How to create a winning Private Bartending Service

August 11, 2012

I have been asked on many occasions for advice on how to create a winning private bartending business. In this post I’m going to try and list a few things that helped me create one of the biggest private bartending companies on the east coast. I’m not going to get deep into things as this business is different from state to state due to laws, city size, and surroundings. It’s simply a few key things I remember to help you avoid the pitfalls.

Know your laws

Some states require permits and some don’t, while some states allow you make money off liquor by the drink and some will not. Before you do anything figure out your state and/or local laws.

Know your customers

It’s not something open for a huge amount of debate. In general your largest customers will be weddings, catering companies, party venues, and fund raisers. Sure you may end up bartending different occasions like baby showers, girl’s night outs, and even funerals, but don’t waste time going after things outside of your primary customer base.


Never spend money advertising to bartend to customers outside of your core list. Use highly targeted ads when you advertise and dominate them. Before you even spend a single dollar do absolutely everything possible to maximize free traffic. This comes from building links with other vendors, Search engine optimization (SEO), and free directories.

Links with other vendors may include getting the local caterer who often uses you to list you on his website as an approved vendor. SEO can be complex and I will not attempt to teach you but you’ll definitely want to pick up this skill, and free directories are all over the net.

If you decide to spend money on ads only advertise with the top sites in the industry. For example, you’ll find hundreds of wedding vendor directories on the web all begging for your money. Only use the top couple in the business. We advertised with David’s Bridal Directory and had great results as we could contact any number of leads we wanted from their database. Google ads can be affective but make very sure you know what you are doing before you jump in with both feet.

Start Simple

Bartending today can encompass so many styles and forms. When starting your business just focus on the basics and do not attempt to offer glassware, party rentals, and specialty drink packages off the bat. Start with your basic awesome bartending service. If the customer wants something special they’ll tell you. I say this because you’ll have enough on your hands doing the things above. Once you feel comfortable and have general idea of what you’re doing then feel free to rock it.


You’ll need to start a simple website and have business cards. Get more promotional items down the road as you get more comfortable but these two are the most haves. Don’t forget the legal stuff like a business license too!

There are hundreds of awesome products for the traveling event bartender these days. I think some must haves for any private bartender are a few coolers, wine key, shakers and strainers. I would never go to a job without these items. Beyond that check into a nice portable bar which can make your company stand out. Otherwise you’ll be using the old table and linen. A great place to start your search for portable bars is with .




As you start to do jobs develop a system. Keep mental notes as to what should be done first and last. The smallest things can help you fun so much more efficiently like always loading your bottles into your coolers before dumping ice on them and never throwing those bottle’s boxes away. Off site bartending is not the same as most in house jobs. You’ll want to think about break down before you set up. Once you have a few events under your belt you should start to realize an order for things. Instead of giving you our list script for script I recommend you develop this to fit you style and needs.

Develop a checklist for your events that will force you to remember all supplies needed as well. All high off site event companies will use a checklist so make it part of your routine for every single event.


You must learn to get a deposit. This is a must so I will not spend much time here. Any successful event business will ask for a deposit. We typically would ask for a 20% non-refundable deposit to consider an event booked and the balance was due 10 days before the event. Use whatever method or amounts you like but do ask for a deposit to book.


We used our invoice as a contract which stated times to work and services. Just be sure to have it written down somewhere. In the world of bartending it’s very often that you’ll be asked to stay after an event was scheduled to end. Be sure you have a system in place to ask for payment should the event go over and way to show that you did in fact work the hours scheduled.


Everyone has a different view here. I recommend you to take a neutral stance and offer any option. Some brides will refuse a tip jar at their wedding while a fundraiser will encourage it. Just make sure you have a system to decide how this will run at each event that is clear with your customer. We offered a no tip jar option in exchange for a higher labor rate for example, but the customer always had to choose if this was an option.

There are hundreds of awesome products for the traveling event bartender these days. I think the basics for any private bartender are a few coolers, wine key, shakers and strainers. I would never go to a job without these items. Beyond that check into a nice portable bar which can make your company stand out. Otherwise you’ll be using the old table and linen. A great place to start your search for portable bars is with . One last note I’ll add is about glassware. I would suggest you let the professional rental companies handle this. It may be nice to offer it for very small parties but for typical 50 people and above events leave it alone until you have a full understanding of the business.

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I hope some of the information I have provided will help you in your business venture. This is the same information I would give to a family member would they ask me and I feel these are some of the most important things. If you would like to stay up to date with me please subscribe to our companies social media links listed below.



