Throwing back an ice-cold one at a neighborhood pub is a tradition as old as time ‚Äî and a profitable one at that. The U.S. bar, tavern and nightclub industry tops $26 billion in sales revenue annually. But if you plan to open a club or a place that serves spirits, you‚Äôll have to make a considerable investment before realizing those revenues. Read on to learn how much "real" cost to open a bar can be.
Factor in the following one-time and ongoing expenditures when evaluating how much it will cost you to open a bar:
Factoring in the above criteria, it can cost you a minimum of $125,000 to open the average rented/leased bar or $175,000 to open a bar you purchased. Ongoing operating costs can run you at least $20,000 per month after that. However, it's important to keep in mind that these are averages. The location, size, and bar concept (e.g., full-service bar, sports bar, brewpub, etc.) can profoundly influence these costs. For example, you can buy an established bar in a small town for as little as $20,000. Similarly, the price of opening a brewpub in a big city, for example, can rise to $1 million because specialized equipment is needed to make the beer on-site. If the costs above are beyond your budget, know that making a solo investment in a bar isn't the only option for starting your business. Investing in a bar with a group of individuals allows you to share the start-up and operating costs and day-to-day stresses of running the establishment. The other benefit of joint ownership is that it spreads your risk. Should the bar not succeed, you will have only lost a fraction of your investment.
There are a multitude of licenses and permits you must obtain from your state and municipal government to operate a bar. These licenses/permits and their associated costs vary widely by location, but the most common ones are listed below: