Self-Serve Bar?

posted 2 years ago in Reception
Post # 2
Member
1902 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

Are you sure you can’t just hire a bartender to serve the drinks?  I only ask, because it’s a huge liability to have people pour their own drinks.  It would suck if anything happened to your guests, especially if they had too much to drink.

Post # 4
Member
260 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

lala3005:  Your situation totally stinks!! I’m sorry you are dealing with that.  I’d say, keep it simple.  Pre made “signature” drinks, and beer/wine should be fine.  What about sangria or a punch (1 magnum bottle pinot grigio +1 can froz. lemonade +.5 liter sprite….double/triple/etc in equal parts).  You could also make giant batches of margaritas.  I wouldn’t bother with extra booze/mixers- things get messy when people can control how strong they can make their drinks. 

Post # 5
Member
6032 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

100-150 people serving their own drinks is going to be a huge mess, and it is not fair at all to expect family members to look after the mess. Do you need a licensed bartender? If not, then go to the local culinary school and see if you can hire a couple of students. They usually do externships for some of their course credits. Or ask one of your co-workers if their college-aged kid wants to earn a few dollars (assuming the kid is not invited to the wedding and is of legal drinking age). Ask your caterer to send you an extra waiter. There are lots and lots of ways to find a couple of people to look after a basic drinks setup and not  break the bank. Self service does not work for more than a small and intimate crowd. Even if everyone drinks in moderation, there’s glasses, ice, empty bottles etc that all need to be looked after, spills to clean up, trash to throw away…. you will have a beer-soaked disaster area if no one is responsible to look after that.

Post # 6
Member
3713 posts
Sugar bee

lala3005:  I’d check the state laws, just to be sure. My daughter was married, at a hotel in Delware. The contract specifically stated, that according to state law, they were allowed to put a maximum of X ounces of alcohol, in each mixed drink. (I think it was 1.5?). Pre-mixed only, should be fine.

 

Post # 7
Member
1230 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

lala3005:  I’m SHOCKED you can’t find a bartender to work your event. I AM a bartender and we LOVE working private events. This is what you should do.

Patron a reputable, good restaurant in your area. Get to know the bar staff. Seriously, go every night for one-two drinks for like two weeks. Chit chat with them, get their deets, learn who the bar manager is. If you meet a bartender you like, approach them or even better bar manager about getting their info. Stick with craft-cocktail driven restaurants. The bartenders there tend to be more disciplined and professional. (FYI- This is also the fastest and best way to become a regular and get awesome service/buy-backs)

I’m a craft cocktail bartender (I HATE the term mixologist). My bar that I work for is legit- we’ve been on the cover of Food and Wine and in all the city mags since we opened. We do plenty of private events, often times free of charge (though I don’t recommend expecting not to pay what a bartender would typically make on a Saturday night- 250-ish or more, depending on the part of the country you live in). We LOVE private events because 1. It gets the restaurant name out there; 2. We can network and get people willing to visit us at work and 3. it’s easy money, compared to the shitshow that is Saturday night in most bars. 

Don’t allow a cocktail free for all. And there is no reason to even give a deposit for a bartender. Just a few hundred dollars the night of will suffice. 

Post # 10
Member
6032 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

The reason you’re not getting great helpful tips on how to do self-service bar for 100+ people is that it’s a logistical night!are. You don’t really want your Aunt Polly schlepping around a five-gallon bucket of ice in her nice Go To Wedding dress. You don’t want Cousin Bob huffing and puffing because he couldn’t mingle because he was constantly tidying. It is a great idea for a frat kegger. For a wedding, not so great.

are you having hair or makeup done? If so, ask your stylist. If you’ve got a DJ, ask him/her. Vendors know lots of people in the industry and they’re happy to make referrals. Even better if it’s an off-the-books cash-paying gig. Surely there are a couple of people over 21 and under 70 or so in your town that wouldn’t mind making some pocket money on a summer weekend. Go by word of mouth. Don’t bother with Craigslist. If there’s a temp agency in your area, try there.

heck, if you post your location, you’ll probably end up with a couple of bees lined up who wouldn’t mind a little extra cash!

if all you want is beer/wine/basic drinks and maybe a batch-mixed cocktail, and keep things clean and tidy there are no special skills required. Anyone of legal drinking age should be a better choice than no one at all. Realistically you’ll need 2 someone’s, maybe three, but you get my drift. 

Post # 12
Member
1230 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

lala3005:  Boston, it sounds like you aren’t anywhere near me….. but I’d travel! 🙂

Post # 14
Member
1230 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

lala3005:  As far as signature drinks you want to prebatch I know tons. What do you like? I can throw some recipes as you. Citrus? Dry? specific spirits?

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