How To Set Up A Bar For A Party

How To Set Up A Bar For A Party: 10 Surefire Tips

Last Updated on March 24, 2024 by Kimberlee Johnson

Are you ready to wow your guests with an incredible bar setup at your upcoming event? Awesome! In this session, we’re going to show you how to put together a remarkable party bar.

From the essential items you need to the optional extras that can make your bar pop, we’ll have you ready to start the party in no time. 

So get ready to mix, muddle, and shake your way to a memorable party. 

10 Tips On Setting Up A Bar For A Party

Bar Counter

1. Determine The Bar Location

Choose a spacious and accessible area with enough room for guests to move around and socialize. Ideally, the bar should be easy to find and away from the main traffic flow.

2. Provide A Variety Of Glassware

Stock your bar with different glasses to accommodate various drinks, such as wine glasses, cocktail glasses, highball glasses, and beer mugs.

3. Offer A Diverse Drink Selection

Provide a mix of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to cater to different preferences. Include a range of liquors, beers, wines, and soft drinks. 

Remember to have options for mocktails and non-alcoholic beers. Find out how to keep the boxed wine cold at your party here.

4. Have Sufficient Ice & Coolers

Ensure you have ample ice to keep drinks cold and use in cocktails. Invest in coolers or buckets to store ice and chilled beverages. But how can you serve ice at a party?

5. Prepare Garnishes & Extras

Slice fruits like lemons, limes, oranges for garnishes, and have olives and cocktail onions on hand. Set up small dishes with these extras for guests to use.

6. Stock Up On Mixers

Provide an assortment of mixers like soda, tonic water [1], ginger ale, cola, and fruit juices. Also, consider having simple syrup and grenadine for cocktail recipes.

7. Set Up A Self-Serve Station

Place the station in a convenient spot with a selection of beer, wine, mixed drinks, and all the essentials like cups, napkins, and bar accessories. 

If you’re expecting a large party, consider hiring a few bartenders to help out. 

Make sure to label each drink with its ingredients clearly and provide guests with a list of popular recipes.

8. Print Or Display Drink Recipes

Help your guests mix their favorite cocktails by providing a list of popular drink recipes on a printed menu or a display board.

9. Don’t Forget Lighting & Ambiance

Add fun lightings, such as string lights or LED candles, to create a comfortable and inviting atmosphere in your bar area.

10. Customize Your Bar

Consider decorations that fit the theme or mood of your event, such as signs, garlands, and props. 

You can create a unique bar menu, offer drink specials, and assemble a signature cocktail. 

Add a photo booth or other interactive element for a larger space to keep guests occupied while they enjoy their drinks. 


How Many Drinks Does Each Guest Get?

Hand Holding Glass of Cocktail Drink

Around two drinks per person for the first hour and one for each subsequent hour should do the trick. 

However, make sure to consider the duration of the event, the drinking preferences of your guests, and the variety of drinks you’re offering. 

“Drawn by warm nostalgic feelings for the place and by two sweet little words: “Open Bar.””

– Bill Geist, American Author

Plus, be prepared to adjust the amount depending on the atmosphere and energy of the party. 

Ensure to encourage responsible drinking and provide non-alcoholic options for designated drivers and those who don’t drink.

What Are Ways To Keep Your Bar Running Smoothly?

Throwing a successful party starts with having the right drinks. 

Stock up on top-shelf spirits, mixers, and garnishes for your bar, and create a menu of signature drinks to make the process easier for your guests. 

Be sure to have plenty of clean glassware and a designated area for dirty glasses. 

Assign a professional or skilled friend to tend the bar and help guests make the best choices. 

And, of course, remember to plan for enough ice storage to keep drinks cold all night. 

Remember to offer some non-alcoholic alternatives, too.

Also Read: How Much Should You Tip Your Wedding Bartender?


What kinds of drinks should you have in your bar?

A well-stocked bar should always include a selection of spirits, wines, and beers. It includes gin, rum, tequila, whiskey, or vodka. 

It is also wise to have a selection of mixers, like tonic water, soda, and juices, to create a variety of cocktails.

What is the most common drink ordered at a bar?

The most common drinks ordered at a bar are the timeless classics such as beer, gin, and tonic, which frequently rank among the top choices for patrons across various venues.

What is the most famous cocktail at a bar?

The original Margarita, created with tequila, lime juice [2], and orange liqueur, is the most famous cocktail. 

A popular variation of the Margarita is the Strawberry Margarita, made with tequila, lime juice, and strawberry puree.

What to avoid ordering at a bar?

Avoid ordering drinks high in sugar, such as sugary cocktails or sugary sodas like long island iced tea. 

Also, be mindful of certain alcoholic drinks with high alcohol content, as they can quickly lead to intoxication.

What should you order the first time you go to a bar?

Begin with a beer or a traditional drink like a gin and tonic or a margarita as a wonderful way to ease into the evening. 

You could also order something non-alcoholic, like a soda or juice, to get a feel for the bar’s operation.

Let’s Sum It Up

Creating the perfect bar for your next party doesn’t have to be a difficult task. 

With the right glassware, mixers, and drinks, your guests will have a great time, and you’ll be able to enjoy the party with them. 

So, grab your ice, stock up on your favorite drinks, and get ready to party.


Kimberlee Johnson
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