March 17, 2020

Opening a bar in your restaurant can greatly enhance the dining experience. That said, operating a bar requires planning ahead and purchasing all of the supplies and equipment you’ll need. Full-service bars need supplies ranging from shot glasses to brandy snifters to citrus juicers.

Also, you must plan on replacing broken or worn-out items which happens quicker than you think. Maintaining inventory is essential for keeping the drinks flowing and your customers happy.

Assembling everything needed for a full or partial bar might be more difficult than you think. That’s why we have compiled this list of all the essential gear that every bar should have.

Does My Bar Need Everything on This List?

The essential supplies for your list depend on your bar’s business model. For example, restaurants with beer and wine bars won’t need supplies for making cocktails. Any restaurants with full-service bars need most of the items found here.

Relax, maybe pour yourself a drink, and think carefully about which of these essential bar items are must-haves for your business.

Glasses

Any drink looks better when served in the proper glass. Here are the most popular glasses found in most restaurant bars:

  • Pint glasses
  • Rocks glasses
  • Shot glasses
  • Beer mugs
  • Wine glasses
  • Champagne glasses
  • Martini glasses
  • Highball or Collins glasses
  • Mixing glasses
  • Cordial glasses
  • Brandy snifters
  • Mint julep mugs

Bar Tools

Giving your bartenders the right set of tools is crucial. The supplies on this list will help keep your staff and customers happy.

  • Jiggers
  • Muddlers
  • Straws and stirrers
  • Cocktail shakers
  • Cocktail strainers
  • Cocktail spoons
  • Citrus juicers
  • Coasters
  • Cap catchers
  • Liquor bottle pourers
  • Bottle and can openers
  • Wine openers
  • Bar mats
  • Bar towels
  • Containers for garnishes and bitters
  • Ice buckets
  • Ice cube trays and ice molds
  • Garnishing tools
  • Muddling supplies
  • Napkins & coasters
  • Cutting boards

Bar Furniture

Most restaurant bars have upscale furniture to offer distinct ambiances from main dining rooms. The number of furnishings you’ll need depends largely on your space. Some furniture to consider:

  • Bar stools
  • Backless barstools
  • Swivel barstools
  • Ladderback barstools
  • Cocktail tables
  • Pub tables
  • Wall booths

Refrigeration

Every bar needs reliable refrigeration units for keeping drinks cold and ingredients fresh. Your list should include:

  • Beer coolers
  • Coolers for wine and champagne
  • Extra cooler for mixers/garnishes/beer glasses

The Good Stuff – Alcohol & Beverages

Bars that lack basic beverage ingredients won’t last long against the competition. Plan on stocking your bar with a wide range of liquors and liqueurs.

Alcohol

You will want well liquors and top-shelf brands of these basic alcoholic beverages:

  • Vodka
  • Tequila
  • Scotch
  • Whiskey
  • Gin
  • Rum
  • Bourbon

Liquers

These liqueurs are essentials for mixed drinks and cocktails:

  • Irish Cream
  • Amaretto
  • Coffee Liqueur
  • Vermouth
  • Orange liqueur

Non-Alcoholic Mixers

Demand is on the rise for non-alcoholic beverages. Include these juices and ingredients to stay ahead of the curve.

  • Orange juice
  • Cranberry juice
  • Lemon juice
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Lime juice
  • Pineapple juice
  • Tomato juice
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Sour mix
  • Bitters
  • Milk
  • Half & half or cream
  • Syrup
  • Grenadine
  • Club soda
  • Tonic water
  • Cola and diet cola
  • Ginger Ale
  • Red Bull
  • Lemon-Lime Soda

Final Thoughts

Now that you know what you’ll need for your bar, the next step is finding the best prices on equipment and supplies. Food Service Exchange offers incredible deals on overstock, discontinued, and scratch & dent equipment and supplies from leading manufacturers. Whether you’re starting from scratch or replenishing your inventory, check the FSX marketplace for discounts you won’t find anywhere else.

To see our latest deals on bar equipment, click here.