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Old 01-29-09, 02:02 PM   #1
permanentjaun
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Any bar owners here on BF? Got any advice?

I'm considering an eventual goal of owning my own bar. Do any of you guys own your own bar and have some advice?

I'm considering a very low key bar in terms of expenses. I'd like to recreate the experience of Oktoberfest in Germany.



Obviously I won't be able to recreate the scale of the event. I'd like a similar fashion of serving people. Bench seats and big wooden tables so that it's easy for people to get together and talk. I'd like to only serve beer and at most some wines. I'd prefer not to. Food will all be simple foods that can be made in bulk such as chicken, sausage, breads, chili, etc.. It'd all be bar food, but perhaps with some little flair here and there to set it apart from bar food you'd get elsewhere.

Perhaps, if space permits, a small house band to get people singing such as at this tent during Oktoberfest. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9bLr...eature=related

Hell, an actual bar wouldn't be completely necessary as the idea isn't for people to come to try exciting beers and food, but just enjoy a comfortable environment. Line the walls with flat screens and it can double as a sports bar. That doesn't mean the beer and food have to be bad, but I expect the bar to be successful for being a good time WITH good food and drink for good prices. It could be simple enough that the menu is verbal or painted on one of the walls.

What advice do you guys have? Are there different licenses for bars that will only serve beer and wine instead of hard alcohol as well? Anyone ever been to a bar like this in the states?
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Old 01-29-09, 02:04 PM   #2
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This is by far, the coolest bar I've ever been to. Of course, my experiences come from living in a college town, so I have to deal with that crowd...
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Old 01-29-09, 02:11 PM   #3
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The most successful business model will incorporate free drinks for foosters.
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Old 01-29-09, 02:14 PM   #4
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The least successful business model will incorporate free drinks for foosters. You'll go bankrupt in minutes.
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Old 01-29-09, 02:15 PM   #5
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karaoke and a dancing poll! the place will be packed!
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Old 01-29-09, 02:19 PM   #6
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Foosters are stalwarts in their support. Often facing grave danger as depicted here:


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Old 01-29-09, 02:21 PM   #7
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karaoke and a dancing poll! the place will be packed!
so we get to vote on teh kind of dancing?
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Old 01-29-09, 02:21 PM   #8
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The most successful business model will incorporate free drinks for foosters.
I like how you took out the part about going broke.

I would love to have odd drink specials though. I'm not a registered cyclist, but I imagine you do get a card for your USCA registration. Bring in your card and get one free drink. Did you finish a local race? Bring in your bib number and get a free drink. Who knows? It's meant to be a bar that grows locally by word of mouth as being known for being a good time and supporting the community.
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Old 01-29-09, 02:22 PM   #9
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so we get to vote on teh kind of dancing?
umm...I know what my vote is....that's why the pole is there.
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Old 01-29-09, 02:23 PM   #10
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You need to learn to be a "whiner"

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Old 01-29-09, 02:25 PM   #11
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The requirements are all over the map. You said low-key, and then went on to Octoberfest and/or sports bar.

Brew your own beer,
put in benches,
TV if you feel the need
some simple food,
does not have to be expensive to be good
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Old 01-29-09, 02:25 PM   #12
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umm...I know what my vote is....that's why the pole is there.
you lost an l and added an e. now I am confused.
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Old 01-29-09, 02:27 PM   #13
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Seriously, I'd look into that bar I posted. It has a great atmosphere and it's all about beer. None of that BS dancing on bars, pour-me-another-shot-of-whatever-doesn't-taste-like-alcohol-so-I-can-get-plastered crap.
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Old 01-29-09, 02:28 PM   #14
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you lost an l and added an e. now I am confused.
I'm on drugs at the moment...confusion is normal.
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Old 01-29-09, 02:30 PM   #15
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A few of these running around inside the bar would probably help sales:
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Old 01-29-09, 02:33 PM   #16
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You might check out the Flying Saucer if there is one in your area. They operate a bar in a very similar manner to what you describe. Its probably expensive to maintain so much import inventory, though.
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Old 01-29-09, 02:33 PM   #17
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It's a hard business.

DWI laws and overserving, serving minors, sell food or not to sell food, making money, etc etc etc AND after grand opening - keeping the customers coming in.

Worked for several bars, ran one bar/restaurant.

