How to open a pub or bar

How to open a pub or bar

Many creative entrepreneurs, who love talking to people and socializing with them, dream about having a pub or bar of their own. But being the lucky owner of a bar can mean anything.The scale ranges from a boogie lounge to a swanky lounge or even a laid-back sports bar for all our sports fans. Whatever your concept is, we from METRO want to help you become a lucky and successful owner of a great bar.

Licences, Funding, Business Plan & Location Scouting

1. taking the first steps for opening a bar

Bar licenses and permits

1.1 Getting all the licenses and permits

Before you even open the bar, there will be some unpleasant, formal work you will have to do. Especially when you want to open a pub, where alcohol will be sold, you need to do the paperwork correctly and neatly. Research all the licenses and permits you will need for your specific area. Think about the more specific ones such as:

  • Alcohol license
  • Food-handling license
  • Music license
  • Health and safety license

If you have already chosen a location and want to renovate it, also think about building permits. You should consider all these permits and licenses in your start-up cost.

Financing for bar

1.2 Securing the financing

Besides researching on the licenses, you should also look up funding and financing options for your bar. Taking the initial start-up and on-going costs of running a business into consideration, you will need a good amount of money. If you do not have enough of your own or maybe a heritage, you should think about taking out a loan. You can also look for investors as another option. Also, you can sign up for a business loan, which not only helps you with your opening costs but also can be used later for growing the business. Another financing option is crowdfunding.

Bear in mind that the last three options require a good business or project plan that will catch people’s attention. It should make them so impressed by your idea, that they want to invest in it. Therefore, you will also need to be innovative and present them something new and original. This leads us to the next point.

Business plan for bar

1.3 Creating a business plan

Whenever you look up how to start a business, the first thing that will pop up is a business plan. This is a very important document, a written plan that leads you through your journey to the top. It includes all the essential information about your business concept, your idea, your location, the team, the management, the products and services, marketing strategies, finances, and many more aspects.

A business plan serves as a guide through every step of opening a business. You can always come back to it and look up the following steps, as well as optimize it as there might occur changes of plans while following through with your business plan and milestones.

A well-thought-out business plan can attract investors and people for crowdfunding. It also explains your concept to potential business partners. This increases your chances of spreading the word about your business and becoming successful with it. Part of your business plan will also be sorting out some places, where you want to settle down your bar.

Find location for bar

1.4 Finding the right location for your bar

Bars are very much dependent on where they are located. When it comes to choosing the right location for the pub, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much food traffic am I aiming for?
  • Who is my target group? What do my customers look like?
  • What is the average time, that my customers will spend in my bar?

After finding the answers to these questions, you will find yourself with a smaller range of options. Then you need to rack your brain on the following, most important points:

Style: Will you have a neighborhood pub or a casual one? Formal and elegant, or informal for a younger audience?

Demographics: Even the smallest city has different areas with different demographics. Depending on your target group, you will have to search for a location in a specific area. For example, if you are aiming for college students, you might as well need to open near a university. If you are aiming for a more formal bar, you might look around the more affluent parts of the town.

Accessibility and parking: The ideal state is when the pub is directly nearby the public transport and has parking lots around it. Especially parking should not be an issue. In any case, the best thing is when the location is in a big, crowded and very lively street, especially at night, because pubs and bars are something for the nightlife.

Zoning restrictions: Be careful when you find your location. Do not take any further steps before looking at zone restrictions. There are some areas in a city, where you can’t open a bar. Look that up to avoid making mistakes.

Rental and utility costs: Every location has its own rent and utilities. The cost estimation should be done in your business plan. You have to ask yourself, if you will be able to make this up with sales and if you can keep the bar going to a point, where rent and utility costs will not be a problem anymore.

You should consider talking to the local chamber of commerce. They can give you useful information on your trade market. Also, you might consider working with a real estate agent. He can help you find the best location with the most affordable prices.

Theme and Supplier Selection

2. optimizing the concept for your bar

Selecting a theme for your bar
After carefully planning and considering all the aspects of running a business, you now will need to reconsider your plan point by point and move to the implementation stage. By now, you should have registered your business and done all the legal paperwork. Because bars have higher legal risks than other businesses, you should ensure that all the paperwork is done correctly. You can also seek professional advice so that you are completely on the safe side.