Scottsdale Bartender to Launch Website that Rivals “Texts From Last Night”

September 3, 2011
Bartenders are the storytellers of our generation. These bards of brew operate in the rarest of circumstances: They witness all manner of gyrating, drunken revelry day in and day out while (mostly) sober. This unique position gives them more insight into the boiled down truths of the human condition than most realize. They get yelled at, chewed out, hit on, antagonized, demonized, “give-me-free-shit”-inized, “I-can’t-taste-the-booze-in-this”-inized while serving as a lightning rod for their customers frustrations, failures, ineptitudes and insecurities.
In short, they give us booze and watch us go. Alcohol reveals the barbarism in human nature. It magnifies belligerence, amplifies ignorance and generally results in hilarious and widespread buffoonery. And bartenders observe it all.
Scottsdale resident and bartender, John Creasey, dreamed of a web space where bartenders could come together and share these stories… the good, the bad, and the ugly. The result is STORIES FROM BARTENDERS, a website similar to the wildly popular “Texts From Last Night” that centers on tales of the restaurant industry. Users can submit and rate stories, share drink recipes and keep up with the latest and greatest aspects of the industry. Creasey partnered with local ad gurus, Sundawg Media, to turn the vision into a reality.

The site celebrates it’s world-wide launch Monday, September 12th. For a sneak peak, visit

Kick off your bar’s football season with a light up Cornhole Board

September 1, 2011

Check out the newly launched BarChef’s brand light up cornhole and tailgate toss boards!

Our sponsor BarChefs has come up with one cool lighted cornhole board for your favorite bar establishment! They are now making light up cornhole boards that glow any color. For example, when playing on two boards, each corn toss team can pick and choose the colors that they want their boards to glow. These illuminated cornhole boards work with either a plug or rechargeable batteries that they sell. This way if your playing outside in the yard you can go cordless.

Cornholers will love that fact that each board can be customized. The material used is great for adding graphics like vynil and stickers. You’ll probably want to put those on the sides though, to keep from affecting game play. Also, the wooden base and front trim bezel come from the factory in white, allowing you to easily remove them and spray a different color.

BarChefs sales two versions of these LED bag toss style games, being the regulation 4×2 glowing cornhole board and the 3×2 LED tailgate toss board. For more information including photos and videos check out BarChefs Light Up Games at

Fan us on facebook!

July 25, 2011

Attention oh ye lover of bartending stories., the largest free bar blog directory on the net, now has a Facebook page. Head on over and become a fan at  Thanks for your support bar heroes!

Check out Tempest Liqueur

July 9, 2011

It seems that everytime you turn your head a new liquor or style of alcohol pops up. With all the new brands coming out it’s easy to overlook some of the latest ideas. We found a new liqueur that you should definitely not overlook. Tempest botanical absinthe – Green tea liqueur has a very interesting twist. This awesome green bottle of alcohol actually has little spheres suspended inside, and get this, each sphere has a little splash of absinth inside! Here’s how Tempest explains it;

“TEMPEST – an innovative new shot for those who dare to experience euphoria…a provocative new botanical liqueur – a mystical blend with 6 herbs and absinthe-laced drops that float gracefully throughout the bottle. Suspended by the spirit of the legendary absinthe fairy, these ethereal orbs hold the mystery of Tempest’s unique botanical blend, making them the ultimate Absinthe Drops of Influence.”


So far this has to be one of the coolest ideas for liqueur in my book. I hear that when you shake the drink enough the orbs will release the absinthe into your new cocktail. Sounds like a lot of fun to experiment. If you would like to read more about Tempest and get some cool recipes visit

3rd Annual San Diego Spirits Festival

February 16, 2011

JUNE 25TH – 26TH  

Check out the latest information on the San Diego Spirits Festival!


Cocktails & Camaraderie – Celebrating The Growing Community

2011 Festival Reflects City’s Exciting Cocktail Renaissance

San Diego, CA – February 8, 2011 In it’s pivotal 3rd year, the San Diego Spirits Festival (June 25th and 26th) has evolved. With a fresh look, a slew of innovative ideas, a new location and more industry support than ever, it is quickly becoming the preeminent spirits event on the west coast.  This year, the festival has relocated to a stunning venue situated Bayside at The Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier – a state of the art building along the city’s spectacular waterfront.  Much like its west coast predecessors – San Francisco and Los Angeles – San Diego is currently experiencing an exciting cocktail revolution.  The San Diego Spirits Festival is committed to building the mixology community locally and to garnering national exposure for the brands and bartenders that participate.  This year, the San Diego Spirits Festival is proud to unveil a re-vamped new look and an increased level of local community involvement. Established by founder, Liz Edwards in 2009, The San Diego Spirits Festival attracts high-profile members of the spirits and culinary trade, enthusiastic consumers, local bartenders and restaurateurs who are passionate about San Diego and the west coast’s burgeoning cocktail scene. The San Diego Spirits Festival is ready to be in the spotlight – San Diego’s time has come!

