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Equipment for a Bar: The Ultimate Checklist

Organising a business can be chaotic, but having a detailed list of your bar requirements can make the path to success much smoother. Beyond the basics of bar glasses or cocktail shakers, we have provided a list that guarantees your customers’ satisfaction and the ease with which your employees can offer stunning drinks. By following this list, we will have your bar up and running smoothly in no time.

What Equipment Should a Bar Have?

The essential bar equipment list focuses on bartending tools and equipment and what is needed to create the perfect ambience. It must not be forgotten that bars also require technology for functionality and security.

We have narrowed the list of equipment for a bar to 15 essentials, which are:

  1. Bartending tools
  2. Glasses
  3. Ice machine
  4. POS system 
  5. EFTPOS terminal
  6. Accounting system
  7. Security
  8. Health and safety equipment
  9. Bar mats
  10. Cleaning supplies
  11. Glass rack
  12. Glass washer
  13. Lighting
  14. Furniture
  15. Signage and menus

Where to Find Bar Equipment?

When searching for the right equipment for your bar, there can be an overwhelming amount of choices. However, creating a set of requirements for yourself can narrow your search focus:

  • What is my budget?

  • Do I need brand-new equipment? Can I lease any?

  • What type of environment do I want to create?

  • Am I offering food? Do I need kitchen equipment?

  • What kind of drinks am I offering?

  • What is the size of my customer base?

For those interested in building their own ultimate bar equipment checklist, we have provided a strong foundation below. You may add more to your list, but these tools and equipment are vital for your bar to run smoothly and successfully. 

Bar Accessories

No bar is complete without the essential equipment for making drinks. While beer or wine glasses are all that’s needed for most patrons, those interested in mixed drinks and cocktails will require more specific equipment.

1. Bartending Tools

Liquor is the foundation of any bar, but bartenders require more than ingredients to keep the drinks flowing. Specific tools and equipment are necessary to pour the correct liquor, mix cocktails, and provide for customers’ needs from behind the bar. 

While high-quality equipment may be your first thought, durability and accuracy are just as vital. Your bar staff will require tools to last through even the busiest shifts while maintaining perfect pours.

These tools can include:

  • Cocktail shakers and strainers

  • Bottle openers

  • Bar spoons and muddlers

  • Liquor pourers

  • Cutting boards and knives

  • Jiggers

  • Juicers

  • Peelers

  • Rimmers

The drinks you have on your menu will prominently dictate your equipment needs. Thus, it may be advisable to create a drinks list before seeking out equipment, so you know exactly what you need.

2. Glasses

When serving drinks, every beverage requires its very own glass. This applies to more than just beer, which can be served in middies, schooners or pint glasses depending on the size the customer wants. 

Rather, different types of cocktails will require specific glasses for their presentation:

  • Highballs for drinks needing lots of ice.
  • A rock or lowball glass for spirits.
  • A coupe or margarita glass for salt rims.
  • Hurricane glasses to show off colourful tropical drinks.

Wine glasses of various sizes should also be considered, as well as short and tall glasses for mixed drinks. Knowing your drinks menu and potential clientele ahead of time will inform your decision on suitable glasses.

3. Ice Machine

Essential for keeping a bar’s drinks cold, an ice maker creates sizable ice cubes that can be directly placed into mixed drinks, used in a cocktail shaker, or made into crushed ice for decoration. Ice makers are used far more than ice cube trays due to the amount of ice bartenders will require daily.

It is also common to buy buckets with the ice machine, as it is rarely kept within the bar but often at a distance in the cellar or storage. You will need the size of your reliable ice maker before buying and in what area of your bar it should be installed.

Software and Tech

You will require several pieces of software and technological equipment to keep the bar running, track data, process payments, and much more. These are all vital to acquire before opening day, and will often make managing a bar far easier.

4. POS System (Optional)

Every business needs a Point of Sale (POS) system to process and track customer orders. You must find a POS system that suits the type of establishment you are running. 

For example, you may save on staff costs by providing QR codes for customer orders. Alternatively, you may want to give a more intimate experience through table service, requiring a portable POS system with a tablet device. 

Regardless of your choice of equipment, your POS should also be capable of performing administrative tasks, inventory management, and even tracking customer engagement. 

Choosing a POS with these features will make managing your bar far easier. 

5. EFTPOS Terminals

You will also need a payment terminal that provides fast and reliable EFTPOS services. When assessing EFTPOS machines, you may need to evaluate their ability to integrate with external POS providers. This will further ensure that your bar operations run efficiently.

Your EFTPOS terminal should also facilitate a wide range of payment options to provide the best experience for your customer. While debit, credit and contactless transactions incur a small merchant service fee, it is vital to provide customers with flexibility in payment options to avoid disruptions. 

If you’re worried about paying such fees, you should consider Smartpay’s Zero Cost™ EFTPOS, which passes on the cost of processing certain transactions to the customer through a small surcharge. 

By choosing Smartpay’s credit card reader as your payment terminal, you can eliminate fees by offering a surcharge on card transactions.

6. Accounting Software

With a bar business, staying on top of your accounting can be hard. While you can track inventory and employee hours with a POS system, you may need an accounting system to manage your full finances. 

By tracking cash flow, inventory, invoices and stock loss through one system, there will be fewer human errors and much less work for you as an owner.

7. Security

With expensive bottles of alcohol and possible cash on the premises, it is vital for bars to have sufficient security measures. Installing security cameras and alarms are a must, which local security companies can provide. 

8. Health and Safety Equipment

The hospitality industry places a lot of weight on employee and patron safety, with extensive legislation written to back up this intent. Your bar equipment list must include health and safety features outlined by this legislation, as well as any others you see fit to ensure your establishment is sanitary.

