How Many Bartenders Will You Need for Your Event?

Planning events wisely takes experience, and if you don’t know something, don’t try to guess and please, ask the experts. If you are doing an event, from 1-500 people, how many bartenders will you need, so that there isn’t a huge line and everybody is taken care of? The answer to that relies on a few different factors. I have done enough events that I feel very confident recommending to my clients how much staff to bring in. 

First of all, tell me the number of approximate guests you are having. A simple rule of thumb is from 1-60, one bartender can handle it. 60-160, two bartenders, 160 – 200, three bartenders, etc. There are other factors involved, however, and sometimes more or less bartenders are needed for individual events. 

Events where only beer and wine is served need less bartenders. It only takes a second to grab a beer and open it or to pour a glass of wine, versus mixing a drink. One bartender can easily handle 100 people with beer and wine only. Having a self service water station with lemonade or ice tea also takes the pressure off the bartender. Corporate events often only serve beer and wine for this reason. 

Weddings Usually Require More Staff

Weddings require more staff because the expectations are  higher, and also at weddings everybody seems to come at once. When the ceremony ends, there is usually a rush to the bar where a long line forms. People could be waiting twenty minutes to get their first drink. Through trial and error I have learned how to streamline this process. Pre-batching the specialty cocktails is key to this. Two bartenders can whip through a line of 160 people in ten minutes, flat. 

Please feel free to call me and discuss your events plans, and I’ll give you my best advice based on my experience of doing 100’s of events. I’ll tell you the truth and won’t try to sell you staff you don’t need. I also won’t take on a job that I think will be grossly understaffed. Let’s discuss your event and come up with a plan that fits your budget and will offer your guests their best experience. 

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