NewlyWeducated
Expert November 2016

Stocking the Bar

NewlyWeducated, on October 19, 2016 at 2:28 PM Posted in Planning 0 27
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Our venue is BYOB (as in bride and groom stock the bar, and their professional bartenders make/serve the drinks....not make our guests BYOB). We are wanting to provide a full open bar for our guests but don't even know where to start on what kinds of things would make up a fully stocked bar. This would need to include liquors as well as beer/wine, sodas, any garnishes, etc.

The only thing the venue provides is an actual bar and full bar-ware, and of course the trained/licensed bartenders. How do you predict what guests will want to order? Do you provide a limited menu of some kind? Tell me what you think is worth bringing!

27 Comments

Latest activity by Kate, on October 21, 2016 at 4:06 PM
  • Mrs. CK
    VIP November 2015
    Mrs. CK ·
    • Flag

    If I were you I'd do two beers, two wines and a signature drink. It will make it so much easier on you.

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  • NewlyWeducated
    Expert November 2016
    NewlyWeducated ·
    • Flag

    @MrsCK that's what I was leaning toward...and maybe doing 2 signature drinks, each with a different type of liquor? I just hate thinking I might pick something that my guests wouldn't love.

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  • Mrs. CK
    VIP November 2015
    Mrs. CK ·
    • Flag

    @Newly you could do that! I've seen signature drinks where the bride picked one and the groom picked the other.

    • Reply
  • OGJessieJV
    Master July 1867
    OGJessieJV ·
    • Flag

    If you are doing 2 signature drinks, do one rum based and one vodka based.

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  • OG Dianna
    Master March 2017
    OG Dianna ·
    • Flag

    For the two signature drinks, I would make one of them vodka based... I'm more of a whisky drinker, but I don't know about your guests.

    And for the wine, have a red and white. For the red, I recommend a Cabernet.

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  • Private_User832
    Master August 2017
    Private_User832 ·
    • Flag

    Id do a few different types of wine and beer and a signature drink - if budget isn't the issue then I'd stock up the liquor and have whiskey, gin, vodka etc for variety. Wine should at least have a white and red and rose in my opinion.

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  • kiandra
    Master October 2016
    kiandra ·
    • Flag

    Totally agree with @mrsck we are providing the alcohol for our wedding and its totally stressful trying to make sure you have enough so you don't run out. If I could do it all over again I'd do beer wine and his and her signature drinks and be done with it

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  • RJmargo
    Master May 2016
    RJmargo ·
    • Flag

    Id probably do kegs of 3 different types of beer. That way you cover those who drink domestic, those who drink lite and craft beer drinkers. If you go with two beers, then I'd do one light and one craft.

    For wine, I go with one red and one white. I think 2 signature drinks is a great idea. Maybe do one crowd pleaser (gin and tonic or Jack and Coke) and one slightly fancier drink.

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  • Emily381
    Devoted October 2016
    Emily381 ·
    • Flag

    We had to stock the hard alcohol ourselves. I will preface this by saying we went home with half of our hard liquor despite our MC making basically a running joke out of reminding the guests constantly that there's an open bar. We basically made a menu of one or two drinks per popular type of alcohol (vodka, whiskey, gin, rum): Mai Tais, lemon drops, washington apples, gin & tonic, Cape Cod, Screw driver, tom collins, and whiskey sours. And then the venue had sodas and some juices to use if the guests wanted something different like a simple rum and coke or cranberry vodka. Making a set menu (whether that menu consists of one drink or five) will definitely make it easier on you when buying things because you'll have set ingredients that you'll know you need. And then you're only concern is to make sure you have ENOUGH! My cousin had only one little dispenser thing with their signature drink (which was delicious) and they ran out before dinner and their beer and wine selection was running low soon after. There is no real sure science behind buying enough, but remember that having left overs is better than running out and having to close the bar!

