Can I Start A Bar Business?

Written by Chloe Harwood

We’ve all had a late night at the pub, and uttered those five fateful words, “We should start a bar!” It seems like a great idea after a few drinks, but is it a viable business opportunity? The truth is yes, it certainly can be. In fact, it’s proven to be more resilient than a restaurant business, and you can recoup your investment quite quickly.

However, there are plenty of considerations to make before launching. First, you must consider whether your lifestyle is in tune with running a pub. Late openings and early supply deliveries mean your schedule is always busy. But, if you love the idea of socialising every night, and working in the exciting ambience of your own club, keep reading.

Choose a style

Bars live or die by their popularity with drinkers. You’ll notice that bars with a distinct style tend to outlive the others in town. Why? Because it sticks in people’s mind, and they associate it with a great night. Would you rather run a raging nightclub, open to 4am? Or would you prefer a quiet traditional pub? Perhaps you’re thinking of something more sophisticated like a cocktail bar in town. Try to choose a style that isn’t overdone in your local area.


That brings us nicely onto the location of your bar. The location is crucial to your survival as a drinking establishment. The most profitable locations (high streets) come at a premium. However, there’s more chance of making money. Think carefully about your clientele and target market too. If you’re looking to start an expensive wine or cocktail bar, don’t choose a student location. If you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful student bar, don’t put it in the financial district.

Supplier connections

As a brand new bar, you’ll need a constant flow of supplies. We’re talking about beer barrels on a twice-weekly basis. We’re talking about wine and spirits deliveries, as well as any food supplies you might want. It’s up to you to cut deals and make arrangements with the best suppliers. In some cases, you might buy into a franchise establishment that already has these connections. If not, you’re on your own!

Equipment and furniture

Next up, you’ll need to furnish your bar. Now remember, this is a big space to fill, and the furniture makes all the difference. Start with the essential bar equipment such as pumps, washing machines, and glassware. Next, think about your unique design and decoration. Purchase bar furniture that matches your style and theme. Again, you’re looking to stay within a budget.

Sticking to the budget

Talking of money, a successful bar requires a strict and sensible budget. In the early days, the profit margins will be increasingly tight. The setup costs are also quite high. As well as the things listed so far, you’ll also have to purchase a liquor license, pay rent, and consider payroll. If you’re not good with numbers, find someone who is!

Done correctly, a bar business is incredibly lucrative. If you’ve got a passion for the nightlife, you’ll thrive in this environment!

About the author

Chloe Harwood