses, shot glasses, and highball glasses. You'll need to make sure you have enough of each type to keep up with demand.

Bar sink: You'll need at least two sinks: one for washing glasses and one for prepping drinks.

Storage shelves and racks: You'll need somewhere to store all your liquor bottles, glassware, and mixers.

Ice maker: A must-have for any bar, an ice maker will ensure you always have ice on hand for drinks.

Bar stools: Your customers will need somewhere to sit, so make sure you have enough bar stools for everyone.

Cutlery and crockery: You'll need a basic set of cutlery and crockery for customers who order food. Granted, for a dive bar you may just need small plates for nibbles like peanuts or pretzels, but it's still something to consider.

Kegerator: If you plan on offering draft beer, you'll need a kegerator to store and dispense it.

POS system: Cloud-based EPOS systems are perfect for dive bars as they're easy to use and don't require a lot of training. Plus, they allow you to manage your bar inventory and sales and seamlessly integrate with apps like QuickBooks for easy accounting.

For a cocktail bar:

Blender: On a hot summer's day, you'll want to lure in customers with refreshing frozen drinks, so make sure you add a strainer to your list of cocktail bar equipment. 

Juicer: You'll need a juicer to make fresh juices for your mixed drinks. Definitely order a few as cocktails take longer to make than most other drinks, so cutting down time by having a few juicers is crucial.

Cocktail strainers: There are many types of strainers, but the three you'll need for a cocktail bar are a Hawthorne strainer, a julep strainer, and a tea strainer.

Muddler: A muddler is essential for any cocktail that requires fresh fruits or herbs like a mojito or a Margarita.

Cocktail shakers: You'll need at least two: a Boston shaker and a cobbler shaker. Boston shakers are used for most cocktails. However, if you're making a shaken cocktail that has fresh fruits or juices, you'll need to use a cobbler shaker.

Glassware: In addition to the standard glasses you'll need for a dive bar, you'll also need some speciality glasses for cocktails, such as martini glasses, rocks glasses, and coupes.

Soda stream: A SodaStream is a great way to make fresh soda water for cocktails. It's also much cheaper than buying cans or bottles of soda water, and it's better for the environment too.

For a wine bar:

Wine glasses: Obviously, you'll need wine glasses for a wine bar. Make sure you have a variety of different types like red wine glasses, white wine glasses, and champagne flutes.

Wine decanter: A wine decanter is a must-have for any wine bar. It not only looks impressive, but it also allows the wine to breathe, which enhances the flavour.

Wine cooler: You'll need a wine cooler to store your wines at the perfect temperature

Corkscrew: An essential piece of equipment for any wine bar, a good corkscrew will make opening bottles of wine a breeze.

Wine aerator: A wine aerator is used to aerate the wine, which again enhances the flavour.

Wine preserver: A wine preserver is used to vacuum seal an open bottle of wine, which helps it last longer.

Champagne stopper: A champagne stopper is a must-have if you plan on serving bubbly by the glass. It allows you to reseal an open bottle of champagne so it doesn't go flat.

Where to buy bar equipment

Online

There are a few advantages to buying online. First, it's usually cheaper than buying in-store. Second, you have a much wider selection to choose from. And third, you can have it delivered right to your door.

Restaurant supply store

A restaurant supply store is a great place to buy bar equipment. The prices are usually very reasonable, and you'll have a good selection to choose from. Plus, if you're also setting up a kitchen, you can kill two birds with one stone and get all of your equipment in one place.

Speciality bar equipment store

A speciality bar equipment store is a great place to buy high-quality bar equipment. The prices will be higher than a restaurant supply store, but you'll be getting better quality products. Plus, the staff will usually be more knowledgeable and can help you find what you're looking for.

How much does bar equipment cost?

So, how much is bar equipment? The answer, unfortunately, is that it depends. The cost of bar equipment will vary depending on the type of bar you're opening, the size of your bar, and what kind of equipment you need.

In a survey conducted by the online hospitality resource Restaurant Owner, the average cost of kitchen and bar equipment was found to be $115,655 USD (Around £93,000), ranging from $30,000 (£24,000) at the low end to $150,000 (£120,000) at the high end.

Get profits pouring into your bar with an Epos Now POS system

Epos Now offers state-of-the-art POS systems for retail and hospitality businesses. We let you choose the tools and insights to help your business achieve its goals. Designed to work as a complete business management system, you can control all vital aspects of your company from one cloud-based system.

  • Review profitability reports based on individual item performance, trending dishes, best and worst sellers, and employee sales.
  • View analyses on profit margin, cash flow, and peak times for better staff scheduling and floorplan management.
  • Access multi-award-winning inventory management systems that sync online orders with in-house orders. 
  • Table management and booking system integrations available for optimised service.

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