What are the Advantages and the Disadvantages of Owning a Bar? And Owning a Bar Salary – How Much Can You Earn as a Bar Owner?




It’s fun. The atmosphere is vibrant. It’s entertaining to go there. It’s ultra sociable.


This is what you might be thinking when you consider going to a bar to meet up with friends.


Obviously, if you do think along these lines, you’re going to be more than fond of your local bar scene.


Nevertheless, if you’re thinking about bar ownership, it’s a completely different matter altogether.


As a bar owner, it can be fun, it can be very enjoyable, it can be rewarding, and it can be handsomely profitable.


But for all of this to happen, it takes long hours and it takes a lot of hard work.


In this video, you can find out about lessons learned about bar investment by Texas bar owner, Dustin Evans.




Let’s now consider the advantages as well as the disadvantages of owning a bar.



First, owning a bar – salary. How much can you earn as a bar owner?


Salaries of bar owners vary a whole lot. It depends on various factors, not least of which are:

  • Where is the bar located?
  • How competitive is the local market?
  • What size is the bar?


In accordance with the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, the U.S. national median salary on an annual basis for all types of bar management positions is $67,390.


For top bar executives, the annual national median salary is $71,550. 


Nevertheless, for the less experienced bar owner, it’s not necessarily easy to generate a profit month to month, let alone a healthy salary. 




What are the Advantages of Owning a Bar?


1  Networking

If you enjoy networking, or you need to network, owning a bar can provide you with as much networking opportunities as you could ever want.


That – the networking activities – can be for business as well as for pleasure.



2  Working as your own boss

As with any business, if you’re the owner, there’s the advantage that you don’t have to answer to others when making business decisions (or other decisions).


And, if you’re creative, you have a free hand to become particularly creative as a bar owner/ operator.


You can put together your own cocktails.


You can establish weekly promo deals to provide your bar with a further level of uniqueness.


Creativeness doesn’t ever have to stop as a bar owner.



3  Profit margins

On drinks in the U.S. the profit margins are high, but particularly so on alcoholic beverages.


You can expect to enjoy a profit margin of anything between 200 and 400 percent on the drinks that you offer.


If you’ve ever considered opening your own restaurant, owing a bar is typically quite a bit cheaper than owning a restaurant. Of course, this is dependent on the theme and size of your bar, and on its location.



4  Lifestyle is thoroughly variable

For anyone that likes routine, being a bar owner is certainly not for you.


If you’re looking for a 9-to-5, bar ownership is not the one.


If you love the networking side of owning a bar, and you enjoy the typical challenges that come with owing a bar, then you could be the perfect fit.





What are the Disadvantages of Owning a Bar?


1  Startup costs are high

Investing in a bar comes with high startup costs.


Likely you’ll need to pay for equipment and for licensure.



2  Owning and operating a bar is costly

There’s the rental to pay on your premises. There are staff salaries. There will very likely be a variety of unforeseen costs, too.



3  Success is not guaranteed

As with any business investment, success is never guaranteed.


However, chances are that wherever you are the competition is tough and the market is at least somewhat saturated.


You have to have a unique selling point these days, or it’s likely you’ll be out of business before you really get started.



4  Working hours

Going to meet your friends in a bar and having a night out is (usually) a lot of fun.


Owning a bar is not (usually) a lot of fun.


Working hours are (usually) very long.


Owning a bar will (likely) mean a lot of late nights.


Further, it will (definitely) mean having to work at weekends and on public holidays.


Owning a bar is about working when other people are off the clock.



5  Dealing with those that have over-indulged

Your bar may not be the “type” that attracts the rowdy bar customer.


Nevertheless, you do tend to get them…


And it’s never pleasant having to deal with them when you do get them.


The majority of states have made it law that bar staff undergo training for “safe serving.”


What this training includes is how to recognize when someone’s had plenty enough indulgence of an evening.


Training courses are provided by companies such as ServSafe®, which has been developed by the National Restaurant Association, and TIPS® Program (Training for Intervention Procedures).



6  Red tape

It’s not just about bar ownership, it’s also about understanding the laws that are part and parcel of bar ownership.
There are laws at the local level, at the state level, and at the federal level when it comes to serving alcoholic beverages.
And, if you do serve food, regardless your food menu is very limited, you need to be aware of and follow through on the exact same health and safety food regulations as any restaurant.

There’s also noise to consider. Check your local zoning laws for acceptable noise levels.


The best policy with regards to all the red tape that comes with bar ownership is to get yourself a good lawyer to guide you through the complexity of it all.