5 Cost Saving Tips to Planning a Bar Party

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  1. Honor The Guest

    Stay true to the guest of honor when picking a venue and theme. Even if that’s you! Don’t feel pressured to book the newest, hottest bar if you really just want a casual gathering at your favorite watering hole.

    If you approach your local haunt with whom you’ve built a relationship over time, they’re more likely to negotiate or go the extra mile for your party.

2. Flexibility Saves

The more wiggle room you have in your time and date, the more likely your venue will work with your budget and requests.

Have you ever walked by a bar that looked empty and thought, “…well if no one else is there, why would I go?” But when you pass a bar that looks welcoming and you can see people enjoying themselves you’re more likely to pop in. Consider a bar that is new or struggling for walk-in traffic. Negotiate a semi-private space that gives your guests room to mingle and can encourage walk-ins on off-nights.

Communicate during the RSVP process so your venue can gauge inventory and staffing needs. It’s also a courteous gesture to tag them in your online invitations and posts.

3. Crowd-source Decor

Ideally your venue’s aesthetic will naturally lead to a theme or fit the them you already have in mind. If necessary, supplemental decor ideas within your budget should also be inspired by the existing environment.

Warm and cozy during the winter?
Ask friends to lend you live plants, candles and throw blankets to personalize the space.

Bright and airy in the summer?
Take up visual space with plants and highlight existing furniture with colorful pillows or linens.

4. Menus

Does your venue have a kitchen or allow outside catering? Is it a brewery that is only licensed to sell beer or a cafe that is BYOB? Establish these basics early in your planning process so you can avoid a costly day-of panic.

Many restaurant and bar venues will require a Food and Beverage minimum. This generally means they want you to guarantee a minimum spend (i.e. $1000 for a private space for up to 20 guests). This doesn’t mean the event will cost $1000, but it means that you must at least spend that much. You can divide your estimated spend by the number of anticipated guests to get an idea if you plan to request a cover (i.e. $2500 estimated spend divided by 20 guests equals $125 per guest).

Feed your guests according to your objective. If mingling or dancing is your goal, keep it light with appetizers, finger foods and less-likely-to-spill glassware. If you promised dinner, deliver with food trucks, hot food displays, family style service or a mound of your favorite takeout.

Ask your venue if there is a personalization option available. The bar doesn’t have to invent a new drink but if they’re willing to rename a classic after the guest or host of honor, your guests will delight in ordering a “Dirty Thirty Martini” or “Sammy Mule.”