Opening a bar can be a lucrative business venture, but it’s essential to do your research before deciding on a location. Here are the ten best places to open a bar based on population density, competition, and liquor licensing laws.
#1 – New York City, New York
With a population of over eight million people, New York City is the perfect place to open a bar. While there’s always a demand for new bars in the city, the competition is stiff, so not everyone will succeed.
Additionally, liquor licensing laws are stringent, so be prepared to jump through some hoops before you can open your doors.
#2 – Chicago, Illinois
Chicago is another great city to open a bar. Home to over two million people, there’s always demand for new bars in the city. Like NYC, the competition is tough, but the rewards can be great.
Liquor licensing laws are relatively lax, so you won’t have too much trouble getting your bar up and running in Chicago. Give your establishment a unique theme to stand out.
#3 – San Francisco, California
San Francisco is an excellent city for opening a bar. It has a population of over 800,000 people. In San Francisco, laid-back liquor licensing laws make it easy to start a bar. The perfect stop for many travelers, you’ll want to consider if you’re starting a bar for locals or tourists.
#4 – Portland, Oregon
Portland is an ideal city for opening a bar in any niche. It has a population of over 600,000 people and is another highly-competitive city with relatively lax liquor laws. So give your bar a unique spin or theme to stand out here.
#5 – Seattle, Washington
Seattle is optimal for opening a bar. With over 700,000 people, there’s always demand for eclectic new establishments. But, as in other locations, competition is stiff, and liquor laws are lax.
#6 – Austin, Texas
Austin is another excellent location for opening a bar if you can take the heat. It has a population of over 950,000 people. Of course, you’ll have to set yourself apart amid the competition, but lax liquor licensing makes it easy to get started.
#7 – Denver, Colorado
Out West, Denver is another great city for opening a bar. With a population of over 650,000, there’s always demand for interesting establishments, and the competition is stiff.
Denver is particularly popular for tourism travel related to skiing and snowboarding. Consider creating winter sports specials or exploring how you can tailor your bar to winter sports tourists.
#8 – Portland, Oregon
Near Seattle in the PNW, Portland is another great city for opening a bar. It has a population of over 580,000 people, and there’s always demand for new bars in the city. So naturally, the competition is tough, but the rewards can be great.
#9 – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Milwaukee, commonly known as “The Brew City,” has a rich history of supplying much of the United States with deliciously fermented beverages. Aside from its lengthy brewing past, Milwaukee has plenty of perks to attract residents – a sprawling lakefront, the largest music festival in the nation, and an affordable cost of living.
Milwaukee is home to a surplus of colleges, making it ideal for dive bars and establishments aimed at 22-23-year-old drinkers. Consider opening an arcade or game bar to provide a fun environment for college students to hang out.
#10 – Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
Despite the frigid winters and scorching summers, Minnesotans are a different breed. Whether it’s -10F or 98F, they’ll cheerfully show up to indulge in a tasty cocktail or craft beer to cheer on one of their many sports teams. So if you can weather the cold, opening a bar in the Twin Cities presents a fantastic opportunity.
A sports-themed bar celebrating the Vikings, Twins, Wild, or Timberwolves would do well in the Twin Cities, where sports teams and fans are plentiful.
Opening a bar can be very lucrative, but it’s essential to do your research before deciding on a location. These ten best places to open a bar should give you a solid starting point for determining where to open your new business. Each location has advantages and disadvantages, so choose the right one for your specific needs.