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How to: Setting a Bar For Your Event

Paul Fielding - Wednesday, December 19, 2012

You would have to say that 90% of private home events in Melbourne, Sydney, or probably anywhere in Australia, make use of some kind of bar or drink station. If you're considering setting up a bar for your upcoming event, below are some suggestions on how to make it most efficient.

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Equipment:

Most important- glasses! Think about what you'll be serving from your bar. If you're serving beer, you can safely assume that 95% of the beer-drinking population will be happy drinking straight from the bottle. Skip the beer glasses. You'll need different glasses for sparkling wine, table wines, soft drinks, and cocktails (if you're serving them). If you have 60 guests expected, think around the following ratios:

  • 45x sparkling glass
  • 30x wine glass
  • 100x soft drink/water glass (or 45 soft drink and paper cups for a water station)
  • cocktail and/or short glasses for mixed drinks, 1x per style of cocktail you're serving
If you want to save on glasswear, consider buying cans of soft drink or small bottled water. Guests and children then also have the option to help themselves. Also have an ice bucket with scoop, some large jugs (for pouring waiter, juice or mixed drinks such as punch), a wine/bottle opener, a dry tea towel and a damp cloth. Tubs/eskys are ideal for home events, as is lots of ice!

Presentation:

A simple, white cloth is a must for any table, with a drape long enough to cover the sides. This keeps your tubs and eskys hidden from sight. A market umbrella, flowers, fairy lights or wine display will only add to the setting.

Line up a third of each glass ready for service, with the remaining glasswear close by for easy replenishment. Display one of each bottle that you're serving so that guests are aware. Some hosts even print beverage menus for their guests to choose from. Good fun!

Your ice bucket and opener will be placed on the bar close to the service area. Cloths and tea towels should be kept out of sight.

Alcohol:

Up to you, party planner. You probably have a plan, and we could suggest a few extras, but for now, let's keep it simple. Any private event would go well with the following selection:

  • sparkling wine
  • 1-2 white wines
  • 1-2 red wines (more if you prefer in Winter)
  • 2 beers plus a lite beer- eg 1x local (Crown/VB/Little Creatures), 1x import (Corona/Peroni), 1x lite (Cascade/James Boags)
  • sparkling and tap water
  • coke, zero, one other alternative
In addition, consider something original for your guests:
  • punch or 'bulk' cocktail
  • cider
  • mocktail or mineral water selection
  • something for a toast (whiskey, Moet, novelty Cosmo)
  • a quality selection of tequilas, vodkas or rums (variety essential)
  • cocktail lessons
Tips:

The most important tip is to over-estimate glasswear and ice levels. So often they run out. Drink trays are good for guests on arrival. Try to begin the night with empty bins and recycling. Don't drive home! Finally, get some help: hire waiters Melbourne.

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