thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

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thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby sambojones » Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:55 pm

title says it all

This will be my 4th year out and I wanted to do something to contribute a little bit more to the event and I've always had fun hanging at different bars on playa so I was thinking why not start one myself...
quick run down of my burn experience
-my first was 09 I helped with the temple build austin texas, also helped set up root society/worked security
-'10-'11 I camped over at camp inspiratum who are as far as i'm concerned the coolest fucking people and i just kept it really chill cuz i felt like I missed out my first year from working too much so i just enjoyed my burns
-2012 turns out i like working on shit so I'm hoping to maybe bring a little bar to the playa

I'm not really interested in running anything huge just a simple little plywood bar that I could slap together in an hour or 2 and a bit of shade (that i could also throw up quickly) with a small sound system (probably just a decent boombox) serving up cold beer and some mixed drinks and probably playing a shitload of 80's music and 1 hit wonders from various years. My group would only have like 3-6 people in it so we'd have a set window of being open for 2-3 hours a day in addition we'd open up sporadically whenever we felt like it. As far as infrastructure I was thinking I could build a plywood bar and some playatech furniture for pretty cheap and I don't think a shade structure will set me back too much (shade cloth and steel conduit which already planned to purchase for this year so this isn't factored into my budget). For power I have a honda eu2000i which will be more than enuf to run a boombox (i think i can get a decent one fairly cheap) and some LED string lights (which I already have a shitload of ge brand LED strings that i bough 75% off after christmas) if we stay open at night. for keeping the drinks cool we have 3 decent size coleman max cold coolers already so i figured use 2 for drinks and 1 to keep ice for drinks(i have other better coolers for personal use).

I can't bring anything too big or huge as it'll all have to fit on a 5x10 open trailer that I'll tow with my 04 ls430. the lower the weight of materials the better, but I also want it sturdy

I just want to get some input/suggestions on my setup and tips from anyone who has experience running a bar on playa... I'm still kinda on the fence if i wanna undertake this, but if i decide to I need to get my ass in gear for it now.

if we do go through with it we were gonna call it the Playa Wood Bar my girlfriend came up with it and it gave me a chuckle so i figured it's as good as any name

what's my best bet as far as placement? we clearly can't have hundreds of people each day, but we don't wanna be empty all the time either
none of us have really done any kind of bar tending before would this be a problem for us?
also what kind of budget should I allocate for drinks and ice? are there any unexpected expenses yall ran into from running a bar?
what problems did you have when running your bar both expected and unexpected?
do you card everyone that comes to your bar or just use your best judgement? (i don't wanna have to deal with getting fined for serving a minor so I'll probably be carding people)

anything else i didn't think of?

alright my possibly ill conceived outline has been laid out please don't shred it too badly and if ya go through the trouble of shredding it at least offer a bit of constructive feedback
I know how snarky it gets here so i'm expecting that as well as constructive feedback

thanks in advance of any advice posted

-Sambo

edited: some stuff i forgot to add/clarify
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby lemur » Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:41 pm

you dont need to have been a bartender.. youre serving whatever the hell you want


buy more mixers than you think youll need


card EVERYONE who doesnt look like they could be the parent of a 21 year old... (and anyone else youre weary about)


ice can add up....if youve never bought it before.. its usually like $3 for 7pound bag and $3 for 10 pound block.. (i think 6 packs of 7pound bags are $15 ..but dont quote me on that) at some point i wouldnt even be thinking people 'need' ice (especially when/if your mixers run out and yer running straight booze)


budget depends on how much you wanta serve, how long you wanta be open and how many people you expect to serve... im sure you know by now.. that by thursday or friday everyone seems to realize how much BOOZE they have.. it starts a-flowin..

unexpected things: trash.. people will bring their beer cans with em and leave em on your bar.. or their bottles.. etc (well if its getting lotsa traffic and you dont yell at em they will) ...expect lotsa trash.. Try to go for cheap-ass plastic bottles for yer booze because those can be somewhat condensed ...glass cant, takes up mucho space in garbage bags

oh yeah, and CARD EVERYONE, dont just use your best judgement, card anyone who doesnt look 40+ !! for reealz.

have fun!! i am not a bar tender.. but ive served drinks at my camps bar and, it is fun i tells ya!

