Bar Open SignI thought it would be a good idea to put a list together of the equipment needed to set up a basic mobile bar for an event. It’s not difficult to set up a bar and doesn’t take very long to do, but it’s really easy to forget a couple of crucial pieces of equipment, which can be a really frustrating discovery – especially once the event has started.

So I’d suggest using this as a checklist when buying, hiring or borrowing equipment and then on the day when preparing the bar. Not everything here will be relevant and will mainly depend on the types of drinks being served.

– Area to store clean glasses
– Area to store dirty glasses
– Bin for recycling broken glass and empty bottles
– Bin for rubbish
– Blender
– Blue roll/kitchen towels
– Bottle openers (easy to misplace on the day)
– Chopping board and knife
– Cloth for mopping up spillages
– Cocktail shaker
– Corkscrew (a good one)
– Decorations for the bar top and a display on the back bar (behind the bar staff)
– Drink napkins
– Electric sockets or extension lead for blender, till and additional lighting
– Glasses (a range of sizes and styles)
– Glass washer
– Ice buckets (one for ice cubes and one for crushed ice)
– Ice tongs (tip: avoid scooping ice with glasses – if a glass breaks into the bucket then you’ll have to throw it away)
– Jugs
– Long spoon
– Menus and signs
– Pens and pad
– Protective waterproof flooring in front and behind the bar (tape down to prevent anyone from tripping over)
– Stirrers
– Strainer
– Straws
– Till with money and spare change
– Trays

Planning the bar
When planning, position the bar in a convenient area that is easily accessible and will not become congested with guests.

Make sure you remember to create areas to hide things that don’t need to be on show to guests like dirty glasses, bins, mobile phones, wallets and keys.

Keep drinks cool
If you have a couple of spare fridges then great! Alternatively, organise large bins or cool boxes filled with cold water and ice. To make the serving process quicker use separate bins for beers, white wines, sparkling wines and soft drinks.

Prepare for service
Before the event:
– loosen the foil on the Champagne bottles
– remove and replace corks on the white and red wines
– cut lemons and limes into slices and wedges and prepare any garnishes for cocktails, like twists of oranges.
– fill the ice buckets.

If I’ve missed anything, please help by adding your suggestion in the comment box below. Thanks


Michael Chidzey is the chief juicer of eventjuice and runs Event Organiser, an event company based in London, UK. He also founded the digital marketing agency Good Signals, blogs on several websites and is a visiting lecturer in events management at London Metropolitan University.Follow Michael on Twitter @michaelchidzey
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