(Closed) Consumption based bar

posted 4 years ago in Reception
  • poll: How much was your consumption bar? If more than 40 people please comment! 😊



  • Post # 2
    1083 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: June 2017

    I’m guessing that’s an open bar that you pay by the drink for? 

    Ive heard of some outrageous bar tabs in the past. I think the craziest one was my friend’s wedding a few years ago. They had around 150 people. $20k bar bill. I kid you not. 

    We paid for bar service by the hour. 4 hours were included with our package, and then we added an extra hour at $4/person. 

    Can you offer beer and wine only? Not sure what your budget is, or what type of crowed you’ll have. But after I heard that $20k bar bill story.. that’s just crazy.

    Post # 3
    590 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: August 2016

    We had 110 guests and our bar tab was 12k

    Post # 4
    1493 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2015

    View original reply
    milkandcookies :  We had a full open bar because we had a lot of drinkers at the wedding. If you can afford it I would highly recommend that so you don’t end up with a huge tab at the end of the night.

    Post # 5
    4905 posts
    Honey bee

    It really depends on your crowd.  When I’ve done consumption bar for parties it has been because the crowd isn’t big into drinking (i.e. my family – I’m the biggest lush and the handful of people in my family who will drink will never have more than one or two – a 3 hour bar tab has only run me 250-300 for alcohol for 40 people).  But my SO’s family has alcohol at every occasion.

    A good rule of thumb for the average drinker is two drinks the first hour and one drink each additional hour.  Multiply that times your highest price drink available (or take the average) for your estimate.  So if you’re at a place that charges 10-13 dollars per drink or a heavy drinking crowd you may be better with open per person bar.  If your drinks are 4-8 dollars per drink or you have a light drinking crowd then consumption may work in your favor.

    Post # 6
    1349 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: July 2017 - The Lodge at Little Seneca Creek

    We bought beer and wine from a liquor store and had an open bar at our wedding with 55 guests. We spent about $600 on beer, wine, ice, and cooler rentals. We were able to sell back unopened alcohol, and we got back $180. So, all in all, we spent about $420. The cost probably would’ve been more if our venue provided the alcohol and/or if we had liquor as well.

    Post # 7
    185 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: November 2018

    I wouldn’t go consumption unless you know you have a bunch of light drinkers and some  non-drinkers. Otherwise an open bar with a per person hourly rate would be better.

    Post # 8
    464 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: July 2018

    For an open bar, most hotels/country clubs in my area for 100 people could easily be over 5k. We are getting married on a private location and by our own liquor. For 100 people we budget for 12 drinks per person at $1,200.

    Post # 9
    6496 posts
    Bee Keeper

    View original reply
    milkandcookies :  we had a consumption bar for the evening. We placed a cap on the cost per drink of around £8 (as single drinks at our venue went right up to £30). This covered dozens of spirits, all soft drinks, beer and cider, some cocktails, and some wine (guests were informed when ordering if a drink wasn’t included and could opt to pay, which some did. In the UK you cannot dictate what drinks are offered, or choose to have some removed from the bar/menu). The  total came to £2150 (approx 2800 USD at the current exchange rate). We technically had 70 guests in the evening, but some didn’t stay long and some weren’t drinking alcohol; I would say around 40 people were drinking alcohol all night. The bar ran from 7pm-2am.

    I should also add that during the day we provided 2 welcome drinks (1 mimosa and 1 prosecco), a glass of champagne for the toast, plus 1/2 a bottle of wine or 3 beers/ciders pp. This definitely impacted consumption in the evening (reduced it) as a lot of the older crowd had drunk enough alcohol by that point and so were going a bit steady. Drinks during the day cost a further £3.5k (4.5k USD), bringing the total spent on alcohol to £5.6k/7.3k USD. 

    Last thing: our budget for the bar was £3k, so we actually came in under budget. You need to allow more than you hope to spend when having a consumption based bar to give yourselves a cushion. 

    Post # 11
    1489 posts
    Bumble bee

    3K for beer, wine and champagne for 50 people. We pre selected our drinks to keep some control of costs. This was for our engagement party not wedding 

    Post # 12
    168 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: October 2017

    with a consumption bar at our venue – we can give them a $ amt to stop at and it will switch to a cash bar.  Don’t forget to take into consideration tax and gratuity! 

    Post # 13
    2617 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: September 2016

    We had about 50 guests.  Our bill was about $650.

    Post # 14
    2352 posts
    Buzzing bee

    View original reply
    milkandcookies :  70 ppl. Top shelf and it was $1,300. Wedding went from cocktail hour starting at 4:30- until 9ish(but most people left after cake). It did not close down for dinner. My family is a bunch of drinkers.  


    As PP said you may tell the bar do not go over $1000, if taht is what you feel comfortable with. 

    Post # 15
    1249 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2017

    I wouldn’t switch to a cash bar after a certain price cap is met. That would be incredibly confusing for your guests, that suddenly they have to pay for their drinks. And how do you cut it off? “Sorry Aunt Susie, Cousin Joe in front of you just got the last free drink, you’re going to have to pay from now on.”

    The most I would do if you’re trying to keep it at a certain limit would be to have them close the bar slightly earlier if a cap is reached, if they’re able to do that. So, if they were going to close the bar a half hour before the reception ended, make it 45 minutes or an hour. 

    The topic ‘Consumption based bar’ is closed to new replies.

    Find Amazing Vendors