BartendingFood & Drinks

How To Set Up a Bar for a Party (The Ultimate Guide)

How To Set Up A Bar For A Party

You have decided to throw a party and want to ensure your bar is fully stocked and ready for the big event. Becoming the host with the most is not difficult or expensive.

You will need a few key elements to set up a bar for a party so that you and your guests can enjoy yourselves without having to worry about running out of supplies.

To set up a bar for a party, you have to:

  • Know the type of party you’re throwing
  • Choose a location for your bar
  • Make a list of drinks you want to serve
  • Prepare the drinks ahead of time
  • Stock the bar with all the supplies you will need
  • Set up the bar to look inviting and attractive to your guests.

In this guide, we will go over each of these steps in detail, the supplies you will need to set up a bar for a party, and some tips to ensure your bar runs smoothly all night long.

Setting Up a Bar for a Party

Setting up a bar for a party can be a great way to impress your guests and ensure everyone has a good time. But before you start stocking up on booze, there are a few things you need to do to get your bar ready.

1. Know the Type of Party You’re Throwing

Know The Type Of Party You’re Throwing

The first step to setting up a bar for a party is knowing the type of party you are throwing.

This will determine the location of your bar set up, the kind of drinks you will serve, and the atmosphere you want to create. Are you throwing a casual backyard barbecue or a formal dinner party?

Once you know the type of party, you can move on to deciding on the location.

2. Choose a Location for Your Bar

Choose A Location For Your Bar

The best place for a bar is usually near the food so guests can grab a drink and a bite to eat simultaneously. If you have a buffet, set up the bar close to where the food will be, so guests don’t have to go too far to get what they want.

If you’re having a sit-down meal, you might want to set up the bar in a separate room so guests can socialize before or after the meal. This is also a good option if you’re worried about noise levels during the meal.

3. Make a List of Drinks You Want To Serve

Make A List Of Drinks You Want To Serve

Once you know the type of party you’re throwing and have decided on a theme, it’s time to make a list of drinks you want to serve at your bar.

If you’re unsure what kind of drinks to serve, a good rule of thumb is to have a mix of alcoholic and non-alcoholic options, as well as some light and refreshing choices for those who don’t want to drink alcohol or are driving.

Some popular drinks to serve at a party include:

  • Mojitos
  • Margaritas
  • Pina Coladas
  • Daiquiris
  • Sangria
  • Gin & Tonic
  • Beer
  • Wine
  • Champagne
  • Non-alcoholic punch or sparkling cider

Some things to keep in mind when making your list of drinks:

  • The type of party you’re throwing (formal or casual)
  • Your budget
  • The number of guests you are expecting
  • Any dietary restrictions or allergies your guests might have

Once you have a list of drinks, you can move on to the next step: preparing the drinks ahead of time.

4. Prepare the Drinks Ahead of Time

Prepare The Drinks Ahead Of Time

This is an essential step if you want to make sure your bar runs smoothly and your guests can get their drinks quickly.

There’s nothing worse than being at a party and having to wait forever for a drink.

There are a few different ways you can prepare drinks ahead of time:

  • Make a big batch of punch or sangria and put it in a dispenser so guests can help themselves.
  • Pre-mix cocktails in pitchers or bottles and store them in the fridge.
  • Set up a drink station where guests can mix their drinks. This is an excellent option if you have a lot of different kinds of alcohol and mixers. Ensure you have all the supplies (including ice) set out and ready to go.
Editor’s Tip

If you’re short on time or not a big fan of preparing drinks, you can buy pre-made cocktails or mixers. Just check the labels to see how much alcohol is in each drink so you can adjust your bar accordingly.

5. Stock the Bar

Stock The Bar

Now it’s time to stock your bar with all the supplies you will need.

This includes things like:

  • Glassware (rocks glasses, highball glasses, wine glasses, beer glasses, shot glasses)
  • Ice
  • Mixers (fruit juice, soda, tonic water, seltzer water)
  • Garnishes (lemons, limes, oranges, cherries, olives)
  • Straws
  • Napkins
  • Shakers
  • Strainers

You will need wine glasses and a wine opener for a wine tasting party. And for a beer tasting party, you will need beer glasses and a bottle opener.

6. Set Up the Bar

Set Up The Bar

Once you have all your supplies, it’s time to set up the bar.

If you’re having a small gathering, you can probably just set everything up on your kitchen counter or dining room table.

If you’re having a larger party, you might want to set up a more elaborate bar in your basement, garage, or back patio.

Here are a few tips for setting up your bar:

  • Make sure the glasses are clean and dry.
  • Chill the glasses in the fridge ahead of time.
  • Put ice in a cooler or bucket so guests can help themselves.
  • Set out all the mixers, garnishes, and straws.
  • Have a trash can or garbage bag nearby for empty glasses and bottles.

Best Practices To Make Sure Your Bar Runs Smoothly

Let’s face it, setting up a bar for a party can be stressful. But with some planning and preparation, you can ensure your party goes off without a hitch.

Here are a few best practices to keep in mind:

  • Make a list of all the drinks you want to serve.
  • Prepare as much as you can ahead of time, so you will not be stuck making drinks all night long.
  • Choose a location for your bar that is convenient for your guests.
  • Stock the bar with all the necessary supplies, including glasses, ice, mixers, garnishes, straws, and napkins.
  • Set up the bar in an easy way for your guests, such as putting all the glasses in one place and all the mixers in another.
  • Make sure you have enough alcohol for your party by quickly calculating.
  • Have a trash can or garbage bag nearby for empty glasses and bottles.

Conclusion

Setting up a bar for your next party doesn’t have to be stressful. With some planning and preparation, you can ensure your bar runs smoothly and your guests have a great time.

Just remember to make a list of drinks ahead of time, prepare as much as possible in advance, choose a convenient location for your bar, and stock the bar with all the supplies you need.

For best bar practices, setting up your bar in an easy-to-use manner and having a trash can or garbage bag nearby will help to keep your party running smoothly.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many drinks for 100 guests?

A general rule of thumb is to calculate two drinks per person for the first hour of the party and one drink per person for each subsequent hour. So, for a four-hour party with 100 guests, you would need 400 drinks.

How do you entertain guests at a party?

There are a variety of ways you can entertain guests at your party. Some ideas include hiring a band or DJ, setting up a photo booth, or hiring a professional bartender to make custom cocktails for your guests.