Self-Serve Bar? Yay or Nay?

posted 1 year ago in Reception
  • poll: Self Serve Bar?
    As a guest I'd love a self-serve bar! I can portion myself and not tip! : (20 votes)
    33 %
    As a guest I'd prefer to walk up to the bar and order from someone. : (31 votes)
    51 %
    As a guest I'd love self-serve, but it might be too much headache for the bride and groom : (10 votes)
    16 %
  • Member
    1617 posts
    Bumble bee

    I think it really depends on the drinks offered. If it’s just wine, beer, and pre-made signature drinks then self-serve is fine. But if you are having a variety of liquor and mixes, then I think you def need a bartender.

    Member
    472 posts
    Helper bee

    Will there be other servers cleaning up the area? As in removing empty bottles, etc? I have a big house party for 75 every year and I always have a self serve bar, but it gets messy! I’m always straightening napkins and cleaning spills.

    Member
    3217 posts
    Sugar bee

    I think it depends on what kind of feel your wedding has and of course how many guests you have.

    Personally I would prefer a bartender, but I wouldn’t be outraged or anything if there was a self serve bar. Especially if the wedding is pretty casual/rustic.

    Member
    3819 posts
    Honey bee

    I agree with BuffaloDots, that you’ll need at least one server to cover the bar area. Someone needs to get rid of the empties, and I’m guessing you’re not going to put ALL the beer bottles out at once. Plus putting out extra glasses, etc.

    Member
    1118 posts
    Bumble bee

    I say pass on the bartender!  I paid for a bartender and we had keg beer and wine.  Honestly, it was a waste of money to have the bartender.  By the end of the night the kegs were pulled out and everyone was self serving anyway.  However, that fit the “vibe” of our wedding.  It was laid back and relaxed.  If you are having a more black tie, fancey seated dinner then the bartender might be a better fit for you.

    Member
    1617 posts
    Bumble bee

    ok then ya, I’d pass on the bar tender. If guest don’t actually have to mix their own drinks then I think you’re good to go!!

    Member
    2439 posts
    Buzzing bee

    I think I would prefer to have a bartender for a wedding, I feel self-serve would be better for a more casual event or party

    Member
    213 posts
    Helper bee

    I voted to pass on the bartender, since your guests won’t have to mix drinks.  I prefer to pour my own wine, no need to pay someone to do that!

    Member
    1987 posts
    Buzzing bee

    I’d have the bartender – even if you had one for 6 hours with tip it would only be around $200.  It’s a nice touch for a very small amount of money.

    ETA:  I don’t know if you’ll be having anyone underage at your wedding, but I wouldn’t want to deal with that if you are.  Also, bartenders are trained to cut people off if they’re drinking too much – you don’t want to be liable if something happens to anyone who’s been drinking too much.

    Member
    2828 posts
    Sugar bee

    You will need someone to refil the jugs, mop up spills, put out more glasses, put out more beers, etc. 

    Self serve gets messy very quickly.  People leave cups and bottles around, and spills happen often. 

    Member
    950 posts
    Busy bee

    As long as the alcohol is pre-portioned i think this is fine.

    Where I live this is illegal in a public venue – alcohol must be served by someone who has taken a serving course and if there are more than 25 people the door needs security.  You might want to just check the liquor licensing rules.

    Member
    2298 posts
    Buzzing bee

    I’d love it as a guest but think it could be a headache. And I was just coming to comment on liability as well, which I see a previous poster mentioned. Make sure you check into that. Even if it is allowed, you may need to pick up some dram shop insurance.

    Member
    5755 posts
    Bee Keeper

    ..once a bartender, always a bartender….I cannot tell you how many functions I have attended with a self serve bar, only to find myself behind the thing slinging drinks like the old days for everyone’s amusement and libation….not that I mind, it’s something I always loved doing…I would imagine someone will keep an eye on the thing for you, out of habit…I would.

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