As a potential new bar owner, you’ve probably been dreaming about your perfect establishment. However, with cities like London seeing a steep decline in bar and pub numbers in recent years, opening a bar is becoming ever more stressful, chaotic, and damn hard work.
But what does it take to open a bar?
Chances are you’ve come across the term ‘location, location, location’ and when it comes to opening a new bar, nothing is more important. Sure, you’ll need a great concept, a first-rate product, and excellent customer service, but your bar’s location will be the foundation of your business and have a major impact on its success.
Here are five tips that will help you choose the ideal location and help your new bar flourish.
1. Establish the style of your new bar
Before deciding where to base your new bar, it is vital that you have a solid understanding of the style of bar you aim to open. This will set the tone for your new establishment and therefore heavily influence where best to position your bar.
For example, is your establishment going to be an elegant bar with a range of chic cocktails? Or something slightly more rough and ready such as a sports bar? Either way, understanding the characteristics of the bar you aim to create will make it easy for you to then match these with a location.
2. Know your demographics
Once you’ve established the style of your new bar, the next step is to research the demographics of a location. This could be the average age of an area, the number of people under the age of 30, or the average household income, all of which can often be found online and in census data. As a result, you will have an insight into who lives in an area and whether they are likely to visit your new bar.
For example, if your new bar is aimed at a younger generation, settling your bar in a busy student town would be a great idea, while if you’re looking to open a quaint pub for locals, a quiet village location may be more appropriate.
3. Where do you want your bar to be located?
When opening a bar, it’s important to select a space that meets all your requirements. Though the details of this will be specific to your bar, there are a number of general points to consider when choosing the space for your new bar.
Firstly, ask yourself, how easy is it to get to the location? ‘Build it and they will come’ is not always applicable with new bars and in order for your bar to reach its full potential, it’s important that both local people and customers from outside the immediate area can reach it. Therefore, choosing a location that has parking and in close proximity to public transport is key, as this will increase your customer numbers, and hopefully your revenue!
Consider how much competition there is in the location you wish to set up your bar. For example, London’s Soho is famous for its cocktail bars so if you wish to open a similar bar in that area, your new bar will have a fierce amount of competition. However, there may be an opportunity for you to open a bar in an area which has never seen a bar of your kind, leaving you as the only option for customers to choose.