When planning an event, one of the biggest decisions to make is whether to have an open bar or a closed bar.
An open bar is a set-up where guests do not pay for any of their drinks; instead, the hosts foot the full bill. On the other hand, a closed bar is a cash bar where guests pay for their drinks. Both options have their pros and cons, and the choice between them can be influenced by various factors such as budget, guest list, and event type.
An open bar can be seen as a generous gesture by the hosts, and it can create a more festive atmosphere since guests do not have to worry about paying for their drinks. It can also encourage guests to stay longer and socialize more, which can be beneficial for the overall vibe of the event.
However, an open bar can also lead to excessive drinking, which can result in guests becoming too rowdy or even causing damage to the venue. It can also be expensive, especially if the guest list is large or if guests consume a lot of alcohol.
Understanding Open and Closed Bars
Defining Open Bar
An open bar is a type of bar service where guests can order and consume an unlimited amount of drinks without paying for them.
The cost of the drinks is typically included in the event fee paid by the host. Guests can order any drink they want, including beer, wine, and cocktails, and the bartenders will serve them until the event is over or until the host decides to close the bar.
Open bars are often found at weddings, corporate events, and other formal gatherings. They are typically considered a more upscale option and can be a way to show appreciation to guests or clients.
Defining Closed Bar
A closed bar, also known as a cash bar, is a type of bar service where guests are required to pay for their own drinks. The host typically provides a limited selection of drinks, such as beer and wine, and guests can purchase them using cash or credit card.
Closed bars are often found at more casual events, such as birthday parties or happy hours. They are typically less expensive than open bars and can be a way to reduce costs for the host. However, they can also be a source of frustration for guests who may not have brought cash or may not want to pay for their own drinks.
When deciding between an open bar and a closed bar, hosts should consider their budget, the type of event, and the preferences of their guests. While an open bar can be a generous and upscale option, it can also be expensive and may not be appropriate for all events. On the other hand, a closed bar can be a more affordable option, but it may not be as well-received by guests who expect to be treated to drinks.
The venue of the event can also play a role in the decision between an open bar and a closed bar. Some venues may require hosts to use their own bartenders and provide their own alcohol, while others may have an in-house bar that can be used for an additional fee.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Bar Type
When planning an event, one of the important decisions to make is whether to have an open or closed bar.
There are various factors to consider when making this decision. Here are some of the key factors to keep in mind:
One of the most significant factors to consider when choosing between an open or closed bar is the budget. An open bar can be expensive, especially if there are many guests. In contrast, a closed bar can be more cost-effective since guests pay for their own drinks. It is important to determine how much money is available for the bar and how this will be allocated.
Another important factor to consider is the preferences of the guests. Some guests may prefer an open bar because they do not want to pay for their drinks. Others may prefer a closed bar because they do not drink alcohol and do not want to pay for other guests’ drinks. It is important to consider the audience and their preferences when making the decision.
Event Type and Venue
The type of event and venue can also play a role in the decision. For example, a formal wedding may be more suited to an open bar, while a casual backyard BBQ may be better suited to a closed bar. The venue may also have restrictions on alcohol service, which should be taken into account.
Time and Cultural Factors
The time of day and cultural factors should also be considered. For example, an afternoon event may be better suited to a closed bar, while an evening event may be better suited to an open bar. Cultural norms may also impact the decision. For example, in some cultures, it is expected that the host will provide alcohol.
Finally, it is important to consider the legal implications of the decision. Liability laws vary by state, and hosts should be aware of their responsibilities when serving alcohol. In some cases, hosts may need to obtain a liquor license or hire a professional bartender.
Drinks Selection at Open and Closed Bars
When it comes to selecting drinks for an event, whether it’s an open or closed bar, the choices available will depend on the preferences of the guests and the budget of the host.
Here are some options to consider:
Beer and Wine Options
At an open bar, guests can typically choose from a variety of beers and wines that are included in the cost of the package. This can include popular domestic and imported beers, as well as red, white, and sparkling wines. At a closed bar, the host can choose which beers and wines to offer, and guests may need to pay for their own drinks.
Liquor options at an open bar can vary widely depending on the package selected. Some may include only basic liquors like vodka, gin, and rum, while others may include premium options like top-shelf whiskey and tequila. At a closed bar, the host can choose which liquors to offer, and guests may need to pay for their own drinks.
Offering signature cocktails can be a fun way to add a personal touch to an event. At an open bar, the host can choose which signature cocktails to offer, and guests can enjoy them at no additional cost. At a closed bar, guests may need to pay for their own signature cocktails, or they may not be available at all.
It’s important to offer non-alcoholic beverage options for guests who don’t drink or who are the designated driver. At an open bar, non-alcoholic options like sodas, juices, and mocktails are typically included in the package. At a closed bar, the host can choose which non-alcoholic options to offer, and guests may need to pay for their own drinks.