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Back Bar Essentials: The Bar Accessories & Supplies You Need

Despite its name, your back bar should be front and center as you set up your establishment. After all, it’s a key focus area for patrons who want to see the beverages you have on hand and like watching their drinks being made, and it’s ground zero for your bartenders who do the lion’s share of their work there.

There’s a lot of gear, but every piece is necessary for running a successful bar. Here are the essential bar supplies you’ll need.

Back Bar Equipment

A number of items culminate in the perfect drinks passed across the bar on a Saturday night.

Drinkware: “Every back bar setup needs an ample amount of glassware,” says Ken Pisarcik, co-owner of the Las Vegas Lounge in Philadelphia. Glasses must be within easy reach of both liquor and bar supplies — and there must be plenty of them. “If you run out of glassware, you’re grossly limiting your potential sales.” The exact drinkware you choose for your establishment should reflect your drink menu.

Pour Spouts, Pour Testers & Jiggers: These items can all help with making sure every drink has a perfect pour. Over-pouring your liquor can lead to a loss in profits and inconsistency in the drinks you serve. While jiggers are a great option for measuring, they are not always calibrated during manufacturing. Pour testers can help for confirming the measurement as well as for testing your bartenders if you have a free pouring bar.

Blenders: You need a heavy-duty commercial blender that can quickly help you make the blended drinks your customers will want. While blenders come in a variety of materials — glass, plastic, stainless steel — capacity and horsepower should guide your decisions. If you are making large quantities with chunks of frozen fruit and big ice cubes, then you need a blender with more power than if you are blending mostly liquids and smaller pieces of ice.

Muddlers: Today’s customers want fresh ingredients, and a muddler is essential for working them into your beverages. Whether you are working with fresh fruits or fresh herbs, the muddler will help you get the juice out of them and into the drink. Look for a thicker utensil to get more crushing and mixing power.

Other Small Equipment: You’ll also need these basics to keep your bar going:

  • Bottle openers
  • Peeler (for garnishes)
  • Bar spoon
  • Cocktail shakers
  • Hawthorne strainers
  • Hand juicer
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Ice scoop

And on the Larger Side: For larger equipment, “a three-compartment sink or commercial glass washer is essential for any back bar,” says Pisarcik. So is a commercial ice bin and coolers for bottles and other items that need to be chilled.

So when you’re making room for all those bar supplies and bartending equipment, don’t forget to factor in the human element. Set up stations for specific activities, like blending drinks, and make sure there’s room to properly shake those cocktails. Finally, stock equipment, mixers and glasses within easy reach of the work area — if bartenders can’t serve efficiently, they can’t sell successfully.

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