The Speakeasy Bar Guide: Tips from the Pros

The Speakeasy Bar Guide: Tips from the Pros

If you’re looking to create an unforgettable nightlife experience, a speakeasy bar is the perfect solution. These bars offer an air of exclusivity and intrigue that can’t be found anywhere else. However, setting up and running a speakeasy bar can be tricky.

That’s why we’re sharing pro tips on how to design and run a speakeasy in your area:

1. Know the Laws

The last thing you want to happen in your business is to face a closure notice. Before you do anything, get yourself familiar with the laws in your area. Each place has different rules when it comes to liquor licenses, zoning laws, and permissible activities.

Once you know the lay of the land, you can start designing your bar accordingly. If you’re unsure about anything, consult with a local business lawyer to make sure you’re in compliance.

You also need to ensure that all your employees are familiar with these regulations. Ignorance is not an excuse if something goes wrong.

2. Choose a Theme

Many speakeasies have a distinct theme. These include Prohibition style, 1920s retro, and modern luxury. If you’re going for a retro look, vintage furniture might be appropriate. On the other hand, if your theme is more about exclusivity and class, designer furniture with bespoke upholstery would make for an excellent choice.

Incorporate decor into your bar design to create the perfect atmosphere without breaking the bank. For example:

  • Use old books as table decorations or game boards on tables.
  • Old license plates could serve as wall art behind the bar.
  • Old wooden crates can double as storage space or even seating areas in outdoor spaces.
  • Use vintage decor. Think antique furniture, old maps, and Prohibition-era memorabilia. This will help set the mood and transport your guests back in time!

3. Think Mystery and Exclusivity

people drinking together

One of the main appeals of speakeasies is the air of exclusivity that they carry. You can create this feeling by implementing a few key design features.

For example, see to it that your guests have to go through an obstacle course or secret entrance to get in. Design your bar so that it’s difficult to see from the outside. This will add to the mystery and allure.

Create a VIP area with restricted access for those who want extra privacy or special treatment. Use password-protected entrances and exits to keep things under wraps until the last minute.

Encourage guests to dress up in 1920s-style clothing for a truly immersive experience. Play jazz or blues music and dim the lights low enough to create a speakeasy mood.

Finally, don’t forget to install a hidden liquor cabinet behind bookshelves or in another hidden location so that your customers can enjoy their favorite drinks without being seen by anyone else.

The more exclusivity you can create, the better!

4. Plan the Menu

The menu is one of the most important aspects of your speakeasy bar. Offer a wide selection of food and drinks that will appeal to all types of people, no matter what their tastes are like.

Don’t just focus on alcohol either. Provide non-alcoholic beverages as well, so everyone can enjoy themselves. Some examples include beer (domestic or imported), wine by the glass and bottle, specialty cocktails made with local spirits such as bourbon whiskey made in Kentucky or Tennessee moonshine from North Carolina/South Carolinians who lived there during prohibition times.

They often still make these today using recipes handed down through generations. You might even consider offering some high-end liquors for those who want something more expensive than what’s available at the bar.

  • Don’t forget about snacks either. Offer food such as pretzels and peanuts to keep people coming back again. A good rule of thumb is that you should have one drink option on hand per person, so if you’re having a party with 30 guests, then it’s best to plan ahead by stocking up ahead

5. Train Your Staff

Your staff is one of the most vital parts of your speakeasy bar. They will be the ones interacting with your guests and helping them have a good time. Train them on all aspects of the bar, from how to make cocktails to how to run the register.

Equally as important, make sure they are familiar with all the regulations that apply to running a speakeasy bar. This includes things like knowing how much liquor they can serve each customer and what types of drinks are allowed.

If you’re not comfortable training your staff yourself, consider hiring a professional bartending school to do it for you. That way, you can be sure that everyone is up to speed on the latest trends and techniques.

When it comes to running a speakeasy bar, there are a lot of things to keep in mind. But if you follow these tips, you’re sure to be on your way to creating a successful and enjoyable establishment. So get creative and have fun with it. After all, that’s what the Prohibition era was all about!


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