Startup Costs: $50,000 - $100,000
Franchises Available? No
Online Operation? No
If you own this kind of place you can expect to know many of your regular customers. As on the TV show "Cheers," you may find yourself taking phone messages for customers or cashing their paychecks. It's because of the friendly "home away from home" atmosphere that neighborhood bars are successful. Some of these pubs open as early as 6 a.m., and they sometimes close earlier than other bars--depending on the clientele. This type of bar is perfect for small-scale entertainment options, such as darts, pool tables, video games and jukeboxes. If you're thinking of owning a neighborhood bar, you might consider starting out with a beer and wine license first, and then moving on to a liquor license later if the business warrants it. You may or may not want to have a kitchen or extensive food menu, again depending on your concept and your customer. Some neighborhood taverns offer sandwiches for the lunch crowd and appetizers in the evening, but no dinners. This avoids the need for a restaurant license and cuts down on costs. Across the country, this is probably the most popular type of bar you'll find. There are many neighborhood bars out there, but you might find that there is room for one more in your area.
When creating your neighborhood bar concept, keep in mind the people you'd like as customers. Contact the local chamber of commerce or SBA to get information on age, gender, income level, marital status, and political and religious affiliations of your target market. You bar's concept may go in a totally different direction if you're in a college town with a high percentage of young, single students than if you're in a quiet, conservative suburb populated with families. Once you've established your bar, how can you get the neighborhood to come? Generate word-of-mouth buzz through direct-mail campaigns, developing a Web site or getting involved in community events and charity functions.
Once you have your location selected and have gotten the necessary licenses, you will need to decide how to layout your bar and what equipment you'll need, including: glassware, compartment sinks, glass racks, taps and dispending systems for beer and soft drinks, cooler for beer kegs, freezer, ice bins, ice machine, ice pick, ice scoops, dishwasher, storage cabinets and display shelves. You may also need kitchen equipment if you're offering food items and machines for making coffee drinks. And don't forget the beer, wine and liquor!