Open Bar (Also Called Hosted Bar)

September 25, 2012

We’re continuing our discussion on Cash Bar versus Open Bar to help you understand the difference and make the right choice for your event.  To find out more about the Cash Bar in last month’s post.

The term “open bar” refers to a bar that serves drinks to your guest which you pay for (usually in advance but not always).  This eliminates the necessity of guests having to purchase each drink themselves and allows them to enjoy the event with the addition of “complimentary” (at least to them) adult beverages.  

As with the cash bar, you may be able to specify which types of alcoholic beverages the bar will stock.  This will allow you some leeway in pinpointing a final total dollar cost.  (If you stock top-shelf liquors the cost will be much higher – and the opposite is also true.)

As a general rule of thumb, party planners recommend setting aside between $14 and $20 per guest for a 4 hour wedding reception.  Of course a number of factors will affect that such as the guest’s themselves, the time of day the reception is being held, the location of the event, etc.

(It’s always good to assume that your guests, no matter how restrained, will be tempted to take full advantage of something they perceive as “free” or “complimentary.”)

Open bars are subject to the same legal restriction as any other alcoholic beverage service:

  • All bars (open or otherwise) must be manned by members of the facilities own staff or by bar tenders hired by a professional catering service
  • Alcohol cannot be served to minors (IDs may be required)
  • Bar tenders legally must refrain from serving those deemed inebriated
  • No alcohol can leave the premises

Find out next month on how to limit the cost of an open bar.  Almansor Court has options in place to help you accommodate your guests and your wallet.