Open bars tend to get the party going and keep it going late into the night, but make it much more difficult to control costs. Let’s look at some pricing options and then we’ll talk about different ways to control costs from both the bars perspective and the hosts perspective.
An open bar, also called a host bar, is where the host pays for all the drinks. Since attendees aren’t paying for drinks, they aren’t as concerned about abandoning them, forgetting them or having a few more than they would if they were paying themselves.
Open bars are priced either by the hours, the bottle, the drink, or the person.
- By the drink is the most simple option. We ring up each drink at a predetermined price and then charge the host the total bill at the end of the event.
- By the Bottle Charging by the bottle means we will bill you a set fee for each opened bottle of liquor, wine and beer.
- By the person We will be charging a set price per person per hour.
What to serve at an open event bar?
With an open bar, it’s important to very clearly establish what’s included. Shots or shooters are the most frequent potential source of problems. If a host is paying by the drink or by the bottle and tequila shots get popular then the bill can go up in a hurry. By the same token, if the event bar service is charging an hourly rate, shots can quickly destroy any profit in the event.
One effective way to control costs for the host at an open bar is by limiting the options available to guests. An open bar with top-shelf liquor is appropriate for some events, but it’s essential everyone’s aware of the cost involved.
For weddings and similar events where the host wants to have an open bar without spending a small fortune, you could choose to limit serving to wine and beer.
If you’d like to offer some other option for guests that don’t like wine or beer, choosing a specialty drink or two is a popular option. This could be something relevant to the theme of the event, or just something the hosts particularly like.
A combination bar is a combination of an open and a cash bar. Combination bars are good choices for hosts that want to treat their guests, but want to control costs or liability by making sure nothing gets out of hand. There are a few different ways to handle a combination bar.
In this scenario, the event bar is treated as an open bar for a set period of time (usually an hour or two) and then it goes back to a cash bar. This makes it easier to control costs for all parties and still gives the guests plenty of options. This is best used when you expect that the attendees will be fairly responsible as there is the potential to abuse this by people drinking as much as possible in the allotted time period to avoid buying drinks when it the event bar reverts to cash.
Alternatively, you could give out a set number of tickets to each attendee and transition to a cash bar once all the tickets are used. This is an another way for the host to control cost and is much more difficult to abuse then doing it by time. This works well for more corporate or professional events.
This is where the host agrees to pay for all drinks up to X dollar amount and after that it reverts to a cash bar. This lets costs be controlled very strictly but still lets the host treat the guests and get the party going.
Contact us and we will work with you to make this an amazing experience for you and your guests.