There are seven very basic restaurant bar supplies that every owner needs and every bartender should know how to handle.
1. Different types of glassware. Tumblers, flutes, goblets, steins, shooter: every type of alcohol has its own type of glass, be it for measurement, quality of the liquid, tradition or some combination of all three. Wine snobs will have a hard time drinking their Merlot from a highball; Guinness-lovers will glower if their brew doesn’t come in a pint glass. Having the appropriate glassware for a wide variety of alcohols will help your restaurant bar increase its authenticity and professionalism.
2. Wine corkscrew. There are few things as awkward as a bartender who struggles to open a bottle of wine – especially when the customer could probably do it better. Ensure that your wine opener is high quality, made from good materials that won’t compromise the bottle’s cork and require the least amount of huffing and puffing during the opening process.
3. Cocktail shaker tin and strainer. Cocktail shakers come in a variety of styles and shapes, but their general function is to cool all the components of a drink – ice, liquor, flavored syrups, and juice – before serving it to a customer. Some shakers come with a built-in strainer and others have them as separate components. A strainer is important for drinkers that are supposed to be cooled with ice, but are not supposed to have ice in them. A strainer helps keep the drink from becoming too diluted.
4. Bar knife. Bar knives don’t necessarily have to be the same quality as restaurant knives, but should successfully cut through the thick rinds of fruits and be fairly small and light. Many will have a serrated edge. Most bars will pre-cut garnishes before the happy-hour rush, but bartenders should be familiar with wielding a bar knife and how to appropriately cut fruits and veggies that go along with drink orders.
5. Beer tap. Any bar that serves beer will feature a selection on tap that are fresher and served in larger portions than those in a can or bottle. Taps are fairly easy to operate – you just pulls and fills – but there is a certain technique of running the beer down the side of the glass to avoid extra foam that new bartenders need to practice.
6. Towels. A clean bar makes for happy customers, happy bartenders, and happy inspection services. Dishing up drinks can be messy: beer might overflow, fruit juice is sticky, and glassware will break. Keeping a lot of fresh, clean bar towels handy will ensure that any messes that do occur can be attended to quickly by your staff.
7. Ice machine. There is ice in nearly every cocktail. Piddly ice-cube trays will not hack it when the drink orders come rolling in. Even a small ice machine will expedite the drink making process.