(oh also make sure you read all the rules/regulations that may apply to serving booze in nevada at burning man.. they are somewhere)
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby Savannah » Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:54 pm

oh yeah, and CARD EVERYONE, dont just use your best judgement, card anyone who doesnt look 40+ !! for reealz.


Lemur gave some good advice there--expect trash, have excessive mixers, & the above there really can't be said enough . . . the fine for serving a minor (which is, very occasionally, an undercover cop) is not cheap. I have heard $1,000 quoted for this offense. I imagine it could be worse, too. ...No reasonable person objects to being carded; you are offering a gift and should not have to risk being punished for it.

You could serve two hours a night every night (as you're considering) so you don't run out. When closed, stow the sign away if you can, cut the lights and lock up yer booze so people don't help themselves. You don't need to be Fort Knox, but just make it clear there is nothing to be easily had. I did hear a funny story about some folks who left an alien dummy standing at the bar, "tending" it, and this alone would cause people to show up, hang out and drink without any bartender on duty! They found this amusing, but not everyone wants their bar to be lively when they're not there to run it. :lol:

No smart Burner expects a playa bar to have cups, so that's a personal decision. Many do have a few cups, but they always run out.

If a bar ultimately turns out to be too much or you start to run out of things, small mobile operations or neighborly parties are good. How awesome would it be to walk out to the Esplanade for the sunrise and be offered a brunch mimosa? :)
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby Sage Venkman » Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:42 pm

Mixers in aluminum cans are good because you can crush them and send them over to recycle camp, which means you don't have to pack them out and the mixers don't go flat like they do in the liter bottles. Also, it's a bit more hygenic and easier to handle them.

A theme or idea behind the bar is always a good thing, if you advertise as the "quiet, neighborhood chatty bar" you will get those kind of Burners inside. Suit the bar to match the kind of people you want to meet and they will appear. A signature drink for the bar that goes along with the theme is a good idea. That means you can pre-mix it and put it in a large drink cooler, and it will most likely be the drink you most often serve. Makes things quick and nice. Make something fruity and not too alcoholic for the signature drink, citrus stuff is good.

Interactive gimmicks attract people, like a roulette wheel or a pack of tarot cards that determine which of the special drinks they get, or a spanking, or a gift, or some other gimmick.

If people like you, they will gift ice, a sign that says in essence "if you like us, gift ice" is never a bad idea. A separate cooler for ice only that's kept clean with some kind of liner is a good idea.

A sign that says, "you must be 21 and legal to drink in the state of Nevada" is a good thing to have in front of and over the bar as well. Some of the LEO's like to see this and will hassle your bar less with these. When you think someone is underage, it's good to also ask after checking ID "are you legal to drink in the state of Nevada?" Some people are over 21 but because they've been in some legal trouble are not legal to drink.

There will always be people who think of every bar as a pit stop to fuel up on more booze, and just want you to pour straight vodka over and over and over into their cup. Basically, these people are alcoholics and will quickly deplete your booze supplies, because they often will just drink till they can't hold up a cup. Always have a "fool bottle." This is a regularly labelled vodka bottle that has a hidden mark on it the bartender will notice (like an F on the cap) and its full of water instead of booze. When you get a fool in, just pour and pour and pour as much water in their cup as they want. Believe it or not, these people are generally already so drunk, they will never notice that its not vodka.
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby Eric » Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:59 pm

Things to think about if you're running a small bar:
1) limit your drink selection. Specialize in something, anything, but it's a royal pain in the ass to run a full service bar out there (Fandango is a full service bar, we're constantly running low on stuff). By focusing on one or two drinks you can use your resources better.

2) Large sign: "21 and older, we do card". I won't serve anyone unless they have an ID, and I carry mine even though I've got grey in my beard & have been legal since Reagan was President.

3) The Three Questions every patron of your bar gets asked:
*Are you 21 or older?
*Are you legal to drink in the State of Nevada? (separate question from the above!)
*Do you have your ID?
If someone doesn't answer them or makes a joke out of them, don't serve them. Let any other bartenders not to serve them either. When you do it loudly & publicly it's amazing how fast everyone else in line has their shit together.
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby Trishntek » Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:39 pm

Something we ran into which forced me to be a real asshole was people of age getting drinks and delivering them to their minor girlfriend out on the street. Forcing anyone to "move along" is not fun, but you have to be prepared for such things.

