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

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

Postby Ninjaparamedic » Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:15 am

Wow! I should have read up before I put my little Lemon Drop Stand up.
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I'm probably lucky I didn't get shut down or fined.

Our scrappy little stand was right on the edge of our camp so we got tons of walk ups, 150-200 drinks a day. We posted our hours in the What/Where/When and planned on being open for 2 hours every day up till the burn. We only served 2 different drinks, and we had a BLAST! It sounds like were similar in size so here's what we learned.

- Don't post your hours in the What/Where/When: If your a big bar like Duck Pond or Apokiliptika a location is all you need. For us little guys, we're not a destination, so just be clear about weather you are "OPEN" or "CLOSED" and you'll pick up everyone who passes by. Also, being ready at a specified time can be hard when you're hung-over.
- We were only open for 2 hours or until we ran out of ice (3 bags a day for us): No need to kick anybody out. When we closed down we just invited anyone who wanted to stay into our camp. No food service as a gift, no pouring shots for passers-by; just having a good time in our camp with friends.
- I couldn't agree more about the trash plan, mixer ratio, and making friends with the Rangers/Medics/BLM
- We spent $400 on drinks and cups then built the bar out of scrap wood
- Take pictures: you'll be talking about your bar all year long, pictures with friends behind the bar YOU built are "priceless"

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

Postby Elliot » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:53 am

:D
I do believe I will take this opportunity to offer a major huge THANK YOU!!! to all those who spend time and quite-a-lot-of-money keeping the rest of us topped off with liquid refreshments!!!!!!!!!

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

Postby HandJamMasterC » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:54 pm

Thank you Elliot. I love doing it as I'm sure everyone else that runs a bar does too.

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.


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.


I have a budget of around $ 2700.00 for wine and champagne for the One Eye'd Jack's wine bar side of our camp. Peritwinkles - the cocktail division, has a seperate budget - maybe another 1K ?

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

Postby CapSmashy » Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:34 pm

For an igloo cooler drink concoction, we made 5 gallons of Mutant Punch for the Raider take over of the Booby Bar.

Mix up 2.5 gallons of Tang, 3.5 liters of vodka (two handle bottles) and a bottle of blue curacao to give it a murky green color. Top igloo off with ice, about a bag and and a half. Simple, refreshing and gets the job done. I have no idea how many we served out of the jug but it lasted for a few hours.
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby robbidobbs » Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:57 pm

Gonzo suggests: the Purple Jesus
1 part ginger ale
1 part grape juice
1 part vodka
1 part random alcohol you have avail.

Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl.
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby Stickygreen » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:07 pm

CapSmashy wrote:For an igloo cooler drink concoction, we made 5 gallons of Mutant Punch for the Raider take over of the Booby Bar.

Mix up 2.5 gallons of Tang, 3.5 liters of vodka (two handle bottles) and a bottle of blue curacao to give it a murky green color. Top igloo off with ice, about a bag and and a half. Simple, refreshing and gets the job done. I have no idea how many we served out of the jug but it lasted for a few hours.



To improve on this, make sure your Igloo is large enough to hold a block of ice, it will last alot longer than a bag of crushed ice, and cuts down of your prep work more than you can imagine.

oh, and Captain, your concoction sounds great!
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby StevenGoodman » Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:09 pm

I think for the Booby Bar part of camps dues was 5 handles of booze (or mixers), plus beer; with 30+ camp members. For a 12 hour or so per day bar. This is for a full service, we have almost everything bar. And private stash, good stuff, was kept in a separate area.

Yep, a bunch of us have done a few bars! A few things:

1) Little neighborhood bars are great. Just run it for a couple of hours in the afternoon, or heck, the morning! Then just close it up. But make sure it is obvious you aren't open. Last year I had a nice afternoon walk with a friend from Fandango to Gigsville. Was supposed to be a quick walk, took hours and about 9 little bars...

2) Ask everyone the questions. As stated, it is illegal in Nevada to claim you are 21+ (if you aren't) to get a drink. But if you want to ask for ID that is your prerogative. Personally, I don't carry an ID at BM, but I am 50+. I am more worried about loosing my ID than missing out on a drink!

3) Again, as stated, ice in its own cooler, with a scoop. And the scoop should be kept OUTSIDE the cooler (I don't understand why, but that is the rule!)

4) People will leave stuff, and trash. You will get gifted stuff you don't want, etc. Just expect the bar to get cluttered with stuff you didn't bring or plan on.

5) Pour what you want. It can be a cooler of "drink of the day", or wine, or champagne, or shots, whatever. You are gifting drinks, don't worry about it. It is nice to have some good stuff stashed away. For that person who just brought you 6 bags of ice, mixers when you ran out, or the nice bottle of Makers Mark.

6) Don't let people make you think you have to provide them in some way, which gets on to...

7) Have fun. If you aren't having fun, close up and go have some fun. Go to your neighbors bar! (Or drink a bunch of water, take your vitamins, and go to bed. If you aren't having fun you may be very dehydrated.)

8) Which reminds me. Have water stashed somewhere. You will get people who come in, to get out of the sun, relax, etc. Often, they are really happy to have a cup of water instead of a drink. You do not need to have the water out front for everyone, just available. Water is cheaper than booze or mixers.

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

Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:00 pm

StevenGoodman wrote:3) Again, as stated, ice in its own cooler, with a scoop. And the scoop should be kept OUTSIDE the cooler (I don't understand why, but that is the rule!)

I think it's to keep hands from searching for the scoop once it's under the ice/water.

It's a little friendlier to have the bar up front. For me it can be kinda a leap to walk the extra 10 - 50 feet to get to the shade structure where people are lounging and drinking. Unless you make it very clear that I'm welcome I'm not likely to come into the camp...
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby Savannah » Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:02 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:
StevenGoodman wrote:3) Again, as stated, ice in its own cooler, with a scoop. And the scoop should be kept OUTSIDE the cooler (I don't understand why, but that is the rule!)

I think it's to keep hands from searching for the scoop once it's under the ice/water.

It's a little friendlier to have the bar up front. For me it can be kinda a leap to walk the extra 10 - 50 feet to get to the shade structure where people are lounging and drinking. Unless you make it very clear that I'm welcome I'm not likely to come into the camp...


I'm the same way--hesitant to approach small bars without a visual or vocal invitation. If a bar is meant to be public and inviting, there should be some clue.

(When you close up shop, move your booze to 2nd location/lock it up. Prevents unauthorized/underage use.)
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby TomServo » Fri Apr 20, 2012 7:07 am

A bars reputation is also just as important as its location.
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Re: thinking of running a little bar on playa got any tips?

Postby HandJamMasterC » Fri Apr 20, 2012 7:36 am

I'm the same way--hesitant to approach small bars without a visual or vocal invitation. If a bar is meant to be public and inviting, there should be some clue.

(When you close up shop, move your booze to 2nd location/lock it up. Prevents unauthorized/underage use.)


Signs help - we have a white board that says " welcome " and has our events for the day listed. And " closed " signs are also a good idea. This was our 2010 first playa bar theme camp -

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