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  • annette
    Just Said Yes March 2017
    annette ·
    • Flag

    We are doing the same thing as far as providing ourselves & hiring a bartender. Our bartender suggests bottles vs kegs for the simple reason that if the kegs are not emptied, they are much more cumbersome to cold store so you don't skunk the beer. She is still going to open/pour into cups (so we don't have a bunch of glass bottles all over the venue) and then we will have 3 types of wines (dry, semi & sweet). I don't drink wines except for the super sweets so I'm counting on my friends' preferences for purchasing wine. We will have a signature drink of Malibu Bay Breeze since most of my gal friends (& even some of the guys) like the sweeter drinks and a signature On The Rocks drink (venue policy says no shots so we are doing them over ice). As for liquors, I'm going on the preference of the bartender as to what she is best at making and what sells the most at her local bar. ---- Also, even though we are buying all the alcohol and paying the bartender a flat rate, she & multiple other bartenders I've spoken with, HIGHLY suggest a cash bar. No one has a problem w/ paying a little bit & since you're buying the booze (don't advertize this to everyone), you can charge less ($1/beer $2/liquor & wine), recoup some of your money. AND, when folks open their wallet to buy a drink, they're a lot more likely to tip the bartender so you don't have to on top of the fee.

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  • NewlyWeducated
    Expert November 2016
    NewlyWeducated ·
    • Flag

    Thanks everyone for your suggestions! Since budget isn't the issue here (alcohol is one of our "whatever it takes" items, haha) I was really wanting to do a great job with the full open bar!

    We're expecting about 140, and I'd rather have way too much leftover/too many options than not enough. I think for sure I'm going to do 2-3 types of wine (white, red, rose) and am leaning towards bottled beers (something light, a craft dark, and maybe a wheat ale) rather than a keg, just because I don't want to waste beer if it all doesn't get drunk. So now my question I guess is mainly just liquor types and mixers/garnishes.

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  • Erin Wood
    Master July 2017
    Erin Wood ·
    • Flag

    That's awesome! I would do full bar with an assortment of mixers. Get the liquor from Costco. You can get a handle of Kirkland vodka for $13 and it's pretty good. People could order vodka 7, whiskey and coke, rum and coke, vodka cran. Signature drink is definitely easy but I get bored drinking the same thing for hours. My reception is 5 hours and I know people will want variety.

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  • M
    Just Said Yes May 2017
    Michelle ·
    • Flag

    Does anyone know how long beer is good?I wanted to save and buy as we go

    • Reply
  • kiandra
    Master October 2016
    kiandra ·
    • Flag

    This is what I used as a guide this is for 100 people


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  • kiandra
    Master October 2016
    kiandra ·
    • Flag

    Sorry on mobile


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  • SoontobeSchultz
    Super June 2018
    SoontobeSchultz ·
    • Flag

    I would do two common types

    Of beer your guests will drink, wine ( not a wine expert

    But some kind of white and red wine?) and signature drinks. As long as the beer isn't refrigerated I think cases can be good for a while? If

    It's refrigerated it needs to stay that way.

    • Reply
  • NewlyWeducated
    Expert November 2016
    NewlyWeducated ·
    • Flag

    @Kiandria THANK YOU! something like that is exactly what I was looking for.

    @Annette I would venture to say that bartender may take that perspective just because they might get more random tips during cash bars...but I definitely won't be charging guests for drinks. I'll also tip my bartenders appropriately!

    • Reply
  • TaylorMade2016
    Super October 2016
    TaylorMade2016 ·
    • Flag

    Just an idea for you! We are getting kegs from a local brewery and they have to option of purchasing (with full refund of unused product) growlers for guest to take home leftovers. We are choosing a local craft and cider to keep on draft and then will offer a light beer and a variety of wines for guest to choose. We figured the growlers will be a nice favor especially if it's just going to go to waste after the fact. Not sure if that is an option for you, but something to look into if you're interested.

    • Reply
  • mimitrue
    Master January 2016
    mimitrue ·
    • Flag

    We had the same exact set up and we decided to offer 3 beer options, 2 wine choices vodka and Hennessey drinks as well as non alcoholic drinks of course.

    • Reply
  • Aida
    Expert November 2016
    Aida ·
    • Flag

    This is my open bar menu for reference


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