Bar Party Planner for Drinks and Beverages

Don't forget Coffee, Tea and Soft Drinks

Use Bar Party Planner for all those liquids - they're part of the party. By volume, people consume more fluids than solids. Here are good ideas for drink of all kinds.

We’ll show you what to buy, how much of each, help you save money and make your party even better.

Our Chicken Fingers are too good and easy to make. Beer?

Start Planning - Our site's info is free for your personal use.

So who’s tending Bar?

Bartender, BarMan, Guests serve Themselves?

  • Bartender – Professional Bartender Services are like caterers, charging per person with different levels of service. For a service that provides everything including the bartender, offers a moderate amount of bar choices, and, operates for three hours - expect to pay $20-$25 per person. But this does include everything. Ask about their insurance.

    Professional Services can provide just the bartender, serving what you have on hand, for about $150/hr, or so. Maybe you can find someone cheaper, but they should be trained and know what they’re doing.

  • BarMan – This is not a bartender, instead it’s someone who organizes the bar at your party. They do not necessarily mix drinks, but they do open wine bottles, tap beer kegs, keep the bar stocked, get more ice, clean up and help out as needed.

  • Guests serve themselves? – Our favorite for smaller, family parties. But when you get over 50 guests, or if you want a more formal event, you need someone around – like a Barman.

    We like the BarMan idea. It’s cheaper and more manageable, however it does mean that you need to get and stock your own supplies. That’s where we come in…! (you’re not alone!!)


    Your know your guests better than we do – get the kinds and brands you think they’ll like, and what you like too. We always use better brands.

    Here is our general guide for a Party of 50:

  • Liquor in 1.75 liter bottles:

    2/3 - Vodka
    2 - Whiskey
    1 – Scotch
    1 – Gin
    1 – Rum
    1 - Tequila
    1 – Bailey’s
    1 – Dry Vermouth
    1 – Sweet Vermouth

  • Mixers in 2 liter bottles:

    2 - Club Soda
    4 – Cola
    4 – Diet Cola
    2 – Cranberry Juice
    2 – Ginger Ale
    3 – Lemon-Lime Soda
    2 – Tomato Juice
    2 – Tonic Water
    1 – Bitter Lemon
    1 – Gallon Orange Juice

  • Bar Supplies:

    50 pounds – cubed Ice
    1 – small jar green olives
    1 – small jar Maraschino cherries with stems
    200 – cocktail, small napkins
    200 count box of stirrers
    3 – limes, cut into wedges
    3 – lemons, cut into wedges
    2 - oranges, cut into wedges

  • Glassware (glass or plastic)

    150+ - 8 ounce glasses
    50+ - 5 ounce glasses


  • “Kegs on Tap”

    The ½ keg, 15.5 gallon, 160 pound aluminum container is commonly called a “full keg” in the States – (not so in other countries, FYI.)

    To get the beer out, you pressurize the keg with either a ‘party tap’ or a ‘CO2 tap.’ The party tap compresses air which you pump in by hand. It's cheaper and less complicated but requires technique. The CO2 tap uses carbon-dioxide to pressurize the keg. The CO2 tap costs more but is easier and doesn’t change the beer’s flavor. Most times we use party taps for a one day event (less time for the air to change the beer.)

    To the right and below are pics of party taps. Insert them carefully into the opened keg, turn clockwise until hand tight, pump slowly not more than 4 times to reduce foaming. Always tap beer into a glass held at a 45^ angle.

    Kegs need to be and stay iced, with at least 50 pounds, more is better. The keg sits in a box, bag or tub with ice all around.

  • Cost? A keg of Bud taps out at 50 cents a glass, other beers can be more, smaller kegs are more.

  • To bottle or To keg?

    Bottles are bottles, but kegs are cool. Some say the beer tastes better in kegs… who knows.... But we all agree that people like kegs. They’re kind of like champagne fountains – nice way to serve, but it’s still champagne.

  • Keg Math:

    1/2 keg = 15.5 gallons = 7 cases = 165 glasses = 50 guest beer only party

  • Bottle Math:

    7 cases = 7x24-12 ounce bottles = 168 glasses = 50 guest beer only party

  • Cost? A 12 ounce bottles of Bud runs around 90 cents, other beers are more or less, cans are less.

  • How Much will you Need for 50 Guests? If you’re serving liquor and wine too, then you need a ¼ keg, or 3 cases. If not, ½ keg or 7 cases.

    TIP: Use 10 ounce, disposable or normal glasses when serving beer. This will stretch it out a little bit.

    TIP: When we serve a keg, we always have a case or two around, of another flavor, just in case….bad pun…..


    Wine for person is different that wine for party. We try to find wines that work well for groups.

  • How Much will you Need for 50 Guests?

    If you’re serving liquor and beer too, then you need 6 bottles of white wine, and 3 bottles of red.

    If it’s a cocktail Wine Bar, go with 12 bottles of white, and 6 bottles of red, more if you're serving wine with dinner, or for a longer party.

