how much does it cost to open a bar

Have you ever wondered, “how much does it cost to open a bar?” Opening a bar can be exciting and make a lot of money, but it costs a lot too. There are many things that can affect the cost, like where the bar is, how big it is, and what type of bar it is. In this post, we will talk about how much money do you need to open a bar, how to reduce the cost, and ways to get money to open it. After reading this, you will have a better idea of what to expect and what to do if you want to start a bar.

How much does it cost to start a bar?

The cost of starting a bar can vary greatly depending on a variety of factors, such as location, size, and type of bar. According to Investopedia, it can cost anywhere from $100,000 to $800,000 or more to open a bar. This includes start-up costs like legal fees, licenses, leasehold improvements, equipment and supplies, initial inventory, marketing and advertising, and staffing. Additionally, there are ongoing costs like rent, utilities, payroll and benefits, inventory, and marketing and advertising. It’s important to have a clear understanding of these costs before embarking on the venture of opening a bar.

Breaking down bar startup costs

Opening a bar can be a dream come true for many entrepreneurs. However, it’s important to note that starting a bar business can be a costly venture. A new bar owner must consider both one-time startup costs and ongoing expenses when planning to start a bar. In this post, we’ll break down the major startup cost for a bar to help entrepreneurs understand what to expect and how to budget.

One-time bar startup costs

Location cost

The location of the bar plays a significant role in its success. The cost of rent or purchase of a property varies depending on the area’s demographic and the desired location’s proximity to other businesses. For instance, a location in the city center with high foot traffic will cost more than a suburban location with less traffic. In addition, the location cost will depend on the size of the bar, and if there is a need for outdoor seating or additional parking.

Licenses and permits

Before opening a bar, the owner must apply for various licenses and permits. A bar must have a business license to operate. These permits and licenses depend on the type of bar and location, and can include liquor, food, zoning and building permits. The cost of these licenses and permits varies from state to state and from city to city. A liquor license alone can cost thousands of dollars.

Renovation and construction

In some cases, the building will require some renovations or construction to accommodate the bar’s needs. The cost of renovations depends on the current state of the building and what needs to be done. Renovations can include installation of flooring, walls, painting, and plumbing work. The cost of renovation and construction can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

Bar and kitchen equipment

Another significant startup cost is bar and kitchen equipment. This includes refrigeration, dishwashers, ovens, and other appliances. In addition, bar equipment such as glasses, kegs, shakers, and blenders will also need to be purchased. The cost of bar and kitchen equipment can vary depending on the size of the bar and the type of equipment.

Ordering Technology

The process of ordering, receiving, and tracking inventory is essential to running a bar business. With Menubly’s free QR code menu ordering system, your customers will have easy access to your menu on their own devices – saving you time while reducing wait times. You may also want to invest in more sophisticated technology like a POS (point of sale) system, which cost around $1,500 for basic features, the cost would go up for more advanced features

Recurring costs

Rent and building fees

After the one-time startup costs have been paid, the bar owner will still be responsible for paying rent and building fees on a regular basis. These fees vary depending on the location and the size of the bar. Additionally, property taxes and fees will also need to be paid.

Utilities cost

Utilities like electricity, water, and gas are essential to running a bar business. The cost of utilities can vary depending on the size of the bar and how much electricity and water the business uses. The bar owner must budget for these expenses each month.


A bar business requires staff to operate, such as bartenders, servers, cooks, and security personnel. The bar owner must pay the staff regularly, and the cost of payroll varies depending on the number of employees and their salaries.

Food and alcohol inventory

The cost of inventory will vary depending on the type and quality of alcohol and food being sold. The bar owner must have a system in place to monitor inventory to ensure that they do not run out of supplies. Ordering too much inventory can also be costly, as the product may expire before it is sold.

Marketing and advertising

Finally, a bar owner must invest in marketing and advertising to attract customers. This can include social media, print ads, SEO, or promotions for special occasions such as soft opening

A Bar’s business plan

A bar business plan is a crucial document that outlines the key elements of your bar’s operations, goals, and financial projections. Here are the steps you can follow to write a successful business plan for a bar:

  1. Executive Summary: This section summarizes the entire business plan and provides a brief overview of your bar’s concept, target market, and financial projections.

  2. Business Description: In this section, you should provide a detailed description of your bar names and concepts, including the type of bar you are opening, the location, and the target market.

