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How To Open a Bar

Have you always dreamed of opening a bar? Somewhere for people to kick back and unwind while enjoying a drink, a game, or some live music? A bar can be an exciting business venture, but of course, it requires a bit of know-how to get off the ground.

We’ve put together this simple guide for how to open a bar to help you get started and hopefully make your dreams come true!

Planning and research

Before starting a bar, you should research the kind of bar you want to open as thoroughly as possible. This includes checking state laws concerning hours of operation, service of alcohol, and more. Some states require a license fee for opening a new establishment that serves alcohol. There may also be laws in place that limit how late a venue can stay open.

If you’re serious about opening a new bar, it’s best to start conducting research as early as possible. Getting a head start on planning will help you when it comes time to actually set up and start running your bar, allowing for an easier process long term.

During this stage, you’ll likely also want to decide on the type of establishment you want to run (if you don’t already know). Do you want to run a bar that also offers food, entertainment, karaoke, sports broadcasts, or live bands? Would you like there to be a space for dancing? These are all questions you may want to ask yourself to figure out the type of bar you wish to run.

Decide on a name

A name can evoke a certain feeling or vibe. Before opening a bar, you’ll need to decide what you want it to be called! Choosing a name can be tricky as it represents the business as a whole. At this point, you may also want to set up your Australian Business Number (ABN). When opening a bar in Australia, you’ll need to have an ABN.

Get financing if you need it

If you don’t have enough money to pay for everything upfront, you’ll need to obtain finance. To do this, approach a commercial bank or other private lending institution about potential loans. You might also be able to apply for government assistance such as grants and small business loans.

Choose your location

Secure a location for your bar by checking out commercial properties for lease or buying a venue for the business. If you buy, decide whether you want an existing building or bare land for construction of a customised building. If you lease, make sure the terms and length of the lease are to your liking. It can be tricky to relocate a bar once it is established, so finding a place that is in the right area is important.

Set up your establishment

Now that you’ve identified a location and obtained finances, it’s time to set up your business. This includes putting in any necessary fit-outs for your venue and ordering stock and equipment. You should have already decided on the type of establishment you wish to run, and as such, should have a basic idea of what is needed.

Hire and train staff

Once your bar is fully-equipped, you can then hire and train staff. The type of staff you need will depend on the kind of bar you wish to run. You’ll need front-of-house staff such as bartenders, and behind-the-scenes employees like dishwashers. If you will be serving food at your bar, you may also need waiters and cooks. Of course, each person working within your bar will be required to hold a valid Registered Service of Alcohol certificate (RSA) to legally work in the space. An RSA can be obtained from an RTO accredited establishment such as Express Online Training.

It’s also important to decide whether you want to hire part-time or full-time staff and what your pay rates will be. You may also need security personnel. Remember, any employees you hire must be registered for tax and superannuation and given payslips.


Promoting your bar effectively may seem difficult and possibly even a little daunting, but putting in the effort early can have fantastic results for your new business. You will need to do some intensive marketing in order to get people interested in your business and what you have to offer! When thinking of marketing ideas, you may like to consider distributing flyers in suitable local areas, running a few social media ad campaigns, or connecting with other local businesses for promotion.

Run your bar!

When opening a bar, you’ll need to decide the role you wish to play in the running of the establishment. Do you want to simply be the owner and hire management to keep everything in check, or would you like to have a more hands-on approach to the management of the venue?

Once you have successfully opened your bar, it’s important to keep up with industry standards and regulatory requirements. For example, you’ll need to make sure all staff are fully qualified RSA holders and know how to handle isolated incidents or emergencies. You will need to keep on top of bar inventory, and may like to consider hosting events of nights to attract more patrons.

Is it difficult to open a bar?

This is a question with many different subjective answers. The degree of difficulty you find with opening a bar will depend on your knowledge, research capabilities, and previous experience. If you have a lot of experience in hospitality and the bar industry, then you’ll probably find the task of owning a bar easier than someone who has little experience in the area. Those without bar or business experience may find it a little trickier to open and run a bar, however, with enough research you should be able to figure things out. You may also like to contact a business consultant to provide you with some advice.

Opening a bar can be an interesting venture. Figure out what you want to do, look for the right location, secure finances, and make sure your staff members are appropriately trained. Market your business effectively, comply with regulations, and provide an enjoyable environment that people will love to keep coming back to!


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