  • What kinds to get? Here’s our best advice: Go to a your local wine store and buy what they recommend. Remember that they will usually refund you for unopened bottles.

    If that doesn’t work and you need some advice, we like to serve Beringer products – they have a nice White Zinfandel, the Merlot is fruity and light, and their Cabernet Sauvignon is plain good. But that’s just us.

    Wine glasses are rentable. Party shops sell plastic stemmed, disposable ones too. Wine, especially good wine, should be displayed.

    Champagne Toast for 50 people – get seven bottles, normal size. We usually offer an inexpensive brand.

    Ideas about Serving Alcohol:

  • Make it clear that you’re not going to serve anyone under the legal drinking age.

  • Consider one time event liability insurance. Policies are available from $150 and up, based on the number of guests you have and the type of coverage you need. Also check your homeowner’s insurance policy to see what coveage you already have.

  • You want to serve food first, having some snacks out before people start drinking. That "empty stomach" stuff is true.

  • You might have a nice micro-brew beer available in your area. Consider serving that instead of a typical big name brand.

  • We recommend that you don’t make an alcoholic punch and have it available to everyone, because people just don’t know what’s in it. If they mix their own or watch someone else mix their drink, they have a much better idea of how much they’ve actually consumed.

  • If your guests are mixing their own drinks, make sure they have a trash can handy, a wet cloth are two around so they can wipe up in a small spills, and some shot glasses to help the measure their drinks. Place a bowl or two of simple snacks right around that drink making area.

  • Close or limit the bar about an hour before the end of your party. Start serving coffee, water and soft drinks.

  • Keep a watchful eye on your guests as they leave. Don’t hesitate to call a cab for someone when needed.

  • If you’ve hired a bartender, you might want to put up a list of the drinks available, such as “Martini, Manhattan,” etc., your guests know what they can get.

    Beverages, no alcohol

    Soft Drinks for 50 Guests

    If you’re serving liquor, beer and wine too, then you need another 3 – 2 liter bottles for those who don’t care to drink alcohol, more if you have lots of kids.

    If you’re serving only soft drinks, you’ll want 10 – 2 liter bottles, ½ gal or OJ, 1 quart of tomato juice, and another few juices your guests would especially appreciate. Plan on 1 gallon for every 9 guests.

    Increase these numbers on a warm day.

    We like to go 70% normal, 30% diet. People like a mix, just be sure to get some cola, both Coke and Pepsi.


    We plan for 8 ounces per guest, which can be good tap water served in a cup when asked, or as a pitcher on a table, or in individual bottles as needed. We like the smaller, 5 or 6 ounce bottles of water, brand is usually unimportant.


    Here’s a simple method that will work for most parties of 50 or so: Go out and buy some cheap, one-quart insulated beverage servers. The discount stores or on-line shops have them. Get 4 of ‘em, 2 for normal coffee, 1 for decaf coffee, and 1 for tea. Use your regular coffee maker, make a full batch each time, and keep filling them up.

    Why this way? 50/100 cup “perk” style coffee tastes awful. Old coffee (“old” is over 20 minutes,) is yuch. Re-heated coffee, well, we won’t go there… So, use your “Mr. Coffee” style, pour-over coffee maker and keep the insulated servers filled. Fresh, hot and good.

    TIP: Use your chef’s thermometer to check the coffee in the servers. Coffee brews at 160+^f, so if you keep it covered with the lid tight in the server, it should stay around 150^f or so.

    TIP: If you do need to reheat, do a little at a time in the microwave, not a big pot the stove. Superheating the coffee oils is what makes that nasty taste….ouch…...

  • Regular or Unleaded? Depends on the age of your guests, time of your party, and if alcohol is served. Lots of seniors, dinner party, a little booze? We go 2 decaf to 1 normal caffeine – yes, twice as much de-caffeinated. Or, younger crowd, party hearty? 2 caffeinated to 1 decaf, twice as much the other way. And using our method, it’s easy to quickly brew another pot.

    Here’s a fun idea you might like. Call ahead to arrange it, and send someone to your local Dunkin’ Donuts around coffee time. They sell the insulated box “Cup of Joe”, which holds 10 – 8 ounce cups. Not cheap, but fun for a coffee loving crowd, they will serve any of their coffees or even cocoa this way.

    Tea? Hot tea needs hot water, close to boiling, to make good tea and kill bacteria. We brew it on the stove, then transfer it to an insulated server. Follow the same quidelines about caffeine (above.) We usually serve regular tea and have a few de-caf bags around.

    Condiments: Use Fat Free Half and Half instead of milk or cream – it tastes fine, and it means not needing to have both milk and cream available.

    Wedge up a lemonFree Clipart Illustration of a Lemon Wedge. Click Here to Get Free Images at Clipart and have it near the tea. Honey? Up to you. We do.

    Domino SuperFine Sugar is sold in most grocery stores - makes for simpler mixing at party time. Have a few packets of Equal around – some folks can’t enjoy hot drinks without it.

    Time to do some more Party Planning?

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