As convenient as boxed bottles of booze are, they do create a shit load of trash. If you can, have a burn barrel to get rid of the boxes or transport your booze another way.

Insist everyone have their own cups. We always have a few sleeves of red plastic cups and Rudra, our bartender is big on the glow-in-the-dark cups. I'm not real keen on it, but as long as they take them with them it's okay. Reusable cups have to be washed and sanitized and that consumes water. Same with blenders and ice containers. Everything has to be kept clean.

Do not plan on serving fresh fruit of any kind since that will put you in the food service business and expose you to the necessity of a food service permit and possible inspections by the State Health Dept. Packaged foods like bags of peanuts are fine. But anything you prepare yourself is considered 'food service".

We have a full-service bar and went through $40 of ice per day. But we had margaritas and other slushy drinks. Shaved ice is fun with various liqueurs for flavoring. It's kinda fun to have ordinary booze for everyone in general and your "top shelf" stuff for special guests and friends.

Our bar is just a 4X8 sheet of 1/2" plywood with 2X4 around the sides and 4' 2X4 legs. You want it high enough that you aren't bending over all the time. The 4' width provides plenty of space for your standard supplies, a few simple games(truth or dare cards, dice, etc.) and provides arms length from anyone trying to steal your shit,,,, yes it does happen.
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby Sage Venkman » Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:42 pm

Trishntek wrote:Our bar is just a 4X8 sheet of 1/2" plywood with 2X4 around the sides and 4' 2X4 legs. You want it high enough that you aren't bending over all the time. The 4' width provides plenty of space for your standard supplies, a few simple games(truth or dare cards, dice, etc.) and provides arms length from anyone trying to steal your shit,,,, yes it does happen.


On that same note, we usually have a "supplies tent" nearby where all the booze, mixers, and such goes when the bar is not in operation. Usually its just an unmarked two man tent somewhere maybe fifty paces from the bar, and you can put a little padlock on it if the bar is dark. You and friends will eventually want to get away from the bar and explore together, and some people see a dark bar as a target of opportunity to see what they can get from behind the bar. Also, coolers on wheels will sometimes spontaneously roll away if you don't stow them somewhere.

Most people will steer clear of routing through tents in a camp because they don't know who is around who might recognize its not theirs. This makes it a good place to stow your consumables.
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby ZaphodBurner » Mon Feb 13, 2012 9:24 pm

sambojones wrote:
alright my possibly ill conceived outline has been laid out please don't shred it too badly and if ya go through the trouble of shredding it at least offer a bit of constructive feedback


The playatech furniture or your own adaptation rocks for a bar. It doesn't take much. Here are my thoughts from our experience:

-Watch out for college-age kids who are working undercover. Make a sign that says you must be 21+ and that you may check ID.
You probably won't have to, if you make the sign. We carded somebody in 2010 and she was underage but showed her ID. Not sure if that was an attempt at a sting, but, we offered her root beer instead of booze.

-Bring a trash bag, or require people to bring their own cups. People are going to litter.

-Bring a flower-pot, a basket or some other thing, as if were a tip jar. The gifts people will give you are wonderful.

-You don't need to have bartender experience. You're the boss.

-Be careful if you accept volunteer bartenders because if they serve to a minor or one of their underage buddies and it's your bar, you'll probably be fined right along with them.

-It's worth it! Good luck, man!
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby Lassen Forge » Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:19 am

Separate scoop for ice for drinks, kept separate... and a separate cooler for beverage ice VS beer cooler ice. And fer gawdsake, NO food in either ice container.

i try really hard to enforce the BYOC rule... I *do* have some shotglasses (with my bar it's kindasorta mandatory) but like was said earlier you MUST have a triple-sink wash station (wash, rinse, sanitizer).

You WILL get "inspected" by county health... not a big deal, they're there to make sure no one gets sick, and also as a resource for info for you. i look forward to it as they tell you how to correct deficiencies... Keep things clean as possible.

Bring more booze than you think you'll need. I average a 6pack of ice a shift... some big ops run even more. Be ready for this...

Have an igloo cooler with water. People dehydrate, you need to have this. I also do one with Emergen-c in it because nothing sucks worse than having someone pass out from heat exhaustion in your place! Plus, its good manners!

