Before you open that sports bar

Owning a sports bar sounds like a dream come true for many people. What’s not to love about being surrounded by team memorabilia, cold beer and great food? But before you take the plunge and open your own sports bar, there are things you need to consider. Keep reading to learn more.


1. Find the best location

The first thing you need to consider when opening a sports bar is where it will be located. Half of the battle of owning a successful restaurant is finding the right spot. The right location is one where you can draw in the crowds easily, so it needs to be visible and accessible from the street.

Another important thing to consider is what else is in the area. You want to be near other bars or restaurants so that you can draw in customers who may be looking for somewhere new to watch a game. When it comes to a sports bar, you want to be sure to pick a location with ample foot traffic and parking. It should also be near public transport.


2. Create the right atmosphere

An essential factor to consider when opening a sports bar is the atmosphere. Part of the appeal of going to a sports bar is being able to watch the game in a fun and festive environment. You need tables for large groups, as well as space for singles to pop in on their own and feel welcome.

So, be sure to decorate your space with team memorabilia and flat-screen TVs so that your patrons can enjoy the game no matter where they’re sitting in the bar. You should also decide how to handle the music situation in between games. Do you want a jukebox that lets customers pick their own, or a space for live local acts?

3. Delicious food and cold drinks

No sports bar would be complete without delicious food and ice-cold drinks. Be sure to have a variety of so that there’s something for everyone. Burgers and French fries are staples, but other deep-fried snacks that are ideal for sharing or as a meal on their own go down a treat with everyone.

When it comes to drinks, you need a great beer selection, both local and imported, as well as non-alcoholic options. Sodas, juices and even alcohol-free cocktails are always a hit. And don’t forget about happy hour! Many people come to sports bars specifically for happy hour specials so that they can get their favourite drinks at a discounted price.


4. A well kitted-out kitchen

Your food is only going to be as good as the appliances you’re using to prepare it. Be sure to have a top-of-the-line griddle , fridge and dishwasher so that your kitchen can keep up with the demand. You'll also need smaller appliances like a deep fryer , cooking blender and food processor . Things like a potato peeling machine and vegetable slicer are also useful.

For behind the bar, an ice maker is essential. Serving beer and other drinks in frosted glasses is both practical and looks appealing, so a glass freezer may be a worthy addition to your bar complement. Freshly squeezed juice is great in cocktails, as well as when served on its own, so invest in an orange juice press to save yourself the manual labour. Don't forget, you'll also need plenty of drinks fridges .

5. Don't forget the games

When it comes to choosing which games to show at your sports bar, it’s important to have a variety so that you can cater to as many customers as possible. The area you're in will determine what kind of sports to have on show, but try focus on one or two so that's what you become known for. You can always show secondary games out of season or outside of peak times.

In addition to televised games, some sports bars also offer pool tables and dart boards so that customers can stay entertained even when their team isn’t playing. You'll need space for these so keep that in mind when location shopping.


6. Hire the right staff

Another key aspect to the success of your sports is to make sure you hire the right staff. Your employees will be the face of your business, so you want to be sure to hire people who are friendly and outgoing. Invest in keeping staff so that customers can return to see familiar faces and really get to feel a sense of community.

In addition, you want to be sure to hire staff who are knowledgeable about sports so that they can answer any questions your customers may have. Sports fan love having discussions around the latest statistics so having staff who are as invested in sports as you are will go a long way to making customers feel at home.

7. Host promotions and events

In addition to having great food and drinks, another way to draw in customers is by planning promotions and events. For example, you could have a trivia night or karaoke night once a week. You could also offer discounts for people who come in wearing their favourite team’s jersey.

Live music nights, themed nights or even events relating to international sporting events are a big draw for customers. By offering something unique, you’ll be able to attract new regulars that keep coming back for more.

Owning a sports bar can be a fun and lucrative endeavour – but only if you do your homework beforehand. Use the tips above to get started and you’ll be on your way to owning a successful business in no time.