9. Bar Mats

It is not uncommon for the space behind the bar to be tiled or covered in floorboards. While this surface is easy to clean, it can cause a slipping hazard for employees when wet. That is why bar mats must be used in areas susceptible to spills. 

Before buying this equipment, you should measure the space for fitting the mats. The mats you choose should be not only suitable for a wet environment, but also durable.

10. Cleaning Supplies

Keeping a bar sanitised is integral for everyone’s health, which can be done through a list of cleaning supplies. Cleaning chemicals can be bought in bulk from sanitary companies and utilised by the staff for various reasons. 

These can include:

  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Hand soap
  • Bleach
  • Detergent
  • Surface cleaner
  • Over and grill cleaner
  • Glass washing liquid

You will also need equipment like spray bottles, towels, rags, mops, brooms, and more to utilise these chemicals for cleaning.

11. Glass Rack

Keeping a bar sanitised is integral for everyone’s health, which can be done through a list of cleaning supplies. Cleaning chemicals can be bought in bulk from sanitary companies and utilised by the staff for various reasons. 

These can include:

  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Hand soap
  • Bleach
  • Detergent
  • Surface cleaner
  • Over and grill cleaner
  • Glass washing liquid

You will also need equipment like spray bottles, towels, rags, mops, brooms, and more to utilise these chemicals for cleaning.

12. Glass Washer

Often installed behind the bar for ease of access, a glass washer cleans and sanitises the equipment used by bartenders. While this usually refers to bar glasses, it can also be used to clean other bartending tools. 

Washing glasses by hand is too slow for a bar and needs more sanitisation offered by the combination of glass washing liquid and boiling water. If placed behind the bar, you will require to not only measure the space to find a washer that fits but also place it in a way that does not block employees’ path to the customers.

Environment

Your bar’s environment will be one of the first things your customers notice when they walk through the doors. The lighting and furniture can set the mood and make your establishment more inviting. The choices you make should reflect your brand and fit neatly into your bar’s space.

13. Lighting

Choosing your lighting should be done to set a certain mood. For example, dimmer and warmer lights make the space feel more intimate and/or cosy. 

Lighting should also clearly mark certain areas of your bar, with neon or fluorescent lights indicating the bathroom, gaming room, exits, etc. This will stop your patrons from getting lost.

14. Furniture

Most bars have similar furniture sets, using bar stools, benches, outdoor seating and sometimes armchairs or couches if the style fits. However, you should choose your furniture based on:

  • The number of people you are licensed to seat.
  • Disability access.
  • The style you want.
  • Whether or not the equipment is within your budget. 

The furniture should be comfortable for your patrons whilst also durable for a bar’s inevitable wear and tear.

15. Signage and Menus

The signage displayed in and outside your bar should not only advertise your brand but also guide your customers. Exit signs should always be clearly labelled, but bars legally require mandatory signage for liquor and gaming to be displayed. Your state government provides the full list, and you must place the signs following their instructions.

Additionally, even if your bar does not serve food, it is beneficial to have menus on the tables or at the bar. This will give customers an idea of what drinks and food you will have on offer. Printing your menus with a design and full information about each menu item will also make your goods more appealing.

 

What to Consider When Investing in Bar Equipment

Whether you are finally taking that step to open a bar, or are just looking to update your current stock, there is plenty to consider before investing in bar tools and equipment.

Quality of Goods

Before purchasing equipment, whether it is as small as a bar spoon, or as important as new bar furniture, it is important you consider its quality. 

While you do not need high quality equipment throughout your entire business, it is important to invest that little bit more on tools and equipment that will be used often, or require high durability. Cheap equipment may keep you within budget, but constantly replacing these items can add up.

Business Concept

The business concept of your bar is what makes it stand out from its competition, while also stating its brand. The equipment you buy should reflect your bar’s unique selling proposition, which may be built in strainers for your specialty cocktails, or disposable cups if you are a takeaway bar. Even your style of furniture should line up with your business concept, which may take some time and effort to find.

Financing Options

For those requiring some extra money upfront to invest in new bar tools and equipment, there are financing options available, including:

  • Equipment loans: Created just for equipment needs, these loans are both accessible and affordable, even for those without high credit scores. This is because they can use the equipment as collateral.
  • Credit card: A credit card specifically for your business is useful for various ongoing or immediate costs, but the interest rates, terms and fees will be dictated by your lender. For a bar owner, it is best to look for ones with low interest rates and terms that suit you.
  • Lines of credit: Similar to a credit card, this option gives you a set credit limit to spend for your business. You will have to pay off the balance left over, but this option is beneficial for bar supplies and ongoing costs.

Your lender or bank may offer additional financing options for your business. It is best to discuss your options before deciding on what works best to acquire bar tools and equipment.

How Smartpay Can Reduce Overheads for Your Bar

At Smartpay, we are dedicated to providing bars and restaurants with an EFTPOS solution that suits their business. Our Zero Cost™ EFTPOS solutions work to reduce overheads by automatically passing on your merchant fees to customers, letting you put the savings back into your business! 

Smartpay is trusted by cafes, bars and restaurants across Australia, who are saving thousands on EFTPOS fees

If you are interested in saving on your cafe’s merchant fees and terminal rental for your coffee shop equipment list, you can begin today by enquiring online.

Want to know more about surcharging?

If you’re keen to learn more about how surcharging on EFTPOS works, or what you could save, find out more about SmartCharge. To talk about how surcharging could work for your business get in touch with the team at Smartpay.