This is molto importante - MOLTO MOLTO Importante - know the 3 questions and ask the religiously. To Everyone! Do NOT serve wafflers. NEVER!!!!!! I can guarantee you at least one visit from LEO's on a "sting" visit... we had 3 last year I know of. It is a crime for someone to represent themselves as over 21 or Legal to drink in the state of Nevada... By asking at least the first 2 (are you at or over age of 21? Is it legal for you to consume alcohol in the state of Nevada Right Now?) you have covered yourself. (remember, someone CAN be over 21 and not legal to drink in NV so just carding may not be enough). DO NOT SERVE VISIBLY INTOXICATED PERSONS!!! This is also a "sting" item... They CAN 86 you for this... so be warned!

Signage - "No Minors Allowed in Bar". Read the alcohol laws for Nevada.

Something that came up in 2010.... I could not easily get from the backbar to the front of the bar, and I had a sticky fingered sparkle pony try to lift things... the 2 biggies here is to be able to get out there to 86 someone if needed, and the wherewithal to bounce someone. Its great to have a "backup" working with you to help with this...

Have a way to close off your bar when you're closed, otherwise people will wander in and cause you grief.

Above all - HAVE FUN! I wouldn't trade doing the Kantina for anything!!!

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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby HandJamMasterC » Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:42 am

I've had a blast doing our wine and champagne bar for the last 2 years. Really looking forward to this year too. I made a bolt together bar that's easy to transport, as seen in these photos -

Image

Image

The best part is you'll meet all sorts of interesting folks !!

Image

Can't add much that hasn't been said before in this thread - have fun !!
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby Trishntek » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:04 am

21sign.jpg
Here's your sign
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby tamarakay » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:08 am

I almost feel like I should snark so you aren't disappointed :D

I would suggest some large indication when you are open to the public. As a newbie last year it was hard to determine when you could enter something and when it was a private thing.
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby TomServo » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:46 am

as Eric previously mentioned. Keep your drink selection to a minimum and focus on a particular beverage. I've learned this the hard way, and have been reduced to just making Bloody Marys. Life is sooo much easier now!
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby sambojones » Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:19 pm

@Lemur
-Yeah I think i definitely will have to card just about everyone coming in for a drink cuz i totally don't wanna pay fine for it.
-I didn't think about people leaving their trash so I'll definitely bring a bunch of extra garbage bags and a way to dispose of it.
-it sounds like a blast having a little bar i'm definitely leaning towards making it happen

@Savannah
-thx for the advice about how to close up I didn't really have a clear plan about how to accomplish this when we were done doing our thing and wanted to leave I'll have to put some thought into it.
-i was kinda split on the cups thing I was thinking to maybe just have a few around in case a friend showed up without one, but in general I just expected 99% of ppl to provide their own
-I'm not sure yet if this is gonna be too overwhelming for us yet or not i was only planning to serve maybe 100-150 drinks a day max, I'm not sure how that stands in comparison to other playa bars it seems like there are many that serve that up in an hour or less
-breakfast mimosas sound awesome i'll have to look into that maybe as an unadvertised thing a couple of mornings cuz i don't think we could handle too many ppl on that

@Sage Venkman
-aluminum can mixers sounds like a pretty good idea hell anything i bring that I can crush seems like the best idea especially since i might end up with extra trash left from visitors
-a giant cooler full of already mixed special drink sounds good easy we would definitely have to incorporate that
-I hadn't put much thought into a theme yet, but i guess i should i was thinking just kind of a chilled out little place to have a drink relax/talk/listen to some really catchy 80's music
-i like that roulette wheel idea i might try and rig something up
-the signs are a great tip i think one for ice and one for being 21 and legal to drink would go a long way to making things easier
-thanks for the tips I didn't know that you could be over 21 and not legal to drink in NV
-good tip on the fools bottle I had contemplated what to do with those alcoholic type ppl and was really unsure of a good way to deal with em but this is a creative easy way to handle them
-thx for the storage tent idea i was thinking to just shove as much booze as possible into the cars when we weren't there, but that'll be easier to have a kind of supply shed

@Eric
-limiting drink selection for us would be key as we'd probably just have 2-3 ppl working at a time and also a limited budget
-thanks for the 3 key questions we really really really don't wanna get fined

