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Does anyone know where I could find a portable bar that I could either carry or roll. People are starting to ask me to bartend for them at their party and I'm really thinking about doing it part time. However, I don't want to be setting up on a regular table. I had found one that you could fit in a case but their asking price is $1,600, ouch.
Portable bars are expensive, but the small portability is what you are paying for. Try ebay or do what most bartenders do:
Use existing situations at the place you are going like in the kitchen over the sink with kitchens that have that bar over the sink (you use the sink for ice) or the standard banquet table set up with a long foldable table and a half table that sits on top to use as the bar ledge. Anyone that has worked banquets know what I mean.
try flairco.com.... they have several portable bars. One that folds up into a rolling suitcase that can almost fit in a carry on space on a plane.
Kinda pricy... but you can make your money back quickly.
The Flairco bar is awesome and I think that is the $1600 one Ray was talking about.
here are some links to something you want to acheive in a portable bar:
The ones above don't list a price. Here's one that finally does:
The cheapest to do is go to Home Depot or Lowes or someplace like that and buy a lightweight plastic folding table (or 2) then make a riser (like pictured in the example links above).
The riser is your challenge. I've made them from milk crates weighted down with cinder blocks and a board going across then covered it all up with linens before. I even set a skinny coffee table on top of the table (the demensions worked) and covered all that up......this is the part you have to get creative on... You can even custom make a one piece folding riser if you have the skills or connections. The most important thing to know is the riser must be solid and firm. It's best to attach it to the table the the best security.
Hope this helps,
Don't worry about the price if you're going to be hiring them commercially. Get a loan and spend the cashish. (Do check on replacement parts and durability). If you consider the going rates for hiring out mobile bars then you'll see the money can be made back in 4-6 hires then the margins you make jump sky high after it's paid for.
A good alternative to the Flairco portable that does require a little more storage space is the cantilever portable bar from the UK at around £2-3K inc. VAT they're not cheap but have ice wells, speed rails, sinks, bins, shelves etc and are like the IMC range of permanent bars. (www.cantileverbarsystems.co.uk)
At the end of the day if you're getting into event catering with the plan to supply equipment and glassware too then it is going to be an expensive investment with a need for storage facilities, cleaning facilities (to maintain it all), a van and driver, public liability insurance etc etc. The hours are long, clients notoriously pernickety, but the rewards are great and good money can be made as I'm sure you're finding out. For really good advice contact some existing drinks caterers/event organisers for quotes and details or try and hook up with someone in the events trade to give you some help.
Best of Luck! [:o)]
I bought my portable bar at Kegworks. Theres were all under $1400. I roll mine easily into my van using two wood planks.