B.C. Beer Blog

The who, what, where, when, why, and how of B.C. craft beer

SYWTOABP 5: How much does a bar cost?

with 6 comments

An under bar refridgerator with glass doorsA lot. I keep typing it, but it takes a while to sink in.  This installment of the So You Want to Open a Brew Pub series is a bit later than I would have liked it to be. Even unemployed, I’ve found myself busy, plus this post required a lot of repetitive research. You really do need to know the price of all the equipment that goes into a commercial bar because, unless you take over an existing location, you’re going to have to budget for it.  Before I reveal the list of equipment and supplies I developed, I’m first going to list resources where you can buy or price this type of equipment.

Although you can take over an existing establishment, it is unlikely there will be a brew pub for sale due to their rarity and specialized nature. It is fairly common for a failed restaurant or bar to be sold wholesale to a new proprietor who thinks they know what it takes to make a successful business. In fact, because restaurants and bars do frequently fail, there is a market for used equipment.  Craigslist and the newer internet darling, Kijii, have adverts for some of the equipment on my list from time to time. Buying used requires you to have a higher degree of expertise in the use, operation, and maintenance of the equipment. You need to be able to tell the difference between something that has barely been used and something that is on its last legs.  The more important a piece of equipment is to the operation of your business, the more likely you’ll want the piece of mind of a warranty or a service contract.

Bar and Restaurant Supply Companies

Every bar is different.  The list of equipment and supplies below is unique but it is a pretty good starting point.


  • Beer Mugs
  • Pilsner Glasses
  • Rocks Glass
  • A beer mugHighballs
  • Shot Glasses
  • Wine
  • Champagne
  • Martini
  • Tall Mixed
  • Margarita
  • Coffee Mug

Bar Equipment

  • Compartment Sink with drainboards
  • Liquor Wells
  • Beer Taps
  • Beer Keg Cooler
  • Ice bins
  • Ice Machine
  • Ice Pick
  • Ice Scoops
  • Dishwasher
  • Storage Racks
  • Display Shelves
  • Storage Cabinets
  • Liquor WellSoda Gun
  • Condiment Tray
  • Tongs
  • Plastic Jugs
  • Coffee maker
  • Cream Dispenser
  • Sugar and Spice Dispenser
  • Espresso Machine
  • Blenders
  • Refrigerators
  • Serving Trays
  • Funnels
  • Bar Spoons
  • Pour Spouts
  • Beer Bottle Openers
  • Can Openers
  • Ice Buckets
  • Floor Mats
  • Pouring Mats
  • Trash Cans
  • Cheque Holders
  • Telephones
  • Safe
  • Cleaning Equipment
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • First Aid Kit
  • Knifes
  • POS System

W2 Media Cafe on Canada Day by Jen CastroThis equipment list is available in an Excel spreadsheet.  These costs don’t necessarily include full installation or shipping or even the cost of the bar itself.  These cost estimates were made in and around July 12, 2011.  The grand total for bar equipment costs is $27,770.52!

Next up, I will be pricing the equipment for a medium-sized commercial kitchen.

In related news, I’ve been contributing to the effort to open a cafe in the Woodward’s complex to be run as a social enterprise.  The W2 Media Cafe represents a lot of work by a lot of folks, and, hopefully, will be fully operational — or at least have a soft opening — this month. It’s a cafe, so no beer for now, but hopefully something else on their menu strikes your fancy. W2 also puts on a large number of arts events, some of which are licensed. You can follow their exploits and learn about upcoming programing on their Facebook page.


Written by Muskie

July 14, 2011 at 8:42 pm

6 Responses

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  1. […] when I priced out the equipment necessary for a commercial kitchen and a bar at the front of the house, I didn’t have to go through numerous online catalogs and price […]

  2. Your blog is more help than you know! It’s amazing how quickly everything adds up. It’s fun to follow this with you.


    August 16, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    • No worries. The series was conceived to be useful, Rick didn’t want another “mmm beer is good” blog post. I’ve helped people get retail businesses and food-services businesses off the ground before. Maybe someday I’ll open my own establishment but the cost and the liquor license are definitely barriers to entry. Brewing your own beer adds yet more costs, possibly close to $200,000 for some bigger, higher volume systems.

      I added everything up already and even with limited TIs and construction expenses, ie no indoor waterfalls or Italian marble or anything crazy like that a this brew pub will cost about three quarters of a million dollars. I think the number I went with was $40 dollars per square foot and 5000 square feet, but the spreadsheet I built can handle any numbers. It’ll be made available this week or the next. We’re trying to stick to a weekly publishing schedule. I think a smaller brewing system is feasible, I’ve read competing advice about 5, 7, and 10 bbl capacity systems.


      August 16, 2011 at 2:19 pm

  3. […] SYWTOABP 5: How much does a bar cost? […]

  4. Some really great and helpful information on here!!!

    Where is the link to the commercial kitchen excel sheet?

    i am in the process of trying to open a business and its hard to get prices unless you show money first ;(

    any help on any process involved in opening a restaurant would be great>?

    concept>40 seat italian restaurant w/ 24 seat support lounge in busy downtown area.

    Tom Emmott

    March 9, 2012 at 1:03 am

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