Setting up a bar is always a detail-oriented task - but setting up a satellite bar for a catered event (indoors and outdoors) has it's own unique set of important things to remember. As we geared up for a few of our recent New York City events (Columbia University and Red Nose Day at 404 NYC), we reviewed a few points with our staff to keep in mind:
HOW-TO SET UP A SATELLITE BAR
First - there are a few questions that the Catering Captain will address. Where is the bar(s) to be set up? What materials are being used to create the bar? Is it a 6ft or 8ft table? Is the bar on risers? Once you know the geography of the bar, use the following as a guide on how-to for satellite bars at catered events. Remembering that every bar will differ.
- Does the bar require linens? If so, ask the contact person/Captain which linens you are to pull for the bar. Make sure to box the bar and back bar appropriately. (click here for a table boxing tutorial)
- What is the product needed for this event? Is it a beer and wine bar or is it a full bar? Once you know what is required, you need to locate the product and start stocking the bar. Make sure to save the product boxes for post event needs. Reference next section for specifics.
- When stocking the bar, is the product or glassware to be displayed? Is the product or glassware to be tucked away or hidden? Know appropriate glassware for all drinks and stock accordingly. Reference next section for specifics.
- You will need a minimum of 2 ice buckets behind the bar. (Additional ice buckets are dependent on guest count/# of bartenders/size of bar). If possible, elevate ice buckets on milk crates. One ice bucket is to be used for white wine/beer/water-CHILLING and the other ice bucket is to be used for DRINKING ICE. Make sure you line all buckets with clear garbage bags. Do not use black garbage bags, this will dye the ice. Do not use drink ice for chilling or vice versa. This is a huge health violation. You must use an ice scoop (or shaker tin if not available) for all scooped ice. You may not use any type of glass to scoop ice.
- All white wine/beer/bottled water needs to be on ice a minimum of 45min. prior to the start of the event.
- What type of water will be served at the event? Tap/Bottled/Sparkling, a combination? Stock accordingly.
- Make sure to stock and if needed cut all required garnishes. Are you using tongs to put garnishes on beverages? If not, ask client if your hands are ok to use – don’t just assume this ok.
- If floor mats are available make sure to place them behind bar prior to start of event.
- Stock all paper product including, napkins, straws, stirrers.
- If there is a specialty cocktail, does it need to be batched? If batched, who is in charge of batching cocktails? Should you be adding liquor when you’re serving or is it to be served as is?
- Once the event has started, keep track of when an item is running low. Make sure to restock before its empty.
- Know what you are to do with empty bottles. Are you to dispose of them? Are you to place them in product boxes? Clarify before start of event.
- Know who is to act as the designated bar back for that event. Is it a bartender, a server, porter/sanit, you?
- Keep bar clean and well-stocked for entire duration of event. This includes, moving all dirty glassware to lugs/racks (located in a sanit area), wiping bar down, restocking, etc. You should confirm with client/captain prior to the start of the event the proper way to restock glasses at the bar – i.e. is there room for lugs under the bar/should glasses on trays be used for replenishing / how should you transport lugs/racks to kitchen/sanit.
- When the event is over, you will need to then break down the bar.. This means, disposing of ice, removing linens, putting product back where it came from, making sure all dirty glassware is in lugs/glass racks. Before you leave, double check nothing is left at the bar. The bar should be deconstructed to how it was when you arrived to the event. There are often additional responsibilities for closing bartenders that have nothing to do with the bar. This may include throwing out trash or loading a truck. Be prepared for this.
We hope this helps give some general guidelines when gearing up for your next catered beverage service. Cheers to a superb satellite bar set-up!