How Much Does it Cost to Open a Bar?

If you’ve ever had dreams of establishing your own watering hole where ‘everybody knows your name,’ there are a lot of factors that play a role in the cost of opening a bar. From purchasing or leasing the building space to spending money on a grand opening, business plans and startup costs for a bar vary greatly in regards to location, neighborhood, theme, stock and miscellaneous expenses.


The type of bar that you open will greatly affect costs. There are five main types of bars to consider: neighborhood pub, sports bar, microbrewery, beer/wine bar, and nightclub/restaurant. Start-up costs and other considerations include [1]:

Your local neighborhood pubfrom $100,000 to $500,000 depending on the size/design of the bar and the neighborhood.

Sports bar – from $150,000 to in excess of $1,000,000. The cost of a sports bar is significantly higher because of the satellite television service, plasma screen monitors, and sound/media systems that go into creating the atmosphere.

Beer and wine bar – Less start-up capital is required to open up a beer and wine bar because the space needed is smaller than other types of establishments.

Restaurants and nightclubsFrom $75,000 to the several million dollar range – depending on the overall concept, location, space required, and inventory costs.

Inventory costs for a bar depend on the size of the establishment and can start between $15,000 and $20,000 for a smaller neighborhood pub.

Other average costs of expenses to consider include [2]:

  • Rent (security deposit and first month): $6,000
  • Renovations and improvements (heating/air conditioning, electrical, plumbing, painting, carpentry, sign, flooring, smoke detectors): $10,000 to $65,000
  • Equipment and fixtures: $40,000 to $200,000
  • Licenses and permits: $40,000
  • Beginning inventory: $30,000
  • Phone and utility deposits: $300
  • Payroll: $5,000 to $20,000
  • Grand opening marketing: $2,000
  • Legal services: $750
  • Accounting: $500
  • Insurance: $400 to $2500

Another important factor to consider when opening a bar is location. Bars opened in highly frequented neighborhoods and popular cities will cost more. For example, bar costs for downtown Los Angeles, California and Manhattan, New York are more than bars opened in downtown Boise, Idaho.

Sources:

[1] http://www.endeavorlegal.com/EL_bar_restaurant_nightclub.htm

[2] http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/41460-3

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