If you want to support the gay community, you may view opening a gay bar as an exciting endeavor. You need prepare yourself for a potentially challenging and risky process, since seven out of ten new bars close within three years. When opening a gay bar, you’ll have to consider factors like which neighborhoods have the most gay-friendly reputations and whether the surrounding area has a population large enough to make your bar profitable.
Select a location that provides you with enough customers to make a profit. The middle of a sparsely-populated, rural state generally constitutes a poor location for a gay bar. Choose a gay-friendly neighborhood or an area with a high gay population, most likely in an urban setting. Also, decide what kind of gay bar you want to have and pick your location accordingly. You probably wouldn’t want to put a large dance club in the middle of a residential neighborhood, but a small, quiet bar might be acceptable there.
Acquire the property after you’ve found a location you like. You’ll need to create a business plan to estimate your expected costs and to figure out how much you can afford to pay to rent or purchase the property. Unless you have very deep pockets, you’ll probably need to borrow money to get your bar up and running. Contact several banks to find the best loan deal. If banks turn down your loan request, try the U.S. Small Business Association. You may want to consider recruiting additional investors, particularly individuals with an interest in the gay community.
Apply for the necessary licenses to sell alcoholic beverages. Consider whether you want to serve liquor, beer, wine or all three, and apply for the appropriate license for your needs. The application process and required fees vary depending on your state. Florida, for instance, has two types of liquor license based on how much of an establishment’s income comes from food.
Hire the right staff for the type of establishment you have in mind. The bartenders, servers, hosts and other staff will have an impact on the clientele your bar attracts. A classy martini bar, a neighborhood dive bar and a trendy dance club require different employees with the right look and attitude for that particular type of gay bar.
Market your business to increase your attendance and profits. Create an appealing website and research the gay organizations in your area. Most major cities have print and/or online publications that cater to gays and lesbians. Contact them to see if they might be interested in writing about your business.
Some within the gay community believe that gay bars may soon become a thing of the past as gay and lesbian individuals become more accepted in mainstream society and no longer need to patronize gay-only establishments. They suggest that entrepreneurs open bars that cater to both gay and non-gay populations in order to prosper.
- Club Planet: How to Open a Bar
- “Start and Run a Money-Making Bar;” Bruce Fier; 1993
- Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco: Licensing-Related FAQs
- Gay Data: Quick Web Media Links
- bar image by Dmitry Nikolaev from Fotolia.com