Cocktail Stars set up mobile bars, all over the UK, but we are also involved as bar consultants to help bar owners set up or re vamp their bars.

Firstly, there are so many different aspects you need to take into account and a process in which you would need to follow.

The first thing you will need to do, is decide on the type of the bar you want to own. This will change the customers, location, prices and everything else. For example you wouldn’t build a night club out in a tiny little village in the middle of nowhere, this would bring no custom and would close within weeks if not days. So always consider location and type of bar above anything else. There are four main types of bar; the local pub, the higher class cocktail or wine bars, the night clubs or a sports bar. The bar you chose will change how you go about setting it up and the hours you work once the bar is in place. But no matter the bar type you will have to devote a large amount of time to it in the early stages.

Building your Bars Brand

The bar will of course then need a suitable name, fitting for the location and genre the bar will want to belong in. When thinking about a name you will need to make sure it fits the demographic of consumer you want, for example don’t call it “ye old oak” if it’s a night club for teenagers in a city centre.  The main reason the name is so important is because people will judge you by your name and your ethos and their expectations before they arrive in the bar.

Bar Expenses

A sustainable amount of income will be needed from a existing job or some form of income from previous or current business’ this is mainly because you will need capital for the;

rent/ purchase price,                     large marketing scheme,              accounting,

security,                                            miscellaneous expenses,               staffing,

lease hold improvements,            legal services,                                   insurance,

equipment,                                       fixtures permits,                               inventory to sell (stock),

deposits on utilities,                       payroll.

Try to plan for the costs for all of this in advance, then save for the cost but also plus 10% of the original calculation. The main reason for this is so you aren’t as weakened by any unexpected costs that might pop up when you are in the first stage of the bars openings.

Running a bar

Then the final thing you need to plan ahead of is the overall bars methods of sales. Coverings things like closing times, opening times, what drinks you would sell, prices, local fails and local successes method of sale. You can never do too much research and when it comes to opening a business because it is a career on the line and could make the difference between a one million pound turn over or a downtown ex bar derelict.

Location, Location, Location

Now that you have everything set up it’s about time to actually buying the bar in the desired location. There are usually a few business’ you can buy out in the area. This will enable you to have all the necessary things in place when it comes to instillation and opening the bar. However, it will make you venerable to running into decline like the business that was there before you, because after all, if that was such a good place why did they sell out? you could always rent a old shop out but would it be big enough? Then finally there’s the more common option of renting a unit or office building out and converting it. The landlords tend to be a bit cautious of this method. However, if you have a valid business plan and can sway them around they usually let it slip for a higher price so long as they can see it making money in the future.


Bar fittings

When you have your bar in place you will need to get it revamped to fit the style and needs of your brand. Try to keep it as classy as possible no matter what the brand is because no one likes a horrible old fashioned bar. While the bar is being redone go and make sure the licences are all in place. you will have at least a month to get out and finalise everything and bars cant open until this is done.


Once all the foundations are in place, you will need to recruit staff. The staff you pick will make or break your bar because if they’re unfriendly or annoying people may not want to drink there. However, if they’re honestly amazingly down to earth people, then the customer would feel at home being in your bar and would stick around for longer or even come more often. The staff recruitment will range from security to cleaners to bar staff themselves to make sure the bar runs smoothly and make sure the clientele keep coming in.


The final thing you will need to do in the preparation stage is the logistics work. Seeing what drinks you can get from what places and how you’re getting them into your bar. This could be anything from a keg of beer to a cordial lime for cocktails, try to get the best balance out of quality and price you can and ensure there is a measurement system in place when serving the drinks so you don’t lose out on money.

Bar Launch

Once this is all complete you are ready to open but there are still things you need to do while the bar is open. A perfect way to get the opening of a bar started is a opening event, make it sound spectacular and make sure you have entertainment playing all night, even if there’s hour gaps the entertainment. It needs to be there in the beginning and be there at the end to keep the punters in the bar buying drinks all night. When it comes to events always try to budget a third of your predicted profit to be able to make sure you make a profit on the night.

Try to get famous or popular people in, if you have any friends who are even slightly famous get them in there. This will straight away get people wanting to go in. There’s no better advertisement then word of mouth when it comes to a bar because everyone talks about their nights out. Then the final thing to do which is optional but always good is to get yourself your own unique symbol or image, for example Baa Bar in Liverpool is a rather large yet relatively new nightclub/bar that uses a teddy with Baa Bar written on it in pink. Everyone always gets pictures with this teddy or dances with it on camera and then posts it on their social media because they think it’s funny. This means free advertisement for the bar  and its social media trend which in Liverpool is now known throughout the city even though the bar hasn’t been there much longer then a year. If you’re going for a bar or a night club try and get something unusual in there to be able to spark a conversation and get free advertisement.


For bespoke bar consultancy and unique, actionable strategies contact us about setting up your own bar.