How to Organize a Self Serve Bar


How to Organize a self serve barThe holidays sometimes push us into the unfamiliar role of bartender.  While signaling a pleasant activity, it might be something you do not have to handle very often.  There are several options for organizing beverages for your guests for the holidays and for New Year’s Eve.

There is not any rule that you need to provide a full bar.  As the host or hostess, you can simply choose the offering you would like.  It could be solely wine, or solely beer – or a combination of wine and beer.  You could set up the goodies for a themed cocktail for the night.  Or you could go the full-bar routine.


Here are a few tips for organizing beverages for gatherings anytime of the year:

Always have non-alcoholic beverages available.

Do chill beer and wine, as needed, before guests arrive.  Hint: If you live in a colder climate, you might be able to simply leave them in the garage or outside the door- providing it is not freezing until time to put them at the bar.

A large tub is great for holding beer and ice.

Pre-cut garnishes and stow them covered in the fridge.

If doing a theme cocktail, print out the recipe and prop it up in a cute frame on the bar so everyone can make a few.  Otherwise, assign a volunteer to bartend.

If doing a full bar, realize that not everyone knows how to mix drinks.  You might provide a few popular recipes in print.  Check out our beverage ideas, for alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

If you are doing self-serve drinks, organize your bar as you would a serving line for a buffet.  Place things in the order needed.  Begin with your recipes then glassware, ice, a tray of bar tools, alcohol, mixers, stirs, garnishes and finally napkins.



How to organize a self serve barHere is a list of items needed for setting up a bar:

Even if you are only doing wine or a theme drink, check over these lists to see which of the items you may need to supply.


Basic tools for a full bar:

bottle opener
ice bucket with ice
jigger(s) for measuring
bar towel
pre-cut garnishes
trash caHow to organize a self serve bar
cocktail napkins.


Basic glassware for a full bar:

short and tall glasses
stemmed glasses
wine glasses for red and white wine.







Lea Schneider
Author Lea Schneider, a columnist for What’s Cooking America, is a freelance writer and organizational expert whose organizing ideas have been published in many magazines including Woman’s Day, Better Homes and Gardens Kitchen and Bath Ideas, Family Circle, Parents Magazine, as well as numerous newspapers and websites. She is a member of the Association of Food Journalists.

Getting organized is all about living simpler and making things easier. The bonus is it often leads to saving money. Lea Schneider’s kitchen organizing columns tell you how to organize the many things that relate to kitchens, menus, meals, and special food events.

Check out all of Lea Schneider’s helpful home and kitchen columns at Organizing Kitchens, Pantries, Menus and Meals.

Additional holiday organizing articles by Lea Schneider:


Big Meal Doesn’t Have To Equal Big Mess
Organizing for Clean-Up Makes for an Easier Holiday.

Christmas Holiday Notebook Keeps You Organized Year after Year
Feel confident about holiday cooking by creating a holiday notebook.

Christmas kitchen secrets of the organized
Suggestions to help you make holiday entertaining look easy.

Mise en Place – Begin Cooking with Mise en Place
A cooking time saver – and stress reliever – by lining up your cooking.

Organizing Holiday Tablescapes
Beautiful table settings or tablescapes, which combines the words table + landscape, begins with a bit of organization. Organization and creativity go hand-in-hand. Nearly every creative project begins with some kind of planning, organizing or gathering. A beautiful holiday table is no different.

Paper or plastic for holiday organization?
Holidays mean more recipes and groceries! Turn the kitchen chaos into calm.

Prepare for the Holidays – Head Back to Basics in Organizing
With the holidays fast approaching, you could probably use a little help in making your kitchen tidy and getting it organized. Getting organized in the kitchen means getting down to the basics.

Quick! Make your kitchen welcoming
Kitchens are a company magnet. Make yours welcoming with these steps.

Storing Fine China – Store Your Fine China for Ease of Use
If setting the Thanksgiving table was just too much trouble – or if you were relieved that you didn’t have to drag out your good dishes – maybe your storage needs tweaking.

Storing Table Linens
Don’t wait for company. Get your table linens finally organized.



Comments and Reviews

Leave a Reply