@Trishntek
-Hopefully I won't have to tell ppl to get moving for giving drinks to minors, but since my ass is on the line for it I don't have a problem telling them to get the fuck out... especially since they'd be turning our gift into a liability
-I hadn't put much thought into booze transport I was thinking to not use the boxes and to just fill up the back seat of my car with em or put em in big plastic bins on my trailer
-i dont' think we'll serve any fruit that shit is sticky and will just make a mess
-would putting out a big bowl of chips require us to have a food permit? if not how about adding a bowl of salsa?
-i didn't think too much about ppl stealing shit off your bar so i might take a que from yall and build the bar to have a wide space to separate visitors from the supplies
-Sweet sign I'll have to put my own spin on it!

@ZaphodBurner
-i'm not looking forward to having ppl leave their trash I don't really like having to deal with mine, but I do it cuz I brought it having to deal with other peoples garbage is gonna suck
-a gift jar sounds cool, i just don't want ppl to feel obligated to put shit in it so I'm gonna have to mull that one over
-volunteer bartenders just sounds like a bad idea to me so i won't have any of that nonsense at our place
-the more i read the more i'm thinking it is worth it!

@Bay Bridge Sue
-good looking out on the coolers we were planning to have one for ice used for drinks exclusively with a scoop for it and the other 2 coolers for beer/booze... and we have other coolers for our food
-we definitely won't have the resources for a wash station and i don't want the trash from disposable cups so i'm thinking 99% of ppl that come are gonna need to have their own cup i'd probably only give someone a disposable only if i really really liked that person... if they had any kind of douche bag vibe at all i'd tell em to come back with a cup
-i'm kind of a clean freak when it comes to food and drink so i don't think i'll have too much problem with the health inspection and really wouldn't mind any tips as far as that goes
-I didn't think about having water/emergen-c for ppl i'll have to incorporate a jug of at least one of those into the plan cuz ur right it is good manners and it wouldn't be nice to have someone pass out there
-I'm thinking I'm gonna have to have some laminated sheets with the three questions on the bar so that whenever we serve we always remember because we really don't have money for fines in our budget the bar itself would already be taking up a lot of financial resources.
-as far as not serving visibly intoxicated persons do you have any tips or strategies for dealing with them? sometimes those ppl can cause trouble when they're so far gone...
-we're gonna have to come up with some nice signs for "no minors allowed"
-I dont' want ppl wandering around the bar messing with stuff when we're not there so i'll have to figure out a way to close it up.
-I'm seeing a trend that this is some fun shit to get into! i'm gonna have to start doing a cost workup and inventory what we have vs what we need

@HandJamMasterC
-thanks for posting up pics of ur place gives me some good ideas about how to set things up... what you have there is probably about the maximum size of what i would want... pretty much i'd want to be able to have seating/host around 10 ppl give or take a few in the bar at a time
- I have a bunch of those folding type chairs they might be easier/lighter to transport than plywood for playatech furniture maybe i'll bring a bunch of those and a few pieces of playatech
-I have a carport frame like what y'all have that i was gonna use as the main area and maybe build off the sides of it with emt conduit... i'm thinking we might be able to pull this off

@Tamarkay
-there is surprisingly little snark here and while i don't mind it i'm actually thankful for all the super useful and pragmatic advice given :D
- an open and close sign seems intuitive, but your right there are a lot of camps that don't have anything like that... don't feel bad i don't think it has anything to do with being a noobie as i've walked into camps before that i thought were open when they weren't since they didn't have any signage so I'd definitely want to make that clear with nice big open/closed signs

@TomServo
-yeah i'm definitely thinking specializing is the way to go especially since just setting up seems like a daunting task.



@everyone
thanks so much for the input! I'm gonna talk it over with my friends and see if we can pull it off even if only starting on a very small scale... I appreciate all the great advice! y'all have given me a lot to think over as far as planning and dealing with problems. I'm gonna do my damndest to make it happen!

one more question we were thinking to also serve some beer along with mixed drinks do y'all have a good suggestions for a beer can crushing device(we'd crack the can fill the visitors cup and crush it and dispose of it ourselves so that ppl dont just toss em in the street)? is serving canned beer a good idea or should we just stick to cheap liquor/mixers?
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby Savannah » Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:34 pm

sambojones wrote:is serving canned beer a good idea or should be just stick to cheap liquor/mixers?


