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Do You Know What a No-host Bar Means? Check This Out

What Does a No-host Bar Mean?
If you're hosting a wedding reception, a party, or a corporate function, then you may have to consider having a bar set up at your event. But that means you also have to keep in mind what kind of service it would have. We bring you the meaning of a no-host bar, along with some things to consider while setting one up.
Rashmi Sunder
Last Updated: Mar 14, 2018
Then and Now!
Bars in the U.S started out with different establishments like 'taverns', 'saloons', 'speakeasies', and 'blind pigs' and subsequently grew into the comedy bars, blues bars, dance bars, karaoke bars, and sports bars (amongst many others) that we know of today.
Every celebration at some point or the other requires a sufficient amount of alcohol present. And if you're organizing a get-together, a wedding reception, a corporate event, a party, or a celebration for any other occasion, you have to consider having a bar space in order to quench you guests' thirsts and keep them happy. With everything else that you have to take charge of, having a bar that meets your requirements and those of your guests, while staying within your budget is never an easy task!

This is why places that provide bar services, or alcohol catering have different bar setups to meet the changing needs of its varied clientèle. And that is where the idea of a no-host bar comes in. So, what does a no-host bar mean, you ask? We'll tell you!
A no-host bar is defined as a "bar at a social event for which guests are required to pay for the drinks themselves. It is opposed to a hosted bar where drinks are paid for by the host."
Before we get into the nitty-gritty bits of what a no-host bar means, what we probably know already is that for a catering service, a 'beverage function' is essentially an event where alcohol is served. No drum rolls there, because that's the easy bit. But where the real run around starts is when you have to think about the big questions like "How much liquor?" and "How big a hole is it going to leave on my wallet?" Enter the cash bar, a.k.a, the no-host bar.
So let's break this down. Normally, when you're invited to someone's wedding or attending a house party, you hear the oh-so-lovely invitations which let you know that the drinks are on the house. All you have to do is show up, drink your fill, have a good time, and then an even better sleep (we hope!). But lately, the more extravagant each party gets, the more number of guests you have, and the more capacity each person suddenly seems to acquire, a "free-drink" bar is not always a viable option. So, otherwise known as "cash bars", a no-host bar means that the host is not responsible for the tab that you rake up. So if you want to drink, you gotta pay.
Generally, our culture looks down upon the idea of a guest having to pay for any part of the event, but this type of bar is a solution for those who are on a tight budget, to help keep the hardy ones from getting too intoxicated, and also to avoid the wastage that comes from having a free-to-drink bar. So you might wonder what this bar is up against, and we are here to the rescue!
So now that we know what a no-host bar is, let us look at what other type of functions there are. Basically, you just get to select between three different types. The cash bar, a cash bar with cover charges, and an open bar (the bliss bar!).
We have told you what a cash bar is, so if you just get a little more creative, a cash bar with cover charges/ tickets just gives you/your guests the slight feel of an open bar. Here, guests receive a voucher where there is a hard limit set on the number of beverages they can avail with the coupon. Beyond that limit, the guest has to pay for his successive drinks. So the host takes care of your needs for a good part, but if you are feeling adventurous, make sure you're stacked for the event with some nice Benjamins in your wallet.
The other option, that most hosts opt for (cringing or otherwise) is the open bar, because this shows etiquette and respect for the guests who have made it a point to take time from their busy schedule to be present at the occasion, and are thus shown a great time, courtesy of their hosts. As a guest, this is the party that you're most likely to attend, but as a host, the considerations become different!
So now that you know what the choices are, but a no-host bar is what you have your sights set on, then there are some things to consider.
THE GOOD AND THE UGLY: Things to Keep in Mind
The first thing you have to consider is the number of guests you are entertaining, if the number is small and the crowd, how shall we say, is well-behaved, then you can consider a cash bar with tickets, so that you can stick to your budget and you satisfy your guests too.
If you are going with the tickets, you need to decide what beverages you will provide for free and what needs to be paid for.
In the event that you either have a big guest-list, or expecting the party to get out of hand, the cash bar is your safe bet because it not only removes the excessive stress of running an expensive tab, but it keeps a check on your guests, because all fun apart, safety is important, and you don't want a wrecked event on your hands.
Remember that even with a cash bar, you do have to pay the bartender, probably on an hourly fee.
In case you plan on providing the alcohol and just need a bartender to handle the bar, then you have to pay for the barman's fee as well as a charge attendee's fee (usually at a percentage of each bottle's price) which is known as "corkage".
You still have to decide what beverages you plan to serve, because a barman's rates are subject to change depending on what he is required to serve.
The last thing you have to keep in mind is that, while it is YOUR event, you also want others to be a part of it, and would want your friends, family, and colleagues to leave happy. So the type of bar you choose must make this factor a priority.
Okay, this is the last thing! Whatever you choose, have a good time, don't sweat the details more than is necessary, and drink safe!
So we hope this helped and we that both as a guest and a host, you have a great time. Drink responsibly!
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