The Bar Purchasing Guide


Make smart decisions when purchasing equipment for your Bar. Learn about the equipment you will need, typical costs, and where are the best places to buy it.

Required Equipment and Materials


Most bar owners will need the following equipment to get started. However, keep in mind that different bars require various equipment:

 

  • Alcohol ($5,000 - $10,000)
  • Coolers ($1,000 - $8,000)
  • Kegerator ($1500 - $3,500)
  • Glass Washing Equipment ($2,000 - $5,000)
  • Underbar Sinks ($200 - $600)
  • Glass Bar Racks ($200 - $750)
  • Soda Guns ($205 - $500)
  • Furnishings, barstools, tables, and chairs ($3,100 - $8,000)
  • Glasses, beer, wine, shot, water, etc. ($100 - $250 per set)
  • Ice Machine ($250 - $2,500)
  • Liquor Display Shelves ($50 - $300)
  • POS System ($500 - $2,000)
  • Sound System ($700 - $2,000)
  • TV System ($200 - $500 per TV)
  • Modem and Router ($100 - $200)
  • Bar Smallware, blenders, speed rails, pourers, etc. ($10 - $50 per item) 


You should expect to budget between $30,000 to $40,000 for initial purchasing expenses. 

Sample List of Purchases

A typical person looking to purchase equipment for a bar might make the following purchases:

  • Assorted alcohol ($8,000)

 

  • Tables & chairs - $2,000

 

  Grand Total: $22,932 

Key Decisions


Choosing the right appliances is an extremely important buying decision when starting a bar. You may be able to save money by purchasing certain appliances used, but it is important to ensure that they are fully-functional and in good condition. Also, keep in mind that a new energy efficient appliance may cost more up-front, but it can save you money on your future utility bills.

Typically, it is easier to order large appliances online since most stores do not carry the specific equipment you will need.

Here are some of the most important buying decisions that your bar business will have to make. We outline the key considerations you’ll need to keep in mind when making these purchases and provide some popular options.

Considerations When Purchasing Coolers

Your bar coolers should have adequate storage and be easy to access, not simply the cheapest option. You have many options when it comes to selecting coolers for your bar. Make sure to mix it up, though. When selecting your bar coolers, remember that they should reflect the theme of the bar. For example, a sports bar usually has multiple transparent back-bar coolers to display their alcohol selection.

Display Cooler

This cooler is exactly what is sounds like, a refrigerator beneath or above the bar counter for easy-access storage and alcohol display.

Non-Transparent Cooler

This cooler can be located on top of or beneath the countertop. Since the doors are not glass, these coolers function solely for storage.

Walk-In Cooler

This cooler is essential for back-room storage. Not all your alcohol can be in the bar area, especially the extra kegs. Size determines the cost of the cooler, so make sure to know the layout of your bar before you make this purchase.

Wine Cooler

If you sell wine, you will need a wine cooler. These coolers are unique to wine, allowing more space for other alcohol in your other coolers.

Considerations When Purchasing a Kegerator

A kegerator is both cost effective and looks professional. However, they do take up a lot of room both under the bar counter and with keg storage. Before you purchase a kegerator, make sure you know the theme of your bar. Most sports bars and brew pubs have multiple kegerators, while clubs may only have 1-2 taps. A kegerator can come in various sizes.

Single Keg Kegerator

Large Keg Kegerator

Considerations When Purchasing Glass Washing Equipment

Although automatic glass washing equipment is not necessary, it will save you valuable time and the bartender’s hands from being constantly destroyed by water and cleaning chemicals. Automatic glass washers can slide directly below the bar countertop next to the sinks and storage coolers.

Undercounter Glass Washer

Pay attention to the temperature and racks per hour features. No customer wants to drink from a warm glass, and you don’t want to buy a glass washer that washes at a rate of five racks per hour.

Considerations When Purchasing Sinks

Underbar sinks are imperative for a bar. Even if you have a glass washer, you still need a sink to drain drinks and ice. Not to mention the underbar sink is often required by the health department. Underbar sinks come in various sizes, but the triple bowl underbar sink is by far the most common.

1-2 Bowl Underbar Sink

3-4 Bowl Underbar Sink

Best Places to Buy


Here are some resources for buying equipment and alcohol. Since you will need a lot of bar equipment, we recommend buying in bulk online. This will save you money and time. When purchasing alcohol, it makes sense to buy in bulk on a weekly fixed schedule.

Webstaurant

This website is a great resource for all kinds of equipment. It is one of the few websites that provides large appliances. It also carries janitorial and other everyday business supplies that you will need to purchase for your bar.

Bar Equipment

This site offers a large variety of bar equipment. It carries large appliances like coolers to bar smallware like bottle pourers. It also provides multiple brands so you can explore which brand makes the best appliances.

Buying Alcohol in Bulk

When shopping around for alcohol to stock your bar, it’s always a good idea to check with local retailers to see if you can negotiate a wholesale price. There are also a few online sources that offer discounted bulk purchasing: