The type of bar you decide to open influences the size of the space you need and other costs to open and run a bar correctly. Here are a few bar options you can consider:
Dive bar: A well-worn bar that usually skips the frills is also known as a dive bar. The name of the game here is simplicity and authenticity, rather than overworked decor and fancy cocktail lists. At a dive bar, guests can enjoy cheap drinks and relax. The biggest costs drivers are size and seating.
Sports bar: If you’re drawn to a large space, filled with TVs, flavorful wings, and a wide selection of beer, opening up a sports bar could be your calling. Sports bars are usually found in dense areas of a city and serve as a great spot where large groups can meet up to watch a game or hang out. Beer is the primary focus for sports bars, but many also have liquor and wine. There is often food at a sports bar as well. Sports bar owners focus their spending on space, seating, and entertainment factors that include TVs, pool tables, and dartboards. Most sports bars have busy hours that align with games, so food prep is another major cost driver.
Wine bar: A wine bar is an elegant establishment where people can come enjoy a variety of wines and light appetizers in smaller groups. The focus of the wine bar is usually on the bar itself, with limited seating. Your staff is a huge cost because you need to hire sommeliers and other specialists trained in wine.
Cocktail bar: Known for their hyperlocal environment and mixologists that craft exquisite masterpieces, cocktail bars have become wildly popular to open up. Elements of a cocktail bar include a small bar, stocked with high-quality liquor and funky additives. Limited seating space creates an intimate vibe, alluding to exclusivity. Most cocktail bars only serve liquor and have a selective wine list. While you may reap the benefits of renting a smaller space, the interior design and ingredients are important in setting the mood in a cocktail bar.
Nightclub: A nightclub is an establishment for nighttime entertainment like live music, DJs, and dancing. You should look for an outsized space that can generally accommodate a larger group of people. Nightclub owners spend a good portion of their money on decor, lighting, and the amount of employees needed to run a club. In most cases, a nightclub requires the most funds when getting off the ground.
Your dream bar could also fall somewhere in between these categories, and that’s okay. The most important thing is to determine your target market and then understand what elements you need to make that bar successful.