Beverage packages, open bar, on consumption, specialty cocktails and kids drinks, oh my! Which will you select for your Bar or Bat Mitzvah? | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA

There are two ways that caterers or venues with onsite beverage service can do bar service–either a package or on consumption. Then there are a few insider secrets to ask about — specialty cocktails or partial beverages on consumption.

Beverage Package/Open Bar

A beverage package or an open bar is a fixed cost per adult for the duration of the party for unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage consumption. Beverage packages can vary wildly from just including beer and wine to top-shelf alcohol. It nearly always also includes non-alcoholic beverages like soda, juice, and water. It is worth asking if there is a less expensive price for an afternoon vs. evening party since guests tend to drink less during the daytime.

Summer Berry Sangria for Camp Color War Bat Mitzvah at Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, VA | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA | Photo by Greg Land Photography

Beverages on Consumption

Some venues or caterers offer a second option which is where you only pay for what your guests drink. Depending on your guests, this can be a more affordable option but is more complicated for your bartender. Your bartender is serving drinks while also keeping a tally of what has been ordered. I have a distinct feeling that is impossible to prove, that there can be some “fuzzy math” involved in this option. You’d be billed after the event for exactly what your guests have consumed. There are a lot of factors that go into deciding whether an open bar or beverage on consumption is better for your event and I’ll go through that in a later blog post.

Specialty Cocktails

An affordable way to offer some hard liquor, but not have a full, open bar is to have a few specialty cocktails available in addition to beer and wine. This is a fun option to select something that fits with the theme (a dacquari for a tropical theme) or color palette (pink decor with a pink drink!) or come up with a creative name.

Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs | Serving DC, MD & VA | Photo by Paired Images

Partial Beverages on Consumption

If you think the vast majority of your guests will stick to beer and wine, with only a few taking advantage of hard liquor, ask about partial beverages on consumption. Note that most venues are not set up to handle this, but some restaurant venues are. If the bar that your guests will drink from is a permanent fixture (ie, not being set up and taken down for your event only), you may be able to take advantage of this option.

Kids Beverages

Since your kids are obviously not going to be drinking alcohol, there is usually a soda bar price. This may be included in your price for the kid’s meal or it may not. Be sure to check, so you aren’t surprised later!

Beverage Advice and Conclusion

The most cost conscious option is to provide all of your own alcohol, but that may not be allowed. Make sure to confirm exactly what alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are included. Is there a specific type of beer you’d like? Prefer Coke over Pepsi? Want to ensure there is lemonade? Can they make a Shirley Temple? If you know you want to drink it, ask!

Not sure what beverage option to choose? Contact Pop Color Events to help!