Bar Opening and Closing Checklist Template

By David Rigbye March 14, 2023

As a bar owner or manager, you know how important it is to ensure that your bar is running smoothly & efficiently. However, with so many different tasks to manage and so many details to remember, it can be challenging to stay on top of everything. That’s where a comprehensive opening and closing checklist can make all the difference. 

In this article, we’ll explore the importance of having a thorough bar opening and closing checklist, and provide you with helpful tips for creating and using one.

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Bar opening and closing checklist template example

Bar Opening Checklist

  • Check inventory levels and restock as needed: Ensure that all necessary items such as alcohol, mixers, garnishes, and glassware are fully stocked.
  • Clean bar area: Wipe down all surfaces, including bar tops, counters, and equipment.
  • Check equipment: Test all equipment, such as ice machines, refrigerators, and beer taps, to ensure they are in working order.
  • Set up bar tools: Make sure all necessary tools such as bottle openers, shakers, and strainers are readily available.
  • Check lighting and sound: Ensure that the lighting and sound systems are functioning properly.
  • Check restrooms: Clean and restock restrooms with necessary items such as toilet paper, soap, and paper towels.
  • Check tables and chairs: Ensure that tables and chairs are set up properly and that they are clean.
  • Set up signage: Display appropriate signage, such as menus or specials.

Bar Closing Checklist

  • Check inventory levels: Take inventory of all items, and restock as necessary.
  • Clean bar area: Clean and sanitize all surfaces, including bar tops, counters, and equipment.
  • Store bar tools: Properly store all tools in their designated areas.
  • Clean glassware: Wash and sanitize all glassware and utensils.
  • Empty trash and recycling: Take out all trash and recycling.
  • Turn off equipment: Turn off all equipment, including lights, sound systems, and appliances.
  • Lock up: Secure all doors and windows, and set the alarm system.
  • Complete cash handling procedures: Count the till and close out all transactions, including balancing the cash drawer and making bank deposits.

The Purpose of a Bar Opening and Closing Checklist

A bar opening and closing checklist is a comprehensive list of tasks that need to be completed at the beginning and end of each shift. It covers everything from cleaning the bar area and checking inventory to ensuring that all equipment is in working order. 

The purpose of this checklist is to ensure that every task is completed consistently and thoroughly, which helps to reduce errors and improve efficiency. By following a comprehensive checklist, you can ensure that your bar is always ready to serve customers and that you are always prepared for the day ahead.

Creating a Bar Opening and Closing Checklist

Creating a comprehensive bar opening and closing checklist can seem daunting, but it’s easier than you might think (we’ve put a template example back above to make it easier, but you may wish to adapt to your bar operations). 

Start by listing all the tasks that need to be completed, such as restocking supplies, cleaning the bar area, and checking equipment. Next, group the tasks together by category, such as cleaning, stocking, and equipment maintenance. Finally, prioritize the tasks based on their importance and assign them to different team members or shifts as necessary.

When creating your checklist, it’s important to be as detailed as possible. Include every task that needs to be completed, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. This will help to ensure that nothing is overlooked or forgotten. It’s also a good idea to review and update the checklist regularly to ensure that it remains relevant and effective.

It’s worth the bar manager following the opening and closing checklist from time to time to ensure that it covers all tasks and you have documented procedures that any staff member can easily follow. 

Tips for Completing a Bar Opening and Closing Checklist

Once your checklist is in place, it’s important to ensure that it is being completed correctly and efficiently. One way to do this is to assign specific tasks to different team members or shifts. This not only ensures that everyone knows exactly what they need to do, but it also helps to streamline the process and reduce the risk of errors.

Find out how you can allocate tasks to your team members in Operandio digitally, here. 

Another tip is to set a time limit for completing each section of the checklist. This helps to ensure that the checklist is completed efficiently and on time, and it can also help to motivate team members to work quickly and efficiently.

Finally, regular training and reinforcement are essential to ensure that everyone knows how to follow the checklist correctly. This can include reviewing the checklist regularly, providing training sessions or workshops, and offering incentives or rewards for completing the checklist correctly.

Benefits of Using a Bar Opening and Closing Checklist

Using a comprehensive bar opening and closing checklist offers a range of benefits for bar owners and operators. Perhaps the most significant benefit is that it helps to increase profitability by reducing errors and improving efficiency. By ensuring that all tasks are completed consistently and thoroughly, you can reduce waste, avoid stock shortages, and minimize the risk of errors or accidents.

Another benefit is that a comprehensive checklist can help to improve customer satisfaction. By ensuring that your bar is always clean, well-stocked, and ready to serve customers, you can provide a better overall experience for your patrons.


In conclusion, a bar opening and closing checklist is an essential tool for any bar owner or operator. By creating a comprehensive checklist, following it consistently, and reviewing and updating it regularly, you can ensure that your bar is running smoothly and efficiently at all times. From reducing errors and improving efficiency to increasing profitability and improving customer satisfaction, the benefits of using a comprehensive checklist are clear. So, take the time to create your own checklist today.