< back to Blog home
Sarah Ward

How Much Does It Cost To Open a Wine Bar? 5 Key Cost Factors

Table of Contents
Thank you! Check your inbox for details.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

If you’re looking into the question of “How much does it cost to open a wine bar?” Then you’re getting close to being fully prepared with the process of how to open a wine bar. You’ve learned about wine bar cabinet and shelf storage. You’ve practiced the art of a wine flight. You've probably even checked out restaurant risk assessment to learn about what you need to prepare for, especially when it comes time for a SWOT analysis. You know the best type of red wine and understand wine pricing. You’ve covered the best type of white wine. You have your wine bar supplies.

As you’ve prepared, you’re sure to have looked into different costs and inventory items, including cases of wine. You’re planning your budget while you learn about opening a wine bottle. This BinWise blog post serves the unique purpose of giving you a single source budgets and bar business costs for your wine bar. 

binwise demo request

Cost To Open a Wine Bar

The cost to open a wine bar is a mix of everything you need from the beginning stages through the ongoing operational costs. You might ask yourself, “How are operational costs part of the startup costs?” Well, they’re not directly there right at the start, but you need to be aware of them from the beginning. You’ll have to pay for many of them before you open the doors. 

These five costs within the question of “How much does it cost to open a wine bar?” Are all important for different areas of your wine bar. They come together to create the space and functionality of a great wine bar. 

5. Furnishing Costs

Furnishing costs will come up once you’ve found your wine bar location. You should budget for chairs and tables, beverage storage, and any other furniture-related support you want to have in your design. This will also relate to your business branding. Your furniture is a reflection of your brand, and the importance of branding cannot be overstated. 

4. Operational Expenses

Operational expenses and overhead expenses are two sides of the same coin. Your operational expenses are typically accounted for after you’ve opened your wine bar. They are often the same services and fees you will have for overhead expenses. Many businesses view them as the same expense. 

3. Wine Costs

Your wine costs are one of the most wine bar specific costs you will have. You’ll have them before you open, to source wine and get a solid quantity of wine in your initial inventory. As you take inventory you’ll continuously have wine costs on a weekly basis. You’ll need to keep a steady stock, and buy from a variety of suppliers. 

Revolution Ordering - Book a Demo

2. Employee Costs

Employee costs are primarily the cost of paying your employees. These costs will also factor into how you find employees, as you might have to pay to promote a job opening. You’ll want to pay your employees a livable wage for the location you’re in, so look into that before you publish any job postings. 

1. Licensing and Permits

Licensing and permits are one of the most important costs of opening a wine bar. You’ll need a liquor license. There will also likely be some wine bar specific permits and licensing. Your location state by state–or by country–will have different requirements. Research those thoroughly before you open the doors. You can also look into direct to consumer wine shipping laws.

"Key Takeaway: The cost to open a wine bar is substantial. If you stick with it and find funding, it’s well worth it after the initial investment."

Frequently Asked Questions About the Cost To Open a Wine Bar

The question of “How much does it cost to open a wine bar?” Spurs on a lot of questions. It’s a complex matter with moving parts, customer needs, and business requirements. 

Our answers to these frequently asked questions will give you some more background. They’re helpful for wine bars and general bars as well. If you’re looking for some cost knowledge support, save this blog post to come back anytime. 

Is Running a Wine Bar Profitable?

Yes, running a wine bar is profitable; you can expect an average profit margin of 7 to 10% from your wine bar. This is slightly less than a standard bar. That difference is due to the high profitability of beer and cocktails at a standard bar business. 

You can make your wine bar more profitable by including some cocktail options, as well as foods depending on your menu types. It’s all about including items that cost you less to buy than the price you sell them for. That’s not to say you should have overpriced items. Your overhead expenses are typically lower than what you sell items for. 

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Local Bar?

On average, it costs between $110,000 and $850,000 to start a bar. For starting a local bar, if you’re looking in your own area, you’ll need to factor in the cost to get a liquor license. This can vary wildly depending on location. 

For example, in Mississippi it can cost up to $9,000 to get a liquor license. In Nevada, on the other hand, it tends to cap out at around $500 for a standard liquor license. Your cost to open a bar in your state or town will depend on specific rules. 

Do Bar Owners Make Money?

Yes, bar owners make money, but it takes time. Bar profitability is a slow burn. It can take several years before you turn a profit in a way that allows you to take home a substantial salary. As your bar ages and you have less substantial costs, you can expect to take home about $3,000 a month. 

The main reason it takes time to work up to taking that salary home each month is because of ongoing startup costs. You’ll be putting money back into your bar for a while once you go through the process of how to open a bar. Eventually, that amount will be less and you can take home more. 

Why Do Most Bars Fail?

One of the main reasons bars fail is a lack of funds. The first few years of owning a bar come with a variety of ongoing costs to keep it running and improve it over time. If you run out of money in that time period your bar may fail. 

The key is to secure your funding from the start. Begin the search for funding when you write up your bar business plan. With secured funds and a plan to keep them coming, you can run your bar through those first few years. 

How Profitable Is a Small Bar?

The average revenue of a small bar is somewhere between $25,000 and $30,000 a month. This profit will depend on drink and food prices, your operational efficiency, and your customer service. If you’re running a small bar efficiently, promoting customer satisfaction, and charging average prices, you can expect a tidy profit. (see also: how much do bar owners make for additional information on this topic)

binwise demo request

The Cost To Open a Wine Bar: Check Costs, then Wine About Them

The cost to open a wine bar is substantial. If you stick with it and find funding, it’s well worth it after the initial investment. Once you’re ready to open the doors, come back to BinWise for inventory support. The BinWise Pro platform, alongside the BinScan mobile app, can help you ease inventory program management and save you money. 

Book a Demo
Reduce inventory counting time by as much as 85%. Schedule a demo now:
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.