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The Ultimate Guide To Mobile Bar Hire

January 17, 2020 by Tom Bronock


Hiring the right mobile bar for your event can be tricky, with hundreds of companies offering the service across the UK.

However, it is important that you choose the right company who can give your event the extraordinary service it deserves – whether a corporate event, a wedding or a VIP party.

We have put together this guide to mobile bar hire to take you through everything you need to know about hiring a mobile bar – from things to think about to the services you need, as well as questions to ask your suppliers.

If you want to find out more about our own mobile bar hire services, get in touch and we’ll be happy to discuss our options with you.

Things to Think About

The Size of the Venue

This is an important starting point. The size of the venue will have an impact on the number of guests, as well as the space needed for other pieces of the event – like how big the dance floor will be, or where tables will go for a sit-down meal – and, of course, the size of the bar you will need.

Our mobile bars need approximately 1m of space behind them for the bartenders to work, and they typically come in 1.5-2m increments in length.

Top Tip: Check the venue capacity requirements to make sure it can safely cater for all your guests.

Number of Guests

In order to fully cost the consumables at your event, you need to know how many people you will be catering for.

There is nothing worse than running out of stock before the night is over, or not providing enough canapes to satisfy your guests.

When you speak to your bar supplier, be sure to ask them for recommendations on stock levels. Our full bar service includes all stock needed to cater for all your guests, but if you aren’t using a full service make sure that you have more than enough available to cope with demand.

Top Tip: Be generous in your stock estimations to ensure the bar does not run dry.

Type of Event

Although every event has the same base needs, some events need specialist suppliers.

Weddings, corporate events and parties will all need a bar, but the offerings behind that bar will not be the same.

Whether you want to dazzle your wedding guests with a champagne bar, or wow your VIPs at a cocktail bar, each event is individual and you need to speak to your supplier to ensure that they can provide your guests with what you need. For weddings in particular, it is also crucial to avoid these diy wedding bar mistakes. Is there a theme or a colour scheme? Do you need to brand your bar, your beer bottles or your cocktails?

Top Tip: Make sure your supplier has experience in catering for your type of event.

What Service do you Need?

Full Service Bar

This service is an all-inclusive package, which includes all the alcohol, cocktails and mixers, bartending equipment, glassware and the bartenders too.

It is meant to be a one-stop solution for your event, so you can leave the planning and execution in the hands of your supplier.

At The Cocktail Service, we offer a range of bars to suit all types of events and venues, from our House Bar to a Botanical Bar, the Ice Bar to Bespoke finishes (including logos, colours and designs). To find out about our full range, you can download our Mobile Bar brochure here.

Top Tip: Make sure you speak to several suppliers for quotes – and know exactly what you are getting for your money.

Select Services

You might have a bar in the venue, but you want a supplier to provide staff, drinks and glassware.

Or, you might have already got your preferred drinks list, and just need staff.

Most mobile bars are happy to provide select services where needed – just make sure you are aware of what that doesn’t include – for example, here at The Cocktail Service we only provide glassware and ice if we are also providing liquid stock.

Aside from our full Mobile Bar and Cocktail Bar service, we also offer:
Bartender Hire
Wedding Hire
Events Planning
Corporate Events
Bar Consultancy Services
Marketing and Brand Activation

Dry Hire

If you have already got the bartenders and drinks ready, but you need a themed bar – or a simple bar in a special location, then a dry bar hire is what you need.
Most mobile bar hire companies will offer this service.

Top Tip: If your dry hire bar is going to be outside, speak to the supplier to ensure that they can compensate for uneven surfaces – fields aren’t generally that flat!

Pay Bar

This service includes floats, card machines and any required licences, and allows guests to purchase their alcohol. This option will usually include a minimum spend, which is usually covered by the guests early on at the event. Be sure to know what the minimum spend is, and ask the supplier to be clear on drink costs for your guests.

Subsidised Pay Bar

Like a pay bar, the subsidised pay bar allows for guests to buy their own drinks, but the event planner can set up some form of subsidy – whether a certain number of free drinks, cheaper prices on certain drinks, or any other option.

At The Cocktail Service, we find that customers like to offer a set number of prepaid drinks at the beginning of the event to get it off to a great start. Make sure your guests know what the subsidy arrangement is so that they can take full advantage of your generosity!

Cocktail Bar

The cocktail bar, complete with mixologists and flair bartenders, is the ultimate in VIP luxury. A full-service cocktail bar includes not only the drinks, mixers, ice and equipment, but also knowledgeable bartenders who are able to not only create fantastic cocktails but can create a spectacle with their flair skills.

Our Cocktail Bar Service is the best in the business – not only do we have beautiful bars to suit any venue and theme, we also supply the staff to make your event a success.

Our huge database of event staff includes flair bartenders, mixologists, ice carvers and brand ambassadors. We work with the modelling agency to source staff to meet any requirements, and all our staff undergo rigorous training to be able to provide super-premium service at high-volume events. All our staff are presented with immaculate uniform (this can be bespoke to suit your needs).

As our name suggests, here at The Cocktail Service we specialise in mixology. Our Head Mixologist comes up with new menus based on the very latest innovations and the season – making the most of garnishes, flavours, glassware and ice to create cocktails that are all about flavour and appearance – much like in a fine restaurant.

Of course, the cocktails themselves provide a wow factor, but by utilising our amazing flair bartenders to entertain as they serve, your guests will have an unforgettable experience.