  3. Market Analysis: This section should provide an analysis of the local market, including the competition, the target audience, and the marketing strategy.

  4. Menu and Services: This section should describe the bar’s menu and services offered, including the types of drinks and food, pricing strategy, and inventory management.

  5. Marketing and Sales Strategy: This section outlines the marketing and sales strategy for your bar, including advertising, promotions, and social media strategy.

  6. Operations Plan: This section outlines the daily operations of your bar, including the staff, scheduling, and inventory management.

  7. Financial Projections: This section includes the financial projections for your bar, including the startup costs, optimum operating costs, revenue, and profit projections.

  8. Funding Request: If you are seeking funding, this section should include a request for the amount of funding you need and how the funds will be used.

  9. Appendices: This section includes any supporting documents, such as lease agreements, licenses, permits, and financial statements.

Overall, a successful bar business plan should be well-researched, detailed, and realistic. It should also demonstrate a clear understanding of the local market, target audience, and competition. By following these steps, you can create a comprehensive and effective bar business plan that will help you achieve your goals and turn your bar into a profitable business.

How to reduce the cost of opening a bar?

Opening a bar can be a dream come true for many entrepreneurs, but the cost of starting one can be daunting. The good news is that there are ways to reduce the bar start up cost, and it all starts with smart planning. Whether you are starting a new bar or taking over an existing one, there are some steps you can take to cut down on expenses. Keep in mind that every bar is different, and the costs will vary depending on your location and the type of bar you want to open. As a business owner, it’s important to keep your costs low so you can turn a profit and stay in business for the long haul. Here are some strategies to consider:

Lease negotiation 

One of the biggest expenses when open up a bar is the cost of leasing a space. However, there are ways to negotiate a better deal. For example, you can offer to sign a longer lease in exchange for a lower monthly rent. You can also negotiate with the landlord to cover the cost of renovations or upgrades to the space. Keep in mind that the location of your bar is key, so be sure to do your research and find a space that is in a high-traffic area.

Equipment leasing 

or purchasing used Another major expense when opening a bar is the cost of equipment. However, you can reduce this cost by leasing equipment instead of purchasing it outright. Leasing allows you to spread the cost over time, which can be helpful when you’re just starting out. You can also purchase used equipment to save money. Look for equipment that is in good condition and has been well-maintained.

Controlling inventory

Controlling inventory is essential for reducing costs in the bar business. One way to do this is by keeping track of inventory levels and ordering only what you need. You can also negotiate with suppliers to get better deals on bulk orders. Additionally, you can offer specials or discounts to encourage customers to order items that you have a surplus of.

Smart hiring practices

Labor costs can be a major expense for bars, but there are ways to reduce these costs. One way is to hire a mix of full-time and part-time employees to ensure that you have coverage during peak times. You can also cross-train employees to handle multiple tasks, which can reduce the need for additional staff. When hiring, be sure to look for employees who are reliable, responsible, and have a positive attitude.

Creative marketing techniques

Marketing is an essential part of opening a bar, but it can be expensive. However, there are ways to get the word out without breaking the bank. For example, you can use social media to promote your bar and engage with customers. You can also partner with local businesses or organizations to host events or promotions. Additionally, you can offer incentives for customers who refer their friends to your bar.

By implementing these strategies, you can reduce the average cost of opening a bar and increase your chances of running a successful business. Remember, every bar is different, so be sure to do your research and find the strategies that work best for your specific situation. As an existing bar owner or someone who is planning on opening a bar, it’s important to keep your costs under control to ensure that your business thrives.

Funding your bar: How to start a bar with no money

Starting a bar without any money can seem like a daunting task, but it is possible to make it happen. If you are passionate about owning a bar but don’t have the financial means to do so, there are several ways to fund your bar’s startup and operating costs.


One way to start a bar with no money is to fund it yourself. This can be a challenge, but it’s also the most straightforward way to get your bar open. If you have savings or access to credit, you can use these resources to cover your startup costs.

Small business loans

Another option for funding your bar is to take out a small business loan. Many banks and credit unions offer loans specifically for small businesses. You’ll need to have a solid business plan and good credit to qualify for a loan, but it can be a great way to get the funding you need to get your bar open.

Government grants and funding

There are also government programs that offer grants and funding to small businesses. Check with your local government to see if there are any programs available that could help you fund your bar.


