How to Stock a Bar

How to Stock an Open or Personal Bar, GreatPartyRecipes.com


Tips and Charts

For a personal bar, the question of "how to stock a bar" is easy: stock what you like. But for an open bar, a party bar, guests order whatever they like or would like to try so you basically need to stock plenty of everything: wine, beer, spirits, mixers, garnishes, sodas, water, and bar tools, a full bar.

There are a couple of nifty ways around that, though. Either option makes stocking a bar simpler:

  • One is to stock only a partial bar: wine, beer, water and sodas. No cocktail mixing, just a lot of pouring and serving. Most are happy with that.
  • Another option is to serve wine, beer, etc., with the addition of a specific selection of 3 to 6 cocktails, stocking only the spirits and mixers needed for those cocktails. (A semi-full bar?) Most are thrilled with that.




And don't forget a bartender or two.
A good professional bartender can handle up to 75 guests for a full bar event or 125 guests for a partial bar event. But for a no-waiting, everybody's-happy experience figure one bartender per 50 guests for a full bar and one per 75 guests for a partial bar.

How to Stock a Bar

Banquet? Wedding reception? Theme party? Size up your crowd and your event. Determine what kind of bar you want. Follow the charts below for stocking the bar.

The charts are figured for a 3 to 3 1/2-hour party. The "For 50 Guests" figures can be halved, doubled or tripled, etc., as the need may be.




Full Bar
Item For 12 Guests For 50 Guests
White wine 4 (750ml) bottles 18 (750 ml) bottles
Red wine 3 (750ml) bottles 14 (750 ml) bottles
Beer 6 (12-ounce) bottles 24 (12-ounce) bottles
Vodka 1 (750ml) bottle 6 (750 ml) bottles
Gin 1 (750ml) bottle 4 (750 ml) bottles
Rum 1 (750ml) bottle 4 (750 ml) bottles
Scotch 1 (750ml) bottle 2 (750 ml) bottles
Bourbon 1 (750ml) bottle 2 (750 ml) bottles
Tequila 1 (750ml) bottle 2 (750 ml) bottles
Brandy 1 (750ml) bottle 1 (750 ml) bottle
It's a good idea to include a few flavored liqueurs for mixing cocktails such as Triple Sec, Kahlua, and Peach Schnapps.
Bottled water 4 (1-liter) bottles 12 (1-liter) bottles
Sprite, 7-Up
or Ginger Ale
1 (2-liter) bottle 4 (2-liter) bottles
Cola 1 (2-liter) bottle 6 (2-liter) bottles
Diet cola 1 (2-liter) bottle 6 (2-liter) bottles
Club soda or tonic 1 (2-liter) bottle 6 (2-liter) bottles
Other mixers: Simple syrup, fresh sour, bitters, grenadine, vermouth, half-and-half, mint leaves, and an assortment of fruit juices: lemon, lime, orange, cranberry, grapefruit, pineapple, and tomato
Garnishes: Limes, oranges, Spanish olives, pearl onions, mint leaves, strawberries
Ice 25 pounds 100 pounds






Partial Bar
Item For 12 Guests For 50 Guests
White wine 7 (750ml) bottles 30 (750 ml) bottles
Red wine 4 (750ml) bottles 14 (750 ml) bottles
Beer 18 (12-ounce) bottles 60 (12-ounce) bottles
Bottled water 3 (1-liter) bottles 10 (1-liter) bottles
Sprite, 7-Up
or Ginger Ale
1 (2-liter) bottle 6 (2-liter) bottles
Cola 2 (2-liter) bottles 8 (2-liter) bottles
Diet cola 2 (2-liter) bottles 8 (2-liter) bottles
Ice 18 pounds 75 pounds

That's the scoop on How to Stock a Bar. Not bad, huh? From a party-planning standpoint, any day you can get all the "how many"s and "how much"s in a chart is a good day. It's a good day.


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