Used effectively, a commercial portable bar will allow you to improve service, draw attention to the bar, and ultimately increase sales.
However, there’s a wide range of portable bars on the market and before you but, it’s essential that you understand how to evaluate what separates high-quality commercial portable bars from inferior alternatives.
Unlike home portable bars, which are typically cheaply manufactured for their aesthetic look and often come with a favorite sports team or themed decoration, a commercial portable bar should be made of durable materials that are built to handle the wear and tear of use that’s typical in a commercial setting while offering clean lines and a generally professional look.
So what should you look for to make sure you’re getting a commercial portable bar that meets your needs?
As we said, home portable bars don’t perform very well in commercial settings. One of the main reasons is that they aren’t designed to provide the full functionality that a bartender needs to perform his job effectively.
A commercial portable bar should come with all the necessary equipment: a speed rail for holding liquor bottles, ice bins, cutting surfaces, and space to store equipment. If you’re going to be handling a lot of guests coming through, make sure that your equipment is up to the challenge.
The last thing you our or your bartenders needs to deal with when you’re managing an event is an insufficient work space that doesn’t allow for quality service.
A commercial portable bar should also allow for easy set-up as well as easy cleaning and tear down at the end of the night so you aren’t wasting unneeded money on labor costs or wasting your time setting up and tearing down.
If you’re going to be moving the bar fairly frequently either within a single venue or between multiple venues, you need to make sure your portable bar is built to last.
The key factors to check when you’re evaluating portability are the material, modularity of the parts, and how it’s transported.
As we said before, if you’re looking for a commercial portable bar, you want to buy one with a metal frame. Both steel and aluminum work well. Aluminum is typically slightly lighter, but sacrifices some durability. Steel is stronger and more durable, but heavier. PVC or plastic bars, while lighter, don’t last as long and don’t have a professional look or feel so if you’re looking for a commercial portable bar, it’s probably best to steer clear.
Look for something that is scratch resistant, sturdy, and waterproof so it will stand-up to less than sober guests bumping in to them and the wear and tear of being moved around frequently. In general, most aluminum and steel bars meet these qualifications, but make sure to ask before you buy.
A modularly constructed bar is the biggest differentiator between a well-built, industrial-grade commercial portable bar and inferior quality bars. A bar that’s modularly constructed can have each part independently replaced as needed. If they get damaged at an event or in transit then you can replace components specifically instead of having to order an entirely new bar. This will extend the life cycle of your bar enabling you to get the best possible value out of it.
It also means that you can customize different pieces of the bar. So if you’re managing a hotel with two different venues, you could have panels customized for each venue and still only have to buy one bar.
In our bars, we use removable, hard acrylic panels that can be easily interchanged as needed.
Another important consideration before you invest in a commercial portable bar, is how you’ll transport it. If you’re planning on moving the bar between venues, make sure to check the dimensions and weight to see if it’s a size that you and your crew can manage.
Some cars can accomodate full size commercial bars and some bars are designed specifically to transport in compact cars, but you need to check the measurements and weight to make certain that you can transport the bar.
Appearance and Design
The essential mission of a commercial portable is that it look permanent even though it’s portable. A commercial portable bar as opposed to using something like a fold out table should create a professional and permanent appearance that enhances instead of cheapening the vibe and aesthetic of the venue. You need to determine what that vibe and aesthetic is and then choose a bar that matches it.
Effective Marketing Messaging
Another key aspect that sets a commercial portable bar apart from other bars is how effective it is for you as a marketing tool. Whether you’re an in-house food and beverage director advertising for an event sponsor or a caterer advertising your own service, you want to leverage the bar as part of your marketing.
The two most common ways of doing this are by using custom graphics and LED lights to brand your bar and draw attention to it.
Our Portable Bars
If you’re looking for a commercial portable bar, our line of space-saving portable bars is designed to improve service, draw attention and drive sales. Watch our video of the Professional Portable Bar below to see how each of our products work or download our product catalog to see our full line.