Investors are another option to consider when looking to fund your bar. You can pitch your business plan and financial projections to potential investors, such as friends, family, or business partners. It is important to have a clear understanding of the terms and conditions of any investment, and to work with a lawyer to draft a solid agreement.


Crowdfunding is a newer option that has become increasingly popular in recent years. You can set up a crowdfunding campaign on platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo to raise money for your bar. It is important to have a clear message and incentive for potential backers, as well as a strong social media presence to promote your campaign.


Incubators are programs designed to support early-stage businesses by providing resources and mentorship. You can look into joining a bar incubator program, which can provide access to funding, resources, and expertise to help you get your bar up and running.

Regardless of which funding option you choose, it’s important to keep your bar’s overall cost in mind. From lease negotiations to equipment leasing or purchasing used, to controlling inventory and smart hiring practices, there are many ways to keep your bar’s costs down and ensure it operates optimally. With the right funding and cost-saving strategies, you can successfully start and keep your bar open for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions about the cost of building a bar

How profitable is owning a bar?

Owning a bar can be a profitable business venture, but it largely depends on various factors such as the location, type of bar, management, and market competition. The profit margins of a bar business can vary greatly depending on these factors.

On average, bars have a profit margin of around 10-20%. However, this can vary depending on the type of bar. For instance, a high-end cocktail bar can have a higher profit margin of around 20-30%, while a dive bar may have a lower profit margin of around 5-10%.

Location is key. A bar located in a high-traffic area such as a downtown area or near a university can attract more customers and generate higher profits. On the other hand, a bar in a less populated area may struggle to attract customers and may have a lower profit margin.

Effective management is also crucial for the success and profitability of a bar business. A well-managed bar can effectively control costs, keep inventory levels optimal, and keep customers coming back. However, poor management can result in higher costs and lower profits.

Competition is another factor that affects the profitability of a bar business. In a highly competitive market, a bar must offer something unique to stand out and attract customers. If there are too many bars in the area offering similar services, it may be difficult for a new bar to establish a customer base and achieve profitability.

How do you run a successful bar?

Running a successful bar requires more than just serving drinks. You need to create a unique experience that keeps customers coming back. Whether you are opening up a cocktail bar, or a neighborhood bar, the following tips can help you run a bar:

  1. Choose the right kind of bar for your location: The type of bar you open up will depend on the city and state you’re in. Consider the demographics of the area and the competition to choose the kind of bar that will be most successful.

  2. Offer a variety of beer and wine: Most bars make the majority of their profits from beer and wine, so make sure to offer a diverse selection that appeals to a wide range of tastes. Bars can also consider offering bottle service to cater various tastes and preferences.

  3. Keep your bar clean and organized: A clean and organized bar creates a better customer experience and makes it easier for you and your staff to serve customers efficiently.

  4. Review your bar’s performance regularly: Monitor your sales, expenses, and customer feedback to identify areas where you can improve.

  5. Create a unique atmosphere: Whether you’re running a dive bar or a high-end cocktail bar, the atmosphere is key. Consider the lighting, music, and decor to create a unique experience that sets your bar apart from the competition.

  6. Train your staff: Your staff is an extension of your brand, so make sure they are trained to provide excellent customer service and can handle any situation that may arise.

  7. Promote your bar: Effective marketing is essential to the success of any bar. Use social media, advertising, and promotions to get the word out about your bar and attract new customers.

How much does it cost to open a sports bar?

The cost of running a sports bar varies widely depending on factors such as location, size, and amenities. However, it can typically range from $100,000 to $1,000,000 or more.

How much does it cost to open a juice bar?

On average, it can cost anywhere from $25,000 to $400,000 to open a juice bar, with the majority of the expenses going towards equipment, leasehold improvements, and inventory.

How much does it cost to open a wine bar?

Generally, the cost to open a wine bar can range from $50,000 to $250,000 or more. This can include expenses such as licensing and permits, construction and renovations, equipment and inventory, marketing and advertising, and ongoing operational costs. 

In conclusion, the average opening costs for a bar can vary greatly depending on various factors such as location, size, type of bar, equipment, and licensing requirements. Startup costs for a bar can range from $100,000 to $800,000 dollars. It’s important to carefully research and plan for all the expenses involved in opening and operating a bar. With a solid business plan, smart budgeting, and creative marketing techniques, it’s possible to reduce costs and increase profitability in the long run.

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