Six Important Things You're Not Thinking of When It Comes to Bar Service
When planning bar service for a big party, the first things most think of are hiring bartenders, selecting your beer, wine & spirits and maybe renting a cool bar. But there is a lot more details and logistics that we bartenders take care of for you to make sure the night runs smoothly. However, there are some things that YOU can provide that will help them to serve you better.
1. Loading & Parking- Make sure there is an area where your bartending service can unload all the supplies. We will be bringing hundreds of pounds of ice, coolers, cases of mixers and lots of other supplies. Having close access to the bar will save time, our backs and your guests from seeing sweaty bartenders. Also, if possible, please let your bartenders keep their vehicle parked nearby. We often stash a backstock of cups and mixers in our cars and if we run low on something (i.e. ice on a hot day) having the vehicle nearby for a quick dash to the store could help avoid disruption in service.
2. Lighting - When the lights go down to set the mood for dinner or to create that night club feel for dancing, don't leave your bartenders in the dark. Make sure the bar is set up in an area that has still has lighting so they can see what their pouring and don't have to awkwardly use their phones to find their way around. If being in the dark is unavoidable, provide them with some battery powered lanterns or ask if they might have some lamps to bring.
3. Bar Placement - I love music and you're going to see me bumping to that sweet beat behind the bar even while pouring a drink. However, I beg you, don't put us directly next to the DJ or band. Why? Two reasons, number one, we and your guests will struggle to hear each other once the music starts causing us to shout and repeat "WHAT?!.... WHAT?!" way too many times. And sadly, we will all have sore throats and hoarse voices by the end of the night. Number two, that's where the dancing is happening and the area will become congested. A guest throwing their arms out while YMCA is blasting, might also knock that White Zinfandel out of Aunt Betty's hand.
4. Water - Have water available after the caterer's leave. Most caterer's provide ice water along with the meal, so many couples think they've got that covered for guests. However, what many don't think about is that when dinner is over, the caterers clear the water glasses and carafes and then scoot on out of there. This not only leaves the non-drinkers without a beverage, but also those on the dance floor who are quickly grooving up a thirst. Make sure you've got bottled water for bartenders to hand out, or a self-serve non-alcoholic beverage station that's available to your guests the entire night.
5. Food - This is by no means a requirement, but it is very kind if you to offer us a chance to grab a bite to eat after your guests have been served. Like you, our day started early and we've been on our feet for 12-14 hours, and it's very possible that we skipped meals. A chance to sit down for a minute and get something eat goes a long way and is always greatly appreciated.
6. Wedding Party & ID's - Although I send out reminders to all my clients a week or two before the wedding day, there is always at least one bridesmaid that gets annoyed at me when I ask for an ID because she "didn't know she had to have one" and left it in the car or at the hotel. Although I really hate to annoy anyone, it is the state law that we see proof of legal drinking age. Judging someone's age by looks is really hard, so our rule is to ask ID of anyone who looks to be under the age of 40. Please remind your wedding party to bring their state issued ID's if they'd like to have an alcoholic beverage.
That's it. All of these things are fairly simple to put on you or your wedding planner's radar, and the bartenders will be SO grateful. Thanks and cheers, my friends!