Top Tip: Why not ask your supplier if they have Flair Bartenders available to entertain your guests?

Questions to Ask Your Supplier

Do They Offer a Full Service?
When you are speaking to a potential supplier, make sure you know what they can supply you.

Some mobile bar services don’t offer a full cocktail service, whilst others have only one style of bar available.

When you get a quote make sure that everything you want for your event is included – from drinks to staff, bar surfaces and glassware.

Do They Have Experience?
In this age of social media, websites and customer reviews it has never been easier to check out a company and what they can do before you even speak to them.

If you are looking for a mobile bar hire service, make sure you check out their online presence – you should be able to see not only pictures of their setups, but also get an idea of who they have worked with in the past and what type of events they run.

If you are looking for an experienced bar service for a music festival, using a supplier that specialises in corporate events might not be suitable.

Top Tip: Price often reflects quality – the cheapest option is not likely to be the best.

Do They Offer Other Services?
In our experience, catering services who also offer bar services might not live up to the standards you expect.

Most mobile bar services do not offer catering options – because this isn’t their speciality. The same is often true with catering companies – they see adding a bar option to your package as an easy upsell but lack the skill and experience to provide the very best in bartending – and little to no mixology knowledge, too.

While it might be tempting to go all-in with one company for all your catering and bar needs, this might have a negative impact on your guests’ experience. One idea is to use a top quality caterer and a quality bar hire service.

What are their Alternative Pricing Options?
When you are getting your quotes for your mobile bar hire service, ask for a range of options to see how they work within your budget.

Often, giving a budget to the supplier can help them to show you the options most suited to you – there shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach to the quote you are getting; a top quality mobile bar hire service should be able to offer bespoke packages to suit your event (and your budget).

Top Tip: Provide your suppliers with an idea of budget and get the most out of your quote with alternative options

Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
This is a point that is often ignored by event planners across all industries.

In the daily struggle to save money, organisers might be tempted to source supplies themselves and get the bare minimum from their bar hire company.

This is problematic for many reasons – not least, the capacity for mistakes and miscommunication.

Whilst many mobile bar hire companies do offer select services, it can be complicated to work out exactly what you need when you are using different suppliers and sourcing glassware or drinks yourself.

When we offer select services, like our Bartender Hire, we provide well-trained staff, bartending equipment and a shopping list – this ensures that not only can you source the appropriate alcohol and mixers, but the right shaped glassware for cocktails and other drinks.

Top Tip: Don’t be tempted to save money by taking on more than you can competently cope with.

Corporate Events

Planning a corporate event needs careful consideration.

If you are looking to impress clients at a product launch, you want to make sure that your branding is on point throughout the event.

With advances in technology and creativity, you can get almost everything you need branded; we can create branded bars and bottles, but also offer branded ice cubes and garnishes too!

When you are looking at mobile bar hire suppliers, make sure that they are experienced in Corporate Events and can provide you with branding if that is something you need.

If you are looking to market your brand using a bar service, why not speak to our Marketing and Brand Activation team who are a charismatic, creative bunch dedicated to assisting any brand to launch a new product or concept with specially created cocktails, branded items, bars and staff to really make the experience.

Our Corporate Bar Hire offers companies the opportunity to have their events managed by a dedicated Account Manager from our team. This means that we can really take the stress out of planning all aspects of your event – our team has extensive knowledge of events planning from the ground up, so we know how to make your event spectacular – and make the most out of your budget.

Top Tip: Make sure your chosen bar hire company has corporate events experience. Bonus points if they can help with branding!

Wedding Bar Services
Creating the perfect bar for your wedding is another layer of complexity when hiring a mobile bar.

When you have decided on the theme, colour scheme and venue, you want to make sure that the bar you choose can offer show-stopping service and drinks. Whether you are looking for a tower of champagne glasses, a carved ice sculpture or bespoke cocktails, creating the perfect bar experience for the wedding guests means looking for that ‘special’ difference.

Our Wedding Bar Service offers not only a full bespoke bar, with cocktails and drinks of your choice, we also have an experienced Wedding Planner on hand to make your event truly show-stopping.

Elderflower Collins Cocktail

Top Tip: When talking to your supplier, find out what other weddings they have done. Don’t be afraid to ask for a portfolio.

When it comes to planning any event, there are often lots of ‘moving parts’ that need to come together on the big day.

As with any part of the planning process, ensure that when you approach your mobile bar suppliers you get several in-depth quotes so that you know exactly what you are getting from them.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions – your event is special to you, and it is important that you understand every aspect. There is no such thing as a stupid question!

When considering mobile bar hire, we suggest going to dedicated bar hire companies rather than just using your catering company to save time and money. Choosing a company that specialises in bar services means that not only are you getting the very best value for money, you will impress your guests far more.

Don’t be tempted to take too much on yourself. Many bar hire companies have dedicated account managers and a full team of people to make sure that your event goes exactly as planned – saving money by sourcing your own liquid stock and glassware could turn into an expensive problem when you run out of something.

We have many years of experience providing mobile bars to corporate events for companies like Lavazza, Audi, Redbull and M&C Saatchi, as well as delivering mobile bar services to festivals, parties and weddings all over the UK.

If you would like to find out more, please contact us and see how The Cocktail Service can provide your event with the perfect mobile bar.


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