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Ultimate Bar Checklist 

November 3, 2021 by Joel Davidge

When you’re running a bar, there are things you won’t want to miss.

As experts in the industry of cocktail bar hire and mobile bar hire, we know a thing or two about pulling off the perfect event.

A well-run bar can make the difference between an unforgettable event and a night that’s remembered for all the wrong reasons. If you’re considering running a bar for an event, and want to learn more about what you need to run a bar, we’ve done the hard work for you.

Without further ado, here’s the ultimate bar checklist so you can get going on the right food for your next cocktail event.

Opening the bar

A bar with full shelves of spirit bottles

Set up chairs and tables, and wipe down surfaces and ensure everything is ready for service. 

Clean and polish all glassware and bottles so they’re ready for service

Ensure you have all the bar tools and bar equipment you need

Ensure all the alcohol and kegs are stocked and ready for service, and if necessary ensure extra stock is easily available

Restock clean glassware

Ensure the ice is stocked

Make sure the lemons, limes and garnishes are fresh and prepared 

Stock any other required garnishes like herbs, cherries and olives.

Ensure fridges are stocked and ready for service 

Clean the beer lines and pour some beer through to make sure they are all working. 

Stock up on clean towels, napkins, straws, beer openers, wine keys and pens.

Closing the bar

You’ll want to keep a checklist of cleaning tasks to ensure that nothing is missed. A laminated copy will mean you can wipe it clear at the end of each shift to reduce on paper waste.

A pen ticks off cleaning tasks on an ultimate bar checklist

Clean the beer taps and check they’re connected 

Wipe down the entire bar, and sanitise the tables.

Wash all glassware collected at the end of the shift. (Glassware can always be left out to air dry) 

Clean out all garnish trays and mixer bottles

Store all leftover, usable garnishes in the fridge 

Clean pour spouts and check all soft drink taps are clean 

Empty and reline the bins

Make sure the floor is clean and free of debris 

Sweep and mop the floors 

Restock bar as required

Wash and sanitise ice scoops

Clean garnish containers 

Cleaning the bar during service

A bartender clears tables during restaurant service

Throughout a bar shift, bar staff must keep the bar clean and tidy, both for customer experience as well as safety. 

From wiping the bar down to straightening chairs, cleaning surfaces and storing away any used boxes or bottles, bartenders need to work efficiently and effectively to ensure no waste piles up and your guests can enjoy a clean and welcoming environment. 

If you are looking for tips for running a permanent bar, we’ve run through some top tips below. 

Weekly bar cleaning jobs

A hand in a pair of cleaning gloves holds a spray bottle with cleaning chemicals

There will be some more thorough cleaning jobs that will need to be carried out weekly. These general cleaning tasks will require a little more care but will avoid anything building up over time. 

Weekly bar cleaning jobs include: 

  • Cleaning the inside of fridges of any spillages
  • Wiping down and dusting the shelves
  • Dust clean glasses on the shelves or racks 
  • Flush and sanitize keg lines 
  • Dust hard to reach areas, and mop and sweep under appliances 
  • Clean out bar drip trays 
  • Check the freshness of any fresh ingredients in the fridge 
  • Inspect all areas of the bar for general cleanliness

Biannual cleaning tasks

Every few months or so, you should deep-clean your bar to ensure you are maintaining a clean, welcoming and safe environment for both guests and employees.

You may need cleaning crews for some of these more intense cleaning jobs, but they’re certainly worth it. This includes floor cleaning and waxing, carpet cleaning and steaming, deep cleaning the upholstery. 

Cocktail glasses and bartending equipment

Glassware on a restaurant table

  • Collins glasses
  • Pint glasses
  • Wine glasses
  • Mixing glasses 
  • Martini glasses
  • Whisky glasses
  • Highball glasses 
  • Jiggers
  • Muddlers
  • Cocktail shakers
  • Cocktail spoon 
  • Bottle openers
  • Cocktail strainers
  • Muddling supplies
  • Garnishing tools
  • Bar mats
  • Cutting boards 
  • Straws and stirrers
  • Napkins and coasters
  • Ice cube trays and ice buckets 
  • Bar towels
  • Garnish trays

Alcoholic drinks

  • Vodka
  • Gin
  • Tequila
  • Whiskey


  • Amaretto
  • Coffee Liqueur
  • Irish Cream Liqueur
  • Orange Liqueur
  • Dry and Sweet Vermouth

Ensure your bar is also stocked with garnishes, fruit juices (orange, pineapple, tomato, grapefruit, pineapple, cranberry) lemonade, coke, tonic water, milk, cream, and any sauces such as tabasco and Worcestershire sauce. 


Looking to hire private bartenders for your event? Maybe you need cocktail bar hire for a one-off occasion.

Whatever you need, get in touch with The Cocktail Service. We’re a bar staffing agency with years of experience in the industry and can help you find the perfect bar staff for your next event. 


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