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What to consider when offering an open bar

When people hear the words ‘open bar’ they know it’ll be a party.  Rarely will this be an event guests skip out on, but there’s many factors to consider when contemplating having an open bar.



An open bar can lead to an empty wallet. The more guests you invite the more it’ll cost you to keep them hydrated. Keep in mind that people tend to drink more when it’s free. Someone who typically buys 2-3 drinks when they go out may have 4-5 drinks when someone else is covering the bill.


Disorderly Guests

When your guest list includes multiple people who do not know how to handle their liquor, you may have to be prepared for disruptive behavior. While some people become happy and friendly once they’ve had a drink or two in their system, others can become loud and aggressive. Be sure to know who’s on your guest list; the last thing you want is for an argument or fight to break out because the ‘aggressive drinkers’ had a couple drinks too many.


Intoxicated Drivers

While we hope no one will be drinking and driving after the event has ended, this is something else a host should keep in mind. A thoughtful host will not want to risk any of their guests endangering their life or the life of others on the road by getting behind the wheel after enjoying an open bar they provided.



To limit costs, but still have a nice selection of drinks, do a partial open bar. This could include a white wine, domestic beer, a vodka, and rum; this option has something for everyone, is still free, but limits what guests can get. If guests wanted to order something not on your menu they would have to cover the cost themselves. If you’re on a budget you can select the house brands instead of going with top shelf.


To be prepared for disorderly guests, have security on site. This is typically a requirement at most venues when alcohol will be present. Also, be sure that the catering company staff is aware of the signs of an intoxicated guest and they know when to cut that person off.


If guests are staying at a nearby hotel have shuttles available towards the end of the night for transportation. Another suggestion would be to work with a cab company to have cabs lined up ready to pick up those who are leaving. If intoxicated guests walk out of the venue to see a line of cabs waiting, they’re more likely to make a wise decision and not risk driving themselves. Lastly, it would be great to reward the individuals who took one for the team. Prior to your event, you could have guests sign up to be a designated driver; as a special incentive offer them a custom gift bag to show your appreciation for them keeping your loved ones safe.



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