Are you ready to stand out from the crowd with your bar or bar restaurant? The secret to success is brilliant bartending. Sure, you can use quirky bar names and essential marketing when opening your bar. However, brilliant bartending is a long-term strategy that drives results when customers enter your bar. Marketing and bar names will only take you so far. And, of course, for brilliant bartending, you need some high-quality bartending tools.
Bar spoons, bottle openers, a cocktail strainer or two, and cocktail shakers are all essentials if you want successful bartending. With the correct tools, there’s no limit to what your bartenders can learn and create.
You must evaluate your menu and decide what your bar will offer. A word of advice, though: customers expect cocktails at most bar venues. Don’t cheap skate on buying bartender tools by skipping cocktails from your menu because you’ll likely just backtrack later.
With us so far? Fantastic. In this guide, we’ll give you a realistic rundown of equipment you absolutely need to make your bar successful. With this bartender toolbox, you’ll stand out from the crowd easily.
Ah, the nemesis or soulmate of every bartender - the complex cocktail. Cocktail making is a fine art and definitely a process that you perfect over time. However, excellent cocktail-making pays off in dividends for bar owners and bartenders. You are likely to make more in tips with fancy, eye-catching, and delicious cocktails.
Similarly, bar owners can charge more for cocktails to account for the different liquors and time to make them. Plus, customers flock to places with cocktails. You really need to get your cocktail scene up and running. So, what tools does a bartender need for cocktails?
Let’s take a look at the essentials. We’ll briefly summarize each piece of equipment, its average cost, and its function. You may need a couple of each.
A cocktail strainer is an absolute must. You can pick budget-friendly strainers up for as little as $5 on websites like Amazon. Or you can splurge on more upscale products for over $40. It is to remove any fruit or ice you have shaken into the cocktail mixture. You pour the mix out of the shaker and through the strainer to get the ‘final product’.
Cocktail shakers are the be-all and end-all when it comes to cocktail making. Shaking cocktails is the iconic way of creating a perfect drink. Honestly, without a shaker, you won’t get decent cocktails, let alone brilliant ones. Luckily, you can pick one up for around $10.
Finally, you need measurement tools - there are better cocktail-making methods than eyeballing ingredients. You can pick up little measuring cups and spirit measures for as little as $4-6. You should purchase a couple for good measure.
Now that we have cocktail-making equipment, what do you need in a general bartender tool kit? There are tons of bartender tools that you can invest in. In this section, we’ll introduce you to the best possible choices - assuming you already have basics like beer taps.
- Cocktail shaker, cocktail measurement tools, and strainer
To recap the equipment we listed above, this iconic trio is your cocktail starter pack. You’ll need all three to serve cocktails at your bar or bar restaurant. These pieces of equipment allow you to mix, calculate, and ‘polish’ your cocktails - serving a smooth, tasty final product.
Bottle openers are a must when running a bar, as they allow you to open beer and cider bottles. And funnily enough, these are also something that constantly go missing. You’ll want a large collection of bottle openers when running a bar. Aim for at least one per bartender. Luckily, they only cost a few dollars each.
- Bar spoons and tasting straws
Bar spoons and tasting straws are also cocktail equipment but non-essential. If you have specialist cocktails on your menu and really talented staff, they are worth the purchase. If you are shaking up a margarita or espresso martini here and there, these two equipment pieces aren’t essential.
Ice buckets are an absolute must when serving champagne and select wines. They are also handy for quickly grabbing ice for cocktails. You should always have enough ice buckets to match your number of tables.
Last but not least, corkscrews are a must-have bartending tool. If you serve wine, you’ll need a corkscrew or two. Not every bottle is a screw top.
What about bartender measuring tools specifically? We have briefly spoken about measuring cups for cocktails, but what are the general measuring tools bartenders require? Let’s take a quick look.
You typically buy cocktail jiggers in sets of three, ranging in size from 0.5 to 2.5 oz. Each little jigger has a fill line to show bartenders how much mixture to put in. They look like hourglasses, with a funnel shape at the top and a funnel-shaped base at the bottom. You can get individual jiggers as cheap as $2 per piece.
Measuring cups are bigger and better for quick drinks rather than intricate measuring. Measuring cups might be the bartender’s go-to, depending on the recipe and beverage of choice. For instance, an espresso martini has a lot of coffee - too much for a jigger measurement. This would be a great time to use a measuring cup.
Thimbles are more popular when measuring wine than anything else. Rather than the hourglass shape of the cocktail jigger, these come in cylinder shapes. Typically, these come in 125ml, 175ml, or 250ml to match the wine measures. You can get smaller if you want, though.
Finally, carafes are for those who want larger measures of wine but not quite a bottle. These glass bottles look like a vase and are super easy to ‘eyeball’ amounts. A standard carafe typically holds 750ml of wine.
Now that you know all about the essential bartending tools and equipment, the critical follow-up question is what to budget. Some bartenders’ tools are absolute must-haves, and some are only sometimes 100% necessary. If you know your budget and what everything will roughly cost, you can see which bits of equipment you can cut.
We would budget $200-300 on bar equipment, not including more structural equipment like bar taps. That’s not to say you can keep costs much lower; some build ridiculously cheap DIY bars. You can always steal some of their budgeting ideas to keep prices low or shop for secondhand equipment. It helps to avoid over-budget so that you can purchase extras for things like corkscrews and bottle openers. It is better to buy more upfront than to run out later and have to buy out of your budget.
Running a bar is a juggling act, so while you worry about bar equipment, there are other things to consider. Bartending tools aren’t the only tools that can boost your business - are you utilizing your WiFi? Beambox’s elite WiFi platform helps you get marketing value every time a customer joins your WiFi. Start your Beambox free trial today. We can set up a captive portal and WiFi system that gets fantastic results with no further input from you.
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