Most of my bosses agreed it takes 5 years to make money.

But it can be fun too.
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Old 01-29-09, 02:43 PM   #18
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The requirements are all over the map. You said low-key, and then went on to Octoberfest and/or sports bar.

Brew your own beer,
put in benches,
TV if you feel the need
some simple food,
does not have to be expensive to be good
You don't think that shot of oktoberfest exudes low key? They're all on bench seats. A sports bar to me is just a bar with enough TV coverage that you can catch the game from most of the seats. Some bars may have a tv or two, but that doesn't make them sports bars. Considering how cheap tv's are I don't think it'd be a big deal.
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Old 01-29-09, 02:43 PM   #19
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You need to learn to be a "yes-man"



Foosters are stalwarts in their support. Often facing grave danger as depicted here:

Dude...I didn't scroll down to see the caption on that pic and my first thought was, "Dude, is that whizz?!?!?!?!"
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Old 01-29-09, 02:48 PM   #20
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You might check out the Flying Saucer if there is one in your area. They operate a bar in a very similar manner to what you describe. Its probably expensive to maintain so much import inventory, though.
I've been to the Flying Saucer in Nashville. That seems even more of a high end bar than needed. Although, I certainly enjoyed the brats and beer at the place.

Essentially it'd be like an essentials only menu. If I had it my way I'd probably have one beer that I thought was the pinnacle of it's flavor. So only one hefeweizen, one ale and lager, only one stout, etc.. The food would be the same way. Do you want chicken, sausage, beef, etc?
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Old 01-29-09, 02:49 PM   #21
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You don't think that shot of oktoberfest exudes low key? They're all on bench seats. A sports bar to me is just a bar with enough TV coverage that you can catch the game from most of the seats. Some bars may have a tv or two, but that doesn't make them sports bars. Considering how cheap tv's are I don't think it'd be a big deal.
No, but we may be talking about different things. Have you ever been to a Hofbrau House? Or an Oktoberfest-like fesstival? They are RAUCOUS. It is the picture of drunk and disorderly conduct. Add an oompah band and it's off the hook.
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Old 01-29-09, 02:52 PM   #22
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It's a hard business.

DWI laws and overserving, serving minors, sell food or not to sell food, making money, etc etc etc AND after grand opening - keeping the customers coming in.

Worked for several bars, ran one bar/restaurant.

Most of my bosses agreed it takes 5 years to make money.

But it can be fun too.
Can you clarify on the 2nd to last statement of taking 5 years to make money? Do you mean that in the sense that most likely the bar wouldn't be able to get enough foot traffic to operate at a profit on a week by week basis or do you mean generally the profits brought in don't really overcome the initial startup costs for 5 years?

I imagine it's a little bit of both. I imagine if the bar is going to survive then after one year it would at least be able to have enough of a customer base where it will cover the monthly loans and expenses such that it was running positive week by week, but not yet out of the red.
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Old 01-29-09, 02:54 PM   #23
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2/3 of all bars fold in the first year, so just bear that in mind.

That said, I think it's a great concept for a bar. The thing you need is a hook to make people want to come in and make them feel welcome, and the O-fest theme is as good as any other. Food? Pretzels & bratwurst, of course! Throw in some wiener schnitzel at dinner time and I think it would be great.
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Old 01-29-09, 02:55 PM   #24
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No, but we may be talking about different things. Have you ever been to a Hofbrau House? Or an Oktoberfest-like fesstival? They are RAUCOUS. It is the picture of drunk and disorderly conduct. Add an oompah band and it's off the hook.
Yup. We're talking about different things.

When I say low-key I mean the bar isn't fancy. It doesn't have expensive tables and chairs. The food isn't prepared by a 5-star chef, and the drinks don't require more than 1 ingredient.
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Old 01-29-09, 06:58 PM   #25
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Essentially it'd be like an essentials only menu. If I had it my way I'd probably have one beer that I thought was the pinnacle of it's flavor. So only one hefeweizen, one ale and lager, only one stout, etc.. The food would be the same way. Do you want chicken, sausage, beef, etc?
Although I have no market research to back this up, there is such a thing as being too limited. What you think is the pinnacle of flavor may not be shared by your customers. I would think that offering at least some choices would maximize your ability to reach a variety of customers.
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