Refresh your guests, boost networking and create a seamless transition with some of these stylish and useful event bar ideas for your next event.
Whether or not you are serving food, event bars should be seen as a separate entity because they have their own function for events. Aside from creating an area that facilitates networking, they can also allow you to steer the guests and provide a waiting area while you transition your venue from one purpose to another, which is particularly useful for making full use of the venue space. Bars allow you to extend your event and keep your guests comfortable, and these adaptive ideas will suit a variety of purposes and spaces.
Incorporate branding and signage into the bar front will help yours to stand out against other brands at events such as a trade show, festival or fayre. You can use backlighting, like in this example, which really makes it pop. This would also be an excellent sponsorship opportunity that you could include as part of a recurring package to tie in with the theme. For drink sponsors in particular, they could serve their signature brand drink alongside the signage aspect for maximum impact.
Credit: Drake Events
These cute hideaway mini-bars could be dotted around your event and provide easy access to chilled drinks and bottles for your guests. Creating quirky bar ideas such as this will also draw attention from attendees when they are on stands around your event creating more photo opportunities and the likelihood that you get shared on social media. This barrel bar idea is a useful repurpose that still has class and elegance regardless of your event type.
James Bond’s signature drink is the martini, and while he likes it ‘shaken, not stirred’, there are a multitude of ways to serve and mix one. Have a mixologist or bartender that specialises in cocktails and signature drinks to make even small event bars stand out. This martini bar is a great idea that uses the venue’s natural features to its advantage and the stairs create a fun multi-level to show off the available spirit options.
Credit: Dita Rosted Events
Mobile bars are always useful for large outdoor events or those that are changing throughout the day because they can be easily moved and adjusted according to event needs. This “Smart bar” idea utilises the mobility of a car with the compactness of a smaller Smart Car vehicle which is also branded and signed for extra marketing too. It holds a suitable amount of drinks for the event thanks to the boot size and can be used in conjunction with a bartender or staff to help attendees with that they are looking for.
Credit: Smart Bar Company
Utilize stationary props such as this old-style bathtub at your events to turn some heads and also create unique self-serve options such as this. They can be positioned at the venue to suit your guests and also filled with ice or cold water to keep the drinks cool and refreshing. This is also a useful idea for potluck or ‘bring your own’ drink events where attendees contribute to the tub and then can pick and choose from it later so that there is a variety of drinks for everyone.
Credit: The Cocktail Car
Farm Bar Conversion
On a larger scale to the Smart Bar, this bar is a converted horse trailer that provides a stunning rustic option that houses bar staff and creates a full bar experience while taking up minimal room. Perfect for outdoor events, this bar is mobile and adaptable to the venue (although stationary for the duration of your event) which can give you flexibility and easier set-up than a traditional bar. Plus it would suit all types of ground, whether muddy or slightly uneven for festivals or outdoor events.
Credit: Little Bar Co
Turn event staff into the bar themselves and add a quirky twist on the waiter or waitress idea with these fun drink skirts. They can be more interactive and offer unique photo opportunities for attendees while also being able to hold more drinks than a traditional tray layout with minimal spillage when used by seasoned professionals. Walking bars and food stations can mingle with attendees and be a first line of customer service at the same time which positively promotes your brand or event.
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Opt to create towers or displays with your drinks such as this traditional French tower idea as an interesting bar alternative that will wow attendees and allow them to pick for themselves. If you are concerned about it falling over, children at the event or it being knocked you could opt to create this same illusion with Perspex platforms that the glasses sit on, rather than each other so that the aesthetic is there, without the risk!
Incorporate the bar into the décor and theme by making it more low-key and designer using this ladder effect idea. Easy to use and with a neat layout, this bar could be a self-serve idea or work in conjunction to bar staff as a way of organising drinks if you are low on actual bar space at the venue. This would also suit smaller, informal events such as a dinner party to provide plenty of drink options with minimal fuss and hassle.
Make your own bar and be truly unique by opting for something modular such as these blocks which are completely adaptable and can be built at your venue to the perfect space or size. These in particular would be a useful idea if you have an awkward corner or space where a traditional event bar won’t fit without worrying about cutting off space unnecessarily. You could also make them as large or small as you like and for multi-day events, change the bar shape each day to keep it interesting and intrigue guests.
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Credit: EverBlock Systems
Some venues can’t or won’t facilitate alcohol, or the event itself isn’t suitable, but this doesn’t mean you have to give up on the idea of a bar altogether. Instead, opt for something like this coffee bar for morning events or an after food idea as many may prefer a tea, coffee or hot chocolate, particularly during the winter so use this to your advantage.
Why choose just one bar at your event when you can have several options? For example, have a larger manned bar and then a ‘bubble barrel’ with wine or champagne available to guests that they can refill from dotted around the venue for several drinks options. This works particularly well if you have a lot of guests and are looking to avoid queues and negative experiences.
Credit: Escapade Bars
For a low-budget solution to event bars, you can opt for this simple table idea that allows you to pre-measure or make up drinks to suit your needs without having a bartender or actual bar itself. If you didn’t want individual glasses, you could also opt to use punch bowls or decanters on the table instead and provide the cups and glasses beside it. This is particularly useful for soft drinks or measured out glasses in preparation for a toast as they can be easily distributed but sometimes providing alcohol in this way can be more costly as attendees will consume it as it is available and on display rather than having a limit.
LED/ Light Up
Incorporate the lighting into your bar and create interesting effects with multiple colors that could change periodically with the event themes and tones. Light-up bars are also particularly useful for evening events and helps to use minimal lighting for the vibe but allowing bartenders and attendees to successfully order and see their drinks. As we mentioned previously it can also be used to backlight signage and create a silhouette effect too that could cast shadows onto the venue floor.
Credit: Magic Moments Events
Go themed with your bar to match your event and have staff, signage and drinks follow an idea such as this old style ‘saloon’. These can be particularly fun for your attendees and the drinks themselves could have quirky names or be time period accurate to create an immersive experience for them as well.
Credit: Escapade Bars
For the creative types, this DIY alternative is a great idea that creates a mini station to dispense liquor to your guests and you could use the lower shelf to house mixers so that they can create their own cocktails or drinks for a participatory activity.
Health and wellness are growing event trends so providing health conscious catering and drinks will go down a hit, just like this smoothie bar. Using big bold images on the front also attracts attention and shows attendees what they can buy which makes this a good idea if you are in competition and looking to gain more foot traffic to your event bar.
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Credit: Brijwasi Events
It’s not all about the food at events anymore and drinks can be just as useful networking and facilitating tools that can help keep you within budget. As you can see from these examples, there are plenty of adaptive ways to incorporate a bar into your event space or even keep it mobile. Just remember it is not always about the alcohol, soft drinks or non-alcoholic beverages can be just as much of a hit too!