Posted on: September 7, 2023

Starting a Bar: How to Open a Bar With No Experience

How to Open a Bar With No Experience

Opening a bar sounds like a dream to anyone who’s a master mixologist and loves meeting new people. But it can also be a daunting task, especially for those who have never worked in the hospitality industry. The good news is that with careful planning, research, and a willingness to learn, you can successfully open a bar even without prior experience.

In this article, we’ll provide you with a general checklist on how to open a bar and provide valuable insights on how to get started with little to no money.

Research and Planning

Before diving right into the bar industry, you should first conduct some thorough research and create a comprehensive business plan. Here are a few key steps to consider:

Market Analysis

Study the local market and identify your target audience. Determine if there is a demand for a bar in your area and analyze your potential competitors. Analyzing the market can also help you evaluate the pricing strategies of existing bars. You can determine the average price range for drinks and food items, helping you set competitive prices that attract customers while ensuring profitability.

Concept Development

Create a unique concept that sets your bar apart from others. Consider the ambiance, theme, menu, and target customer preferences. Everything should mesh well together and keep people wanting to come back over and over again.

Licenses and Permits

Research the licenses and permits required to operate a bar in your locality. These may include liquor licenses, health permits, entertainment licenses, and more. Contact your local licensing authority for detailed information.

Location and Space

Finding the right location is critical for the success of your bar. Consider the following factors:

Foot Traffic

Look for an area with high foot traffic, such as a bustling downtown or a popular nightlife district. Ensure that your target customers frequent the area.

Size and Layout

Assess the size and layout of potential spaces. Consider the capacity, bar area, kitchen space (if applicable), storage areas, and restroom facilities. Optimize the layout for a smooth flow of customers and staff.

Lease Negotiation

Negotiate favorable lease terms, including rental costs, lease duration, and any clauses related to renovations or modifications.

Licensing and Regulations

What do you need to open a bar? There’s actually quite a bit of legal requirements and documentation that are necessary before opening. Here are a few steps to keep in mind:

Liquor License

Apply for a liquor license well in advance, as the process can be time-consuming. Familiarize yourself with the requirements, fees, and application procedures specific to your area.

For example, obtaining a liquor license in Texas requires following specific procedures and meeting certain criteria. A general outline of how to get a liquor license in Texas to open a bar is as follows:

  1. Determine the license type.
  2. Meet eligibility requirements.
  3. Complete a TABC-approved alcohol seller/server training course.
  4. Submit application and documentation.
  5. Pay any application fees.
  6. Background check and investigation.
  7. Await approval.
  8. Get your license.

Health and Safety Compliance

Ensure that your bar meets all health and safety regulations. This includes obtaining necessary permits, adhering to fire safety codes, and implementing proper sanitation practices.

Music and Entertainment Licensing

If you plan to offer live music or entertainment, research the licensing requirements for playing copyrighted music or hosting performances in your establishment.

Setting Up the Bar

Once you have secured a location and obtained the necessary licenses, it's time to set up your bar:

Bar Equipment and Supplies

Purchase essential bar equipment such as glassware, refrigeration units, bar stools, POS systems, and sound systems. Consider buying used equipment to save costs.

Inventory and Suppliers

Establish relationships with reliable suppliers for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as food items, if you plan to serve them. Negotiate favorable terms and consider bulk purchasing for better pricing.


Hire experienced and reliable staff members who are passionate about the industry. Look for bartenders, servers, cooks (if applicable), and support staff. Make sure everyone meets the eligibility requirements to work and provide proper training to meet customer service expectations.

Marketing and Promotion

To attract customers to your bar, you’ll need to implement a strategic marketing plan. Below are some of the ways to properly market and promote your bar:


Develop a compelling brand identity that resonates with your target audience. Create a unique logo, signage, and website that reflect your bar's concept and values.

Online Presence

Utilize social media platforms and online directories to promote your bar. Engage with customers, share enticing visuals, and announce special events or promotions.


Collaborate with local businesses and influencers to increase your bar's visibility. Offer partnerships, sponsor events, or host community gatherings to establish your presence.


How Do You Open a Bar With No Money?

Opening a bar with little to no money might be a bit of a challenge, but it’s not impossible. After all, you need to spend some money to make money. Here are a few ways you can still open the bar of your dreams with minimal upfront costs.

Seek Investors or Partnerships

Look for potential investors who are interested in the bar industry or people who believe in your concept. Make a solid business plan to showcase your vision and potential profitability. You can offer equity in your bar in exchange for financial support. Additionally, consider partnerships with individuals who have experience or resources that complement your own.

Secure Loans or Small Business Grants

Explore options for obtaining loans from banks, credit unions, or other financial institutions. Prepare a comprehensive business plan and demonstrate your ability to repay the loan. Additionally, research small business grants that may be available from government organizations, non-profit organizations, or industry-specific programs.


Use crowdfunding platforms such as GoFundMe or Kickstarter to raise money for your bar. Create an engaging campaign that highlights your unique concept and offers attractive incentives for contributors. Post your link on all of your social networks and engage with potential backers who are interested in supporting local businesses or the hospitality industry.

Start Small or Mobile

Instead of your classic bar, start with a smaller-scale operation or consider a mobile bar concept to minimize upfront costs. Some examples of this include operating a pop-up bar, a food truck with bar services, or partnering with an existing establishment to host bar nights on specific days. A small bar will allow you to still generate revenue and gradually expand your business.

While opening a bar with no experience or little funds may seem challenging, it is entirely possible with the right mindset and tools. Take the time to understand the industry, comply with all legal requirements, and research a unique concept that appeals to your target audience.

By following the steps in this checklist, you can fulfill your dream of opening the hottest bar in town.

Opening a bar also means you and your employees should be properly trained to sell and serve alcohol. Check out our options to get your staff TIPS certified on our website today!