The 2-day June event will focus on competitions, tastings, seminars and parties sponsored by a growing lineup of national spirit brands and local restaurants who astutely support San Diego’s up-and-coming cocktail community.  A full schedule of events will lead up to the festival including the first ever San Diego Cocktail Week (June 20-24) – which will highlight sponsoring brands in craft cocktails at San Diego’s best bars – a way to truly to showcase the talented bartenders who are shaking up this new and vibrant cocktail scene.  Each month, the city will be the host to neighborhood Bartender Battles and bi-monthly Chef/Bartender Shakedowns in search of the brightest bar and culinary talent the city has to offer.  The winners will compete in June at the ultimate battle and shakedown at the Festival.

In proud support of the newly formed San Diego chapter of the United States Bartender Guild (USBG), the San Diego Spirits Festival will donate proceeds from all Bartender Battles and 100% of all industry ticket sales to the San Diego chapter to build the local cocktail community.   A portion of the proceeds from San Diego Spirits Festival will benefit another local charity – San Diego Chefs de Cuisine Association, Inc. – a member of the American Culinary Federation.

A cool new folding portable bar for bartenders that glows

January 30, 2011 has now launched the next generation of their folding LED cocktail bars that is very affordable. The new wood frame bars about a thousand dollars less than the metal frame versions and set-up or break-down in seconds. They look great and the entire front panel glows with LED lights and can change any color via your remote control. The bar fits into the padded transport case and can be carried on your shoulder like a gym bag.

Folding Light Up LED bar

You can operate the bar for nearly an entire day on a single battery charge or plug it into a wall if plugs are available. If your like me and you bartender for special events like weddings then the rechargeable battery option is great. The front acrylic panel can be removed in about 2 seconds with no tools. This makes adding a customer’s logo or graphics a breeze. Most sign shops can add something for about $20 to the front panel.

The whole bar features adjustable feet for unlevel surfaces and the finish is durable to maintain the good looks from bumps and dings. The edges have hardwood trim to further protect it. This has to be one of the top portable bars on the market for bartenders. Take a moment to check out their folding glow bars, LED tables, and more of their awesome light up bar products at and be sure to fan them at

Bartenders – Earn Cash for your opinions!

June 24, 2010

Braun research is extending a special invitation to bartenders, mixologists and liquor enthusiasts to be part of the Bartender Lounge expert panel. As a member, you’ll join a unique community of individuals who provide valuable feedback to leading liquor manufacturers regarding the type of liquor products they use on a regular basis.

Your opinions will influence the development of new products and services before they hit the market place. Your personal information is never compromised and you’re rewarded fairly for your time. 

Help shape the competitive landscape of the liquor industry by joining the bartender lounge. Registration is free and takes less than a minute. By joining today, you’ll be automatically entered into our $500 monthly giveaway.

Click HERE to join now!


We look forward to welcoming you in the panel!


Bartender Lounge

The Bartender Lounge is an affiliation of Braun Research – A privately held public opinion research firm, whose goal is to uphold the highest standard in research data collection. As a panelist, we assure you that your privacy is always protected and your personal information will not be shared or leased to third parties.

Portable cocktail bars that light up your event!

December 14, 2009
Portable bars that light up portable bars

A cool new portable bar for all you special event enthusiasts is here. Wait till you see this bar in action! Just hit the on switch and it starts glowing any color you want. You don’t even have to plug it in. It’s specifically designed for mobile bar service needs, so this makes it idea for the the swimming pool, weddings, fundraisers, and especially when you need to paste your companies graphics all over something. For more information on lighting up your next event with these cocktail bars visit

Bartenders learn to make wine into water!

December 2, 2009

Yes you heard me correct. Turning wine into water is no magic trick. I want you to drop what your doing and spend three or four minutes learning about Bartenders are the driving force of an effort to help those without clean water. They are helping to get clean water to people by throwing parties. 

Wine To Water makes it very easy to throw a party by offering free instant downloads for your invitations, brochures, flyers, donation cards, and more. They may even be able to get a representative out to your event for assistance.

Ok let’s go over this. You throw a party and this helps people that need water to live. Now that’s being the life of the party! Um where do I sign up you say? Just head to and check them out. Everything you’ll need is on their site.