You’re planning a party and you want to include a bar for your guests (smart idea). You know it will help everyone loosen up a bit and get them into the spirit, so it makes the must-have list once party planning.


Every alcohol catering company will have a few different options that you can choose from for catered bar options, but the overall general categories are fairly simple…let us explain.


There are typically three selections to choose from.


Cash Bar,  Hosted Bar, and Partially Hosted Bar


Let’s dive in and explore each a bit further.


Cash Bar

cash bar
Photo by: Shutterstock


A cash bar can be a fully or partially stocked bar which means you, as the host can select what spirits, beer and wine to offer the crowd. A full bar would be everything under the sun and a partial bar would simply be select items for purchase.


The guests would be responsible for paying for each cocktail or beverage ordered from the bar each time a drink is ordered through the bartender.


Cash bars are a popular option at many large events such as concerts, festivals, and can even be used as an option at weddings, parties or other social gatherings.


Hosted Bar

Hosted Bar
Hosted Bar with Signature Drinks


A hosted bar is an option in which the host of the party makes arrangements where their guests do not need to pay for beverages at all throughout the event; as the payment for all of the provided alcohol has been made.


The option of what beverages to offer the guests is also at the client’s discretion. Some choose to offer a simple beer and wine bar, others want the hole kit-n-caboodle of a full bar.


When hosting a bar, the client should think about their budget and how much they wish to spend on this section. Some companies charge per person, and others do a flat fee. So be sure to allocate and know your monetary limit.


Hosted bars are a fantastic addition to many intimate parties as it allows guests to not worry about taking out their wallets while enjoying the celebration or event. It’s a great touch to any celebration.


Partially Hosted Bar

Partially Hosted Bar

A partially hosted bar is exactly what it sounds like. Some of the bar is complimentary to guests while other beverages within the bar are for purchase. The cash bar associated with this option is so that guests can purchase what they desire if that may be something that is not offered on the “hosted” portion of the bar.


Partially hosted bars can work in numerous ways.


Have you ever been to a wedding in where the cocktail hour had complimentary drinks, but once in the reception hall, a cash bar was available? If so, this would be considered a partially hosted bar.


This option can also work as one single bar in which the client will choose select items that are available complimentary for their guests such as beer, wine and a signature cocktail. If the guests want hard liquor, they have the option to purchase it.


If your budget doesn’t allow you to spend a ton of additional money on providing a fully hosted complimentary bar for your guests, this is a great option.


As mentioned before, there are numerous ways to tinker and play with bar options for a catered alcohol event, however, a cash bar, hosted bar and partially hosted bar are the top three most popular options available.


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