There is nothing wrong with also serving beer, but it seems like you should only do it if you enjoy the idea, not because you're worried about the reaction of people who don't adore the evening's special. There are other bars out there they can patronize. A lot of Burners will have beer that they serve/gift informally, so specializing in a particular drink seems easier and more distinctive for you as a bar, and maybe simpler, too.

If you did only cosmopolitans, or only mai tais (or martinis, or mint juleps, or vodka gimlets, etc, etc) but mixed a really good one--how cool is that? Or if you had just one kind of alcohol (like only vodka . . . or only rum) and 2-3 ways to prepare it, it seems like it would simplify things, and you could really concentrate.

There are bars out there that are famous for their Bloody Marys, for example. They don't necessarily feel the need to do it all.
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby sambojones » Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:52 pm

Savannah wrote:
There is nothing wrong with also serving beer, but it seems like you should only do it if you enjoy the idea, not because you're worried about the reaction of people who don't adore the evening's special. There are other bars out there they can patronize. A lot of Burners will have beer that they serve/gift informally, so specializing in a particular drink seems easier and more distinctive for you as a bar, and maybe simpler, too.

If you did only cosmopolitans, or only mai tais (or martinis, or mint juleps, or vodka gimlets, etc, etc) but mixed a really good one--how cool is that? Or if you had just one kind of alcohol (like only vodka . . . or only rum) and 2-3 ways to prepare it, it seems like it would simplify things, and you could really concentrate.

There are bars out there that are famous for their Bloody Marys, for example. They don't necessarily feel the need to do it all.


yeah serving beer isn't something that i'm totally in love with was just thinking of trying to offer an alternative to a liquor drink... i'm kind of really on the fence about it so i'll prolly just nix that idea and do like you suggest serving 1 kind of liquor 1-3 ways would be the easiest and for us that would make it the best strategy
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby Dr. Pyro » Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:11 pm

I'm going to pretty much agree with what everyone else has said. We at BDC&WB supply our own cups because we limit the wine to 3 ounce pours. People can have seconds, or even thirds, but if they hold out a large cup invariably it gets filled. But that's the difference between a wine bar and a coctail lounge; in your case, having the people supply cups makes some real sense. Also I agree with Savannah about beer. You can get beer at our "exclusive" wine bistro if you ask nicely. We also supply Otter Pops for the kids, but you almost have to have an RV to keep those things frozen. Unless, of course, you're like us and have liquid nitrogen laying around. And absolutely don't be afraid to I.D. We had a gal come by last year and when I asked her how old she was, she replied "I'll be 21 tomorrow!" If this isn't just asking to get busted then I can't imagine what does (short of like shooting off large skyrockets during one of the mid-week burns over and over again, uh, or so I've been told). She never showed up the next day. Absolutely a set-up. So keep vigilant and be a gentleman: pour the ladies' drinks first.
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby Lord Of Ruin » Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:14 pm

I echo all the stuff said here, but one tip that's often overlooked.

You don't need a huge variety of stuff to serve. Keep that for yourself. Pick a signature drink or three, prep those and offer them. Variety and "you call it drinks" are for larger bars. For instance, if you think you're going to be open for a block during the day, something cold and citrus-y is awesome.

Figure out methods to mix your signature drinks in Igloos. Buy 3 or 4 of them so you can rotate one out for washing, etc. It's SOOO much easier to just ice the igloo and keep it out of the sun some way than to give ice in each person's glass. Serve drink sizes much smaller than you would in the real world....about double the size of a large shot is perfect. You can always give them more of your ice cold goodness. If you like you can use insulated pitchers that you fill from the igloos,etc to make tending easier.

Have a trash plan.

Assess your progress (trash, cost, mixers) nightly and if you have to close or change hours, list it asap on your signage. Don't be embarrassed to invite people to gift you things you need if you're running low because you've been popular. You can make it fun (first person to bring us 3 bags of ice gets a commemmorative drink named after them).

Weight it for later int he week. Fewer hours at the beginning of the week...check your progress...then add hours as you have a feel for how much you're blowing through. Make friends with any bars in the area and let them know what you're doing. Sometimes it can be coordinated so that you're not both serving at once, but are complimentary (oh no...we're not open. But you know what? Joe down about 5 camps has this little 80's speakeasy thing and is serving this citrus coolers during the day. Tell him Monkey Mike sent you....)

