Who doesn’t love spending quality time perched at the bar? For many, it’s the ultimate balance between getting all dolled up for a super-special occasion and ‘putting on the trackies at home. You always feel appropriately dressed, there’s always a different bar to explore, you can chill out quietly or get a little rowdy, and everyone just loves the vibe of their perfect drinking and munching spot.
It’s no surprise, therefore, when someone is getting into the bar business – but there’s an awful lot to think about. There’s the permits and licenses, the investment, the location, the business plan, the brand, the decor, the glassware, the fridges, the inventory, the point-of-sale system … and on and on and on.
With all of that going on, it can be more than easy to miss some of the detailed, hidden or ‘secondary’ equipment items that can actually make a great bar great – and reveal the flaws of those who don’t sweat the small stuff. That’s why we’re not going to talk about the major items that you’ll find on any good bar item checklist, but the smaller, less obvious things that will really make your bar stand out from the crowd. Luckily, you can purchase them all at a reputable seller like RS Components.
Any bar can prioritise cocktail supplies but still forget all about the muddler. Ask a cocktail specialist cocktail artist to create a cocktail featuring fresh fruits and herbs, though, and they’ll definitely be reaching for their favourite one. What is a muddler? It’s like the chef’s pestle – but this one is just for cocktails. Infuse those fruit and herb flavours by mixing and smashing (otherwise known as muddling) them into the recipe. You don’t want to sip a caipirinha without one.
2. Bottle brush
You don’t want to be the bar on the block that overlooks hygiene and cleanliness. Yes, it’s all about health and regulations, but also about the image of your establishment. And whoever is in charge of making everything spick, span and shiny will need a decent selection of bottle brushes in their armoury. No, not just the one in your kitchen drawer at home, but a full selection – because bottle brushes aren’t exactly going to break the bank. Grab one for your straws, one featuring silicone or sponge bristles for the more delicate items, a nylon variety or something even tougher for those caked-on nooks and crannies, and any others you need to reach where your hands won’t allow.
3. Paring knife
When your cocktail artist is producing your favourite tipple, they’ll want to reach for a proper paring knife to skilfully work away on the fruit. Sure, a normal peeler might do the trick, but a paring knife is perfect for your brand. It’s also highly versatile – just ask a skilled user to core an apple with one. Remember, the paring knife is a bit like the chef’s knife … but especially for your bar staff.
Before you say “obviously”, hear us out. Yes, you want your glasses to be varied and reflect the quality and uniqueness of your brand. But there’s something extra special about getting exactly the glass that was designed exactly for your chosen menu item, so it pays to go a little over-the-top in this area. So alongside the obvious usuals, make sure you have Collins glasses (taller/narrower than highball), Zombies (for the colourful drinks), quality rocks glasses for the perfect neat serving, Coupe glasses to make strained cocktails look their best, and Snifters for those drinks who really know what they’re doing to capture those spirits’ ideal aromas.
From bottle brushes to paring knives, cocktail picks to premium ice trays, corkscrews to wine savers, jiggers to shakers, stocking up your bar can seem overwhelming. But taking your time to research all the options that are just right for your bar and brand can actually be fun, rewarding and one of the most important investments you’ll ever make. Good luck!