Updated: Apr 12, 2021
Shopping for your bar can be more complicated than it may seem and nothing can kill the party quite like a bar that’s not stocked and prepared properly. But not to fear, OTS is here! Take a look below at some of our tips designed to help you shop like a pro.
So where to start? First and foremost, let's talk budget. Set a realistic budget for your event and stick to it. It’s easy to go overboard at the store without having a clear idea of what you’re wanting to spend. (Bonus tip: a budget for taxis at the end of the night is important to keep in mind whether you're a guest or a superstar host wanting to help your friends get home).
Now comes the heart of the matter: How much do you get and what kinds? When it comes to beer, experience tells us that the more casual the event, the more beer you’ll need, but what’s the benchmark? Let’s start with selection.
“Wow! We have options!?”
Beer is a great go-to choice for simplicity’s sake! But don’t be afraid to supply some variety. Having options for your guests is great and they’ll appreciate the selection. A pilsner, an IPA, and a good seasonal choice from a nearby brewery will cover your bases and keep your guests excited.
“How much do I need?”
A good rule of thumb is to have at least 2 beers per guest. That’ll definitely get your crew through a couple episodes of your favorite streaming series, or a Thanksgiving day football game. Not everyone will drink beer, and those that do enjoy a good hoppy beverage won’t need to ration out that last IPA. Buying a keg is drab, heavy, and probably overkill, plus you miss out on the opportunity to support a local brewery! (Of course, if you know there will be beer lovers in attendance, scale up!)
So what else do you need?
Citrus will be the next entry on your shopping list. Belgian ales go great with a slice of orange, and lime pairs well with those Corona nights. Feel free to throw 4 to 6 limes and a couple oranges in your cart to support your tasting menu. It can really enhance the experience of a quality brew.
“How do I open this?”
Please don’t use your teeth or your counter. A TikTok vid isn’t worth a trip to the dentist and there are better ways to remodel your kitchen. A sturdy church key (bottle opener) is important if you want to do any drinking, as not all beer has a twist off cap. However, bottle openers tend to hitchhike around in pockets so be sure to have a few on hand so you don’t have to waste time figuring out who used it last. (For socially distanced events we definitely recommend cans or twist-offs to avoid guests having to use the same tools.)
“Grab a cold one”
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, get some ice and a stylish container large enough to artfully display your selection while keeping it cool. Displaying the options help your guests shop for their drink of choice while cutting down on the repetition of explaining the options. Also, when talking about ice, it is always better to have too much than not enough. Keep in mind factors like whether your event is indoors or outdoors, where the bar is being placed, the season of the year, and how much you’ll like to keep chilled at a time. Stick to at least a pound of ice per guest and modify to your exact event conditions.
For extra style points, having a dedicated bartender to pour those beers just right can take the pressure of serving off the host and make everyone at your party feel special. Take a look at our bartender rate here to see if your party needs a pro!
Disclaimer: This article is not medical advice and is for entertainment purposes only. For official guidance regarding the COVID-19 pandemic please consult your local laws regarding gatherings and events. Below are links to the CDC, WHO, and NY State Department of Health websites for your convenience.
NY State DOH : https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home