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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby remi » Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:15 pm

Dr. Pyro wrote:So keep vigilant and be a gentleman: pour the ladies' drinks first.


Spoken like a true gentleman and a scholar.
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby Eric » Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:29 pm

remi wrote:
Dr. Pyro wrote:So keep vigilant and be a gentleman: pour the ladies' drinks first.


Spoken like a true gentleman and a scholar.


Spoken like a professional with an RV right behind the bar...
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby Lassen Forge » Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:29 pm

Eric wrote:
remi wrote:
Dr. Pyro wrote:So keep vigilant and be a gentleman: pour the ladies' drinks first.


Spoken like a true gentleman and a scholar.


Spoken like a professional with an RV right behind the bar...



Not just ANY RV... Infamous RV of Doomed.

BEWARE the RV...

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

+100 on very limited menu - I will give you our example - Being Neo-Sovietski Outpost in Afghanastan (we are still to wait for relief crews from Glorious Motherland) we serve Vodka Shots. We also serve PBR. Is what we are known for. RARELY we will do what I am to call "Guest Bottle" - Good Rum from socialist country, Absinthe from Workers and Burners Kollektive in Alameda, Trotsky's favorite Tequila... but those are rare, we only guarantee our Russian Standards, and Amerikanisch Trade Swill with Blue Ribbon.

Our Kampers will have their private stox (not to be confused with Public Stocks, those are between Electric Chair and Dental Lab) there as well, but in a separate area, with name on Bottle. We have one cooler dedicated for BPR Cans (ALWAYS CANS) and pre-chilling Vodka. Second cooler (cleaned out and sanitized every other or 3rd day on playa) for ice, scoop hanging on outside. OTHER THAN our Holy Vodka Supplies and Backbar display stuph, ALL CONTAINERS are cans or plastik. And ALL trash not recycled is sent back to Moskva with loyal comrades.

You asked about roaring drunks - I will walk them out and point them toward man. I have sent them to a Ghost Bar they should to check out halfway to man, is secret known only to burners or somesuch... I have also steered them to street to get me can of light bulb grease from sister kamp at 7:00 and F... Sent them on Quest to bring back sixpack of Playa Pale Ale... I have even told one Overimbiber this evil woman was to look for him, he should to escape now, I will cover for him... In otherwords, ANYTHING to get them out of my establishment. KNOW where your local Ranger outpost is, get to know them, when they stick their head in make sure they get something (even if is Pepsi or emergen-C refill) because you WANT them to know you. Same if BLM Rangers or LEOs walk in - they are NYET enemy but valued guests. (And da, I do have sleeve of red cups - and a marker pen - for unprepared noobs and, da, Local Militia. I ask their name and camp, and write it on cup before they get it. )

(BTW - worth to mention - do NYET to have illicit substances in bar. Is easy and certain bust.)

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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby EB » Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:33 pm

Lord Of Ruin wrote:I echo all the stuff said here, but one tip that's often overlooked.

You don't need a huge variety of stuff to serve. Keep that for yourself. Pick a signature drink or three, prep those and offer them. Variety and "you call it drinks" are for larger bars. For instance, if you think you're going to be open for a block during the day, something cold and citrus-y is awesome.

Figure out methods to mix your signature drinks in Igloos. Buy 3 or 4 of them so you can rotate one out for washing, etc. It's SOOO much easier to just ice the igloo and keep it out of the sun some way than to give ice in each person's glass. Serve drink sizes much smaller than you would in the real world....about double the size of a large shot is perfect. You can always give them more of your ice cold goodness. If you like you can use insulated pitchers that you fill from the igloos,etc to make tending easier.

Have a trash plan.

Assess your progress (trash, cost, mixers) nightly and if you have to close or change hours, list it asap on your signage. Don't be embarrassed to invite people to gift you things you need if you're running low because you've been popular. You can make it fun (first person to bring us 3 bags of ice gets a commemmorative drink named after them).

Weight it for later int he week. Fewer hours at the beginning of the week...check your progress...then add hours as you have a feel for how much you're blowing through. Make friends with any bars in the area and let them know what you're doing. Sometimes it can be coordinated so that you're not both serving at once, but are complimentary (oh no...we're not open. But you know what? Joe down about 5 camps has this little 80's speakeasy thing and is serving this citrus coolers during the day. Tell him Monkey Mike sent you....)