2.1 Deciding on a business name and logo

While many people think that this point is not that important, a memorable business name and a good logo for your bar are crucial and play a big role in the success of the bar and its identity. The name should be original, creative, memorable, and representative for your business. Most importantly, it should be unique and not already registered by anyone. To check up, if the name is already taken, you can research the secretary of state’s website.

Besides the brand’s name, a logo that matches the name is also extremely important. Also, bear in mind that both name and logo must match the interior design of the bar. They should all be harmonizing together.

Another point is creating a website for your business. Nowadays, marketing businesses on social media is the new normality. Therefore, you should attach great importance to social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, etc. Your websites should offer all information about your business, the staff, the complete menu, the opening hours, and a link for reservations. Even the websites should esthetically match the brand’s name, logo, and design.


2.2 Finding reliable suppliers

Especially when it comes to opening a bar, finding good suppliers for your alcohol and other offerings is utterly important. You should be looking for the highest quality for your alcohol. Go to your neighboring bar owners and try getting some information from them. They may refer you to their suppliers. Also, take some time to do your research properly and create a list with all suppliers, that come into consideration, and create a business budget for them. Then you can get in touch with them for business requirements. See which ones suit you and your expectations and sort them out.

Do not forget to check on online suppliers. They often offer discounts and other saving options but beware that they are not always trustworthy. So, before you purchase something online, you need to know the following points about a supplier:

  • How long has the business been going?
  • What is the minimum order amount?
  • What are the payment terms? Also, read the fine print.
  • Do they have any quality assurance processes?
  • How did other business partners or buyers evaluate them? Do they recommend this supplier?

Whenever you talk to a supplier, be aware that he should be willing to work with you. For that, he should fully understand your business idea and needs. If you do not feel comfortable with a vendor, move on, and look for another one. Also, do not be afraid to ask for a look into their production process, to assure yourself that they are producing their products with your quality standards.

Another important point is the paperwork. Whatever you decide on with a business partner, write that in a contract and sign it both, you and your vendor. This way, you stay on the safe side and all your rights are preserved.

Interior Design for your Bar or Pub

3. designing the bar and final touches

Interior design for bar
Now, we stressed the fact often enough, that the brand’s name, logo, and interior design should be harmonizing with each other. They should be matching in color and style. But when it comes to designing the bar, there are more things that should be taken into consideration.

3.1 Using the space wisely

Before you start worrying about the bar station or anything else, you have to start thinking in a bigger dimension. Look around the room and think about where you want to set up the desks, stairs, and all that in a way, that you use the space you have as much as possible, but still have enough room for movement.

3.2 Adjusting the bar station

Think carefully about where you want to set your bar station. Take into consideration that the bartenders and staff have to move around in a way that they do not get in each other’s way. For this sake, and when the space allows it, you can even set up several bar stations.

According to the style of your brand, the bar tops can be made of glass for a more modern style, or they could be made of wood for a more classic and elegant style. Every material has its benefits, but also its drawbacks.

3.3 Setting the right atmosphere

A bar is where people come together for drinking, talking, or celebrating. It is meant to be a welcoming space for socializing with people who know each other, and even those who do not know each other. For this sake, the atmosphere should be set right. To create a comfortable and positive atmosphere, it is not only important to have a staff with positive energy, but also to adjust the design and decoration accordingly. Elements, that make up a good atmosphere are:

  • Making the place more alive and natural by hanging beautiful pictures and setting up vases with flowers or green plants
  • Opening the windows more often, to let fresh air enter the room
  • Choosing the right music and the right volume
  • Choosing the right lighting, that matches the theme of the bar, but is also pleasant for the human eye

3.4 Being innovative

Always bring in elements, that make your bar different from all the other ones. This might be a little dancefloor or a stage for a disco or any other special event. You might also set up a beautifully decorated wall for taking pictures. All these tiny details create memories and make customers want to come back more often. Be creative!
serve awesome drinks with modern bar equipment
From measuring cups to elaborate mixers, we offer numerous products that you can use to prepare and mix delicious drinks.
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To Sum Up

4. summary - how to open a pub/Bar

How to open a pub

In summary, you should consider the following different aspects for opening your bar:

  • Own concept
  • Business and financial plan
  • Financing your bar opening
  • Formation formalities & permits
  • Marketing & staff
  • Insurance, accounting & software
Frequently Asked Questions

5. faq -  how to open a pub/bar

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