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Sarah Ward

Types of Bars: 15 Types of Bars To Open and Operate

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The types of bars you can open and operate in the bar business industry today are vast and varied. You could open a wine bar, a sports bar, or a cocktail bar. You could get creative with themes and special cocktail ingredients for signature mixed drinks. This BinWise blog post is all about the 15 types of bars you can create with operational efficiency as a bar owner. They can even border on the efficiency of the top 25 Michelin Star restaurants.

A word of note: these types of bars aren’t in any particular order on this list. None of them is better than the others. There are so many types to choose from, and which one is right for you is something only you can decide.

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15. Arcade Bar

An arcade bar is a very specific type of themed bar. These bars, with vintage arcade games and usually an assortment of regular bar games–pool, darts, shuffleboard–are consistently gaining popularity. They’re a throwback to our childhood, and they bring out the joy in every bar patron for ultimate customer satisfaction

14. Beer Garden

A beer garden makes its way onto this list because it’s a sort of outdoor bar event. Beer gardens are an occasion at many events like fairs and shows. That said, there are also year-round beer gardens at different restaurants. 

13. Cigar Bars

Cigar bars are a unique addition to this list. The main purpose of a cigar bar is to have a place where people can enjoy cigars. They typically also have liquors and popular cocktails. The Hemingway Daiquiri is a common occurrence at cigar bars. 

12. Nightclubs

Nightclubs are scattered across the planet. They’re wildly popular for dancing, and for bar owners, they turn quite a profit. The cocktails sold are low-cost to make. Nightclubs are some of the more lively bars on this list. 

11. Cocktail Bars

Cocktail bars, with a mixologist at the helm, are one of the best types of bars you can open. Learning how to open a cocktail bar takes some work, as it’s a unique space. Once you’ve sorted it out, however, you’ll be on your way to a profitable and popular bar. 

10. Sports Bars

Sports bars have one goal, and it’s in their name. Sports bars are decked out in TVs to allow bar patrons to watch different sports games. There are some sports bars devoted to football, basketball, or baseball by themselves. There are also plenty of sports bars that offer all the sports when the season is on. Opening a sports bar gets you a specific customer base.

9. Dive Bars

Dive bars are a comfortable place we’re likely all familiar with on some level. They’re also often called hole-in-the-wall bars. Dive bars are far from high-class, but they’re great fun. You can usually find inexpensive beer and delicious snacks for cool bar food ideas at the best dive bars.

8. Wine Bars

Wine bar businesses are perfect for a wine lover or current wine bar manager to look into. The process of how to open a wine bar takes some time, and picking the best type of red wine might take some practice. That said, wine bars have a key demographic that they focus on with their customer base.

7. Pubs

Pubs or taverns are a step above dive bars, but the vibes are similar. A pub is a place where you can get a pint of beer, play a game of pool, and have a jovial time. They’re a casual scene that works for many folks as their favorite place to pop into on a Friday night. 

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6. Live Music Bars

Live music bars are one of the most delightful types of bars on this list. They are sometimes outdoor spaces, but there are also plenty of bars that host live music in their indoor bar area. Sometimes it’s just a weekend event, but either way, it’s a wonderful place to hang out.

5. Hotel Bars

Hotel bars are their own unique bar space. They’re part of the hospitality industry and are typically under the direction of the food and beverage director. They’re home to a host of hotel staff, including front-of-house staff and back-of-house staff

4. Specialty Bars

Specialty bars can be themed bars or location-specific spots. Some prime examples include bars at resorts and amusement parks. They could also be specialty bars in the sense that they serve drinks in a unique way. 

3. Tiki Bars

Tiki bars are similar to cocktail bars, but they’re even more tropical in nature. Tiki bars are typically built in warm places, but they can be pulled off in colder climates with indoor decorations or a heated patio. If you want to open a tiki bar, mix up some rum cocktails–and maybe even learn how to make a rum cake

2. Nostalgia Bars

Nostalgia bars are home to trinkets, old-fashioned drinks–which can include an old fashioned, and memorabilia. They can be filled with old photographs and signs or decked out in the colors of past sports teams. Nostalgia bars are often unique as the best bars in their specific geographic location. 

1. Speakeasies

Speakeasies are one of the coolest types of bars. Yes, we know cool is such an overused term, but there’s no other word for it! Speakeasies are modeled after the spots frequented for happy hour in the time of the rum runners. They are some of the most unique types of bars on this list. 

"Key Takeaway: Bars come in all shapes and sizes. They specialize in different drinks, foods, and experiences."

Frequently Asked Questions About Bar Types

Types of bars that you can open and operate come with a lot of questions. Our answers to these frequently asked questions will give you a bit more insight into the types of bars. They'll keep you moving forward with your business plan. 

Are There Different Types of Bars? 

Yes, there are different types of bars. Bars come in all shapes and sizes. They specialize in different drinks, foods, and experiences. This list of 15 types of bars is just the beginning. If you’re looking to open a bar, you can let your creativity carry you through to a new bar concept. 

What Is a Fancy Bar Called?

A common fancy bar is a cocktail lounge. If you’re invited to a lounge, odds are it’s going to be on the fancier side of the bar range. Check your dress codes, but also know that most lounges are laid back in many ways. 

What Is Slang for a Bar?

A variety of slang for a bar includes juke joint, liquor lounge, managed house, and micropub. A bar, first and foremost, is a place to meet with friends and have a drink in a chill environment. There are plenty of slang terms that can carry that meaning. 

What Is a Small Bar Called?

A small bar is often known as a bistro. Bistro is also occasionally synonymous with brunch cafes and brunch places. It’s a small spot selling beverages and different menu types of food. The beverages include alcoholic options as well as mocktails for teetotalers

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Bar Types: What Type of Bar Will You Open?

Now that you’ve learned the types of bars, if you’re looking to open a bar you’re prepared to make a decision. Which type of bar is right for you? Well, that’s a personal choice. You can also read our article on how much do bar owners make and include that information in your decision-making process. Come back to BinWise for more bar opening advice, and inventory program support when you’re ready for it!

The BinWise Pro platform eases the process to take inventory. The BinScan mobile app gives you easy access to your inventory at any time. You can pair BinWise with BlueCart to amp up your order management system

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