LoR


Great post. +1000 to all these tips and tricks.
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby Trishntek » Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:15 pm

One other thing we have found works well for seating is 2X10's 8' long on 5 gallon buckets. They make great benches and are easily transported and arranged as needed. We have fresh water(for washing only) in the buckets which eventually become grey water containers as the week progresses. Anything people can sit on in the shade is much appreciated during the day.
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby Sage Venkman » Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:05 pm

HandJamMasterC wrote:I've had a blast doing our wine and champagne bar for the last 2 years. Really looking forward to this year too. I made a bolt together bar that's easy to transport


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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby HandJamMasterC » Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:37 am

Thanks - I LOVE bacon !! Come on over for one of our events this year - we strive to have the best wine and champagne in Black Rock City !!

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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby sambojones » Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:03 pm

@Dr.Pyro
no rv or liquid nitrogen for us, but possibly a small supply of otter pops via dry ice tho
Dr. Pyro wrote: So keep vigilant and be a gentleman: pour the ladies' drinks first.
+10000 will do

@Lord of Ruin
-We're gonna take the advice posted and keep it simple 1-3 different kinds of drinks mixed in large batches... guess i gotta start experimenting with drink recipies! :wink:
-we were planning on just being open for like a 2-3 hour block during the day sometime in the afternoon so citrus drinks sound like a great idea
-icing the igloo sounds like a way better plan than icing each drink that'll totally make it easier to keep shit clean
-thx for the tip on weighting the hours I hadn't really given that much thought that'll probably work best for us so we can get a feel for how to run our shit and to help keep track of our supplies
-coordinating our hours with other bars is genius damn the more i read here the dumber i feel for not thinking about a lot of this stuff

@Bay Bridge Sue
-I wasn't sure how often to clean out the cooler, but every other day like y'all sounds pretty good
-we'll definitely make friends with the local Rangers and LEOs/BLM Rangers
-thx for the sweet tip on writing names + camp names on cups i hoping to give out as few as possible
-no illicit substances near bar check!

Trishntek wrote:One other thing we have found works well for seating is 2X10's 8' long on 5 gallon buckets. They make great benches and are easily transported and arranged as needed. We have fresh water(for washing only) in the buckets which eventually become grey water containers as the week progresses. Anything people can sit on in the shade is much appreciated during the day.


thanks for the seating tip! sounds like a cheap and easy way to create a lot of seating

Thanks for all the tips everyone my girlfriend thinks i'm a totally obsessed nut (she might very well be right as i have yet to prove her wrong on pretty much anything :( ) anyway i'm gonna get my planning underway! :mrgreen:
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby Easy » Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:44 pm

Friend of Inspiratum, are you interested in heading your bar at a larger camp? Some foothill Burners and BurnTown defectors are building a theme camp and plan on having a small bar like you've described.

p.s. Going to FurrBall?
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby sambojones » Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:31 am

Easy wrote:Friend of Inspiratum, are you interested in heading your bar at a larger camp? Some foothill Burners and BurnTown defectors are building a theme camp and plan on having a small bar like you've described.

p.s. Going to FurrBall?


Hey man that might be pretty cool gonna pm you about it...

i probably won't make furrball as my buddy and I are based outa texas :(
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby tisha2 » Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:37 pm

awesome tips. the only question i can see not addressed is budget. our not-small-at-all bar camp budgets $2g+ for booze & mixers. that accounts for being open almost all the time with 1-3 'tenders, and does NOT account for ice or cups, which are donated by campmates and benefactors. and we do start accepting donations thursday or so as folks realize they brought too much. definitely bring 2x mixers to booze. you could probably do with half that at most.

all that being said. this year will be different. more virgins. we have no idea what to expect. more drinking? more bringing they're own? all in all ~ go for it. it's a blast, and you make the rules. serve what you want, when you want, how you want, to who you want. and enjoy the hell out of it.
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby Trishntek » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:05 am

We put an easy $1k just in our top shelf stuff. Another $2-3k for everything else IF you run a full service bar. Of course that included booze for the cocksucking games too. It is easier to specialize and buy just a few things in bulk. It all depends on your vision and goals.
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