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How to open a bar: 7 simple steps

Ok, so you’ve made the decision—you’re going to open a bar. Although you probably already have your dream bar in mind, there are many steps to take before realising such a project. For example, it won’t be possible to open the doors of your bar without having followed certain training courses.

What training should be done before opening a bar? How can you draw up a business plan? How much does it cost to open a bar?

Find all these answers in this 7-step guide.

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1. Create a business plan

Business plan

The business plan of your bar is the written expression of your company's commercial and financial strategy.

It allows you to take stock of your project, your strategy and your path forward. Where are you? What do you have at your disposal? What do you need? What are the next steps?

Analyse the prices charged in your city, the suppliers you need, as well as consumer behaviour.


Start by defining your project, the concept that makes you want to open a bar so much. Here are just a few types of bars you can open:

  • Beer/wine/rum bar

  • Bar concept (eg. board games)

  • Dance bar, theme bar

  • Tapas bar, shisha bar

  • Invent your own category

Once the concept has been determined, choose your visual identity, the name of the bar, and even a logo. Whether on the internet or on-site, your establishment must stand out and be easily identifiable. The concept of a bar is very important because depending on the music and the overall atmosphere, for examples, your customers will hopefully want to stay until closing time.

2. Find funding

Today, it is estimated that it is necessary to plan between £130,000 to £70,000 to finance the opening of a bar. It may be difficult to reach this amount alone, but there are solutions such as crowdfunding, bank loans, or state aid.

Start by defining a broad budget (rent, charges, salaries, equipment, training, etc.), and estimate the time it will take to become profitable. Being strategic with a forecast turnover can reassure the bank and convince them to grant you a loan.

3. Respect the regulations in force


Playing music in a bar or restaurant is not free. Depending on the number patrons/sales, your location, and your opening days, the pricing is subject to change. 

Operating license

Training allows you to acquire the basics of regulations and safety to be respected in a bar in a few days (1-3 days). This is a mandatory step to open a bar. Training can help you get a business licensewhich can be valid for about 10 years. 

Restaurant and liquor license

There are different types of alcohol licenses required depending on your business offering. Find more info here

Hygiene and safety standards

If you plan on serving food at your bar, it’s vital to look into the food hygiene and safety regulations in place. 

For security, you will need to set up alarms, an evacuation plan, as well as display a notice for the mandatory ban on smoking inside. It’s also important to make your bar accessible to people with reduced mobility.

Finally, pay attention to the level of music in your establishment. To avoid disturbing the peace of the neighbourhood and risking a fine for nighttime noise, properly isolate your premises and turn down the music after 11 p.m.

4. Find the right business premises

The commercial space is the place that you will rent or buy to make your bar. You will have to visit several to find the right one, so it is best to detail your needs beforehand.

To make your choice, several elements will be taken into account:

  • Good location: Busy area, beautiful storefront, close to your target audience

  • Suitable size: Each additional square meter has a cost. Depending on your project, you will not necessarily need the largest space in your city, but a good layout can make the difference and allow you to accommodate enough visitors. Also consider finding a space with a terrace, which will allow you to attract more people.

  • Accessibility: Public transport and parking spaces nearby.

  • The current state of the premises: Is it new? Should all the plumbing be redone? Development and decoration work will be necessary so that thespace aligns with your concept, but anticipate the budget that more substantial work will represent.

5. Equip that bar

Once the commercial space has been found, it is time to bring it to life. Determine all the equipment you need, from furniture to decoration.

Equipment to equip a bar (non-exhaustive list):

  • Glasses

  • Shaker and other cocktail utensils

  • Counter

  • Bar

  • Chairs/stools/sofas

  • Fridge

  • Ice machine

  • Glasswasher

  • Speakers

  • And more

You can collect different quotes to estimate the cost of your equipment but you have to see it as an investment, since equipping yourself with durable and timeless equipment will hopefully last you much longer. 

6. Choose the right POS system

The till is a central element of your bar. This tool will define the fluidity of your service.

Compare the different options on the market, looking for a complete and easy-to-use software for cashing, managing the floor plan, accounting, inventory management, loyalty, delivery, and more.

Other features to look for in a POS system:

  • Take orders on a tablet: Choose a POS software accessible on iPads so your staff can take orders on the go

  • Happy Hour option: Adapt the prices on the POS system according to promotional hours

  • Get data and reports in a few clicks for easy analysis 

  • Payment by QR code to save time

7. Recruit the right team

One of the key elements that will make your bar strong is your team members. Depending on the size of your business, you will be able to determine the different positions you will need, what type of contract to recruit them under, and more.

When hiring, he most effective option you have left is to post your offers directly on social media, use word of mouth, and ask bar managers in your community.

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