The Bar Catering Menu covers the beverages of the event. It is designed to be added to the food menu for most types of events.
The main challenge is striking the right balance between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and matching the event format and agenda with the items on the menu. For instance, you’d probably include champagne for official openings, wine for gala dinners, coffee for networking events and cocktails for corporate parties. Alcohol is typically a social lubricant that can open the guests up to having a rowdier time, but if you want to keep the event more low-key, you may want to offer a simpler bar–like beer and wine only–or omit alcohol altogether.
Bar Catering Menu Setup
There are several options for serving.
- Open bar or host bar (e.g. all drinks are paid for by the host)
- Limited bar (e.g. first drink is paid for by the host and the rest are purchased by the guests)
- Cash bar (guests pay for their drinks).
An open bar works best for events where the guest list is under your full control. Paid bar is better suited for public events, where the number of guests can vary, or when budget considerations are tight.
In most cases, a bar that offers alcohol will be set up an one or more locations throughout the room. Strategically placing bars throughout the room will facilitate crowd flow. In addition to this, you may request that some drinks are butlered by waiting staff, such as a glass of champagne–or perhaps a signature drink–upon the arrival of the guests. A non-alcoholic bar may be self-serve, like a coffee, punch or water station.
Using wait staff to service drinks to your guests is less advisable in a catered event situation, unless the event is quite small. Having a bar, or several, is a better choice, as it will get guests moving throughout the room during the cocktail hour, and allow the wait staff to focus on serving the food.
Offering alcohol at the events often requires special license on behalf of the company serving the guests and licenses or permits for the serving staff. Bars that serve alcohol must be manned by certified bartenders in accordance with provincial law.