The Essential Bar Equipment Checklist

Here's everything you'll need for setting up your bar. We've got you covered with the essential bar equipment and supplies checklist.
Apr 11, 2022 — 4 min read
The Essential Bar Equipment Checklist

What’s inside

  • A list of everything for your new bar, all in one place.
  • Considerations to keep in mind as you get set up.

This article is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal, employment, or tax advice. For specific advice applicable to your business, please contact a professional.

What do you need to run a bar?

After going through the process of nailing your bar business plan, registering your business, acquiring licenses, determining your financing, and finding a location, you’re ready to take the next step and build out your space. But where should you start and what are your options? 

Having a well-equipped, connected, and easy-to-manage bar is essential to setting up yourself, your staff, and your business for success.

Here is the Square checklist for all of the hardware and tools you should consider to get up and running.

what you need to run a bar

Download a PDF of the checklist here

Bar office supplies


It can be easy to forget about these basics when you’re starting out and focused on fine-tuning your operations, but planning ahead will help your operations run smoothly while avoiding surprise expenses.


You might not need a traditional break room, but consider spaces dedicated to your staff. Giving employees an area to unwind with amenities — even small ones like comfortable chairs and a stocked fridge — is a nice step to attract and retain talent.

Behind-the-bar setup, bartending tools, and equipment


The specifics here will vary depending on the type of bar you’re running, but this initial list can get you started. For larger expenses, such as a refrigeration setup, consider whether it makes more sense to track down used equipment or if it’s worth investing more money in something new.


Before you get up and running, consider all the additional supplies you may need. Think about whether you plan to serve food, make specialty drinks involving specific tools, or offer takeout options.

Bar point-of-sale (POS) system


Whether it’s a stand for your tableta mounted POS, a small mobile terminal, or a full register, your point of sale system is so much more than a tool for the essential task of processing payments. The best POS nails the basics while streamlining administrative tasks and tracking everything from sales reporting to customer engagement to inventory management. Here’s how to get started choosing the one for you.

bar s3


Visit our Square for Restaurants POS Demo page to see how we make running a bar easier.

Bar ambiance: Lighting, stools, and seating


The quality of your drinks and service will play a large role in creating repeat customers, but people also connect with bars because of the space itself. Consider what design elements will align with your brand and what additional touches are within your budget.


Have the budget to amplify your space a bit more? Small things can make a huge difference in retaining customers.

“For some reason, it sounds nuts, but having the plants that we have feels so welcoming the moment you walk in,” WTR Cooler Studio owner Ivana Cajina said. “And I know I may be biased, but there’s something about it. Every time someone walks in they go, ‘Whoa.’ Because you don’t expect it. It just feels good.”

Bar marketing materials


While physical marketing tools aren’t essential items for your bar business, you should consider whether they’re useful for the business you’re starting and if they fit inside your budget. While digital marketing can be highly effective, a new bar can get a boost from these items.


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