How To Open a Bar in Florida: The Comprehensive Guide

Updated December, 2023

Where to Start When Opening a Bar in Florida

The dream of opening your own bar has been a common American fantasy for decades. The idea of creating a fun and lively space where people meet, talk, down a beer, or sip some wine is, well, intoxicating to many. If opening a bar in Florida has ever crossed your mind, then this is the page for you. Read on future proprietor!

To become a successful bar owner, you need to understand the nuts and bolts of the process. Just about anyone can open a bar and lose money while working around the clock, but if you want to enjoy the process while making a good return on your investment, then a bit of knowledge and business acumen will be helpful. Carefully consider each of these steps as you embark upon a journey of running your own drinking establishment.

Getting a Liquor License for Your Florida Bar

Alcohol is the centerpiece of just about every bar there is. It is as essential as a burger is to a burger place, as art is to an art gallery, and as music is to a concert hall. It is the bar’s raison d’être. Without the flow of beverages, your place would just be another boring building, or worse, a place of work and productivity. Every business in Florida that sells beer, wine, and liquor must apply for a Florida alcohol license.

Liquor Licenses Applicable to Bars

It is important to understand the different types of licenses available. If you hope to serve mixed drinks and spirits you will need a Florida liquor license. These are some of the most common types of Florida alcohol licenses available:

●  2COP Beer & Wine License Florida – this license allows for the sale of beer and wine for both on-premise and off-premise consumption (package sales).
●  2APS Florida Beer & Wine License – for the off-premise sale of beer & wine (package sales)
●  4COP/SFS – for restaurants & food service establishments selling beer, wine, and spirits
●  4COP-QUOTA – for the sale of beer, wine & spirits for both on-premise and off-premise consumption (package sales)

To successfully navigate the process of obtaining an alcohol license, it makes good sense to hire an experienced company. The process of licensing can be complicated and take several weeks or longer to complete. You can see further below for more information on choosing a licensing company.

How to Open a Bar With a Solid Business Plan

A comprehensive business plan will touch on everything from the competition, to the location, to the expenses and revenues, to inventory, to financing. Essentially, it should give you a sense if what you are proposing is workable and will result in making you a profit.

If it doesn’t, better to know beforehand than three years later. A business plan will seek to identify how many customers you will be able to attract, and how much money it will cost you for rent, utilities, licensing, taxes, equipment, and wages. A good business plan has to be clear, realistic, and calculating.

Decide What Style of Bar You Want to Have

No doubt, each potential proprietor of a watering hole has his or her own vision of what the perfect bar would look like. In fact, there are probably just as many possible styles for a bar as there are possible owners. Here are a few bar styles that may appeal to you.

The Neighborhood Bar

Like the bar in the old television series “Cheers,” this type of establishment draws in people from the local area. It often has a clientele that consists of regulars and people who live nearby. It’s a place for people to relax, talk over the day, and down a pint or two.


In many places, these bars are becoming trendy and popular. They often serve their own brand of beer and have a limited food menu. They require a bit of an investment for the brewing equipment and the owner is often an experienced brewmaster.

Sports Bar

This style of bar typically has a number of television sets tuned to one or more sports events. The food served is nearly as important as the beverages offered, and the clientele consists largely of sports lovers. Sports bars often attract big crowds for special events such as the Super Bowl, the World Series, or a college game day.

Specialty Bar

If you wish to create your own unique bar, a specialty bar just might be the thing for you. You could create a bar around the plays of Shakespeare, the breeds of dogs, the models of automobiles, or some other theme. In Florida, a popular specialty bar involves a beach bar on or near the water that serves margaritas, piña coladas, and other fun drinks.

The thing to remember is your bar should have a recognizable style, to attract the person who would like that style. You don’t want to confuse your potential clients with an exterior that suggests a neighborhood bar and an interior that is all sports bar.

Protecting Your Bars Brand

While it may be an exaggeration to say that a bar name can make or break a business, it’s still a good idea—and fun—to come up with something meaningful or memorable or outrageous. With a little creativity, you can pick something unique and relevant. The more people like saying your name, the more likely it will be talked about. Positive or humorous word of mouth is like free advertising.

A good name can suggest a cool vibe, a homey feeling, a sense of danger, or an escape from the boring work-a-day world. So, for some fun, and inspiration, consider something along the line of these already taken names:

●   Hard Times & Misery Saloon – Galveston, TX
●   Brotherhood of Thieves – Nantucket, MA
●   The Billy Goat Tavern – Chicago, IL
●   The Smog Cutter – Los Angeles, CA
●   The Surly Wench Pub – Tucson, AZ
●   Bar of the Gods – Portland, OR
●   The Fainting Goat – Washington, DC

Each great bar name often has an intriguing story behind it. Once you’ve selected a name, it’s a good idea to protect it. A step to consider is to register the trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Since the process is complicated it is a good idea to hire an intellectual property attorney. The final step is to hire a designer to create a special logo and to copyright the design for your business use. If you lack imagination, here is a bar name generator that can pick one for you.

Choosing the Perfect Location for Your Florida Bar

A bar can be as simple as a little hut on the beach, or as elaborate as a giant, multi-story building decked out with chandeliers, mirrors, and heavy wooden tables and chairs. You can take over an existing building and open the doors right away, remodel to your liking, or start from scratch. All of these paths have their pluses and minuses. Also, pay special attention to two critical factors: your location and the size of your building.

Your location in Florida and in your city will determine many things about your bar. Will it be in a heavy traffic area, where potential customers are always milling about? If so, you may need to spend less on advertising, but more on real estate or rent. If you choose a quiet area, you might save on the price of the establishment, but you could have to work harder to attract customers. Both approaches can be successful.

As for the perfect size for your bar, there are a few important considerations. A smaller bar means fewer expenses and probably less hassle, but potentially less revenue. A bigger bar means more of everything—equipment, inventory, help, utilities—so it just depends upon your interests.

What to Know About Obtaining a Liquor License for Your Bar in Florida

Because obtaining the right license for your bar is so critical to your success, you should look for help in this area. You will want to work with an experienced company that is specific to Florida. It will know the ins and outs of getting a Florida alcoholic beverage license, or any other license you may need. They will make sure your establishment is compliant with the statutory requirements for issuance. They will additionally help you navigate through all the complicated layers of government and regulatory agencies.

The benefits of working with a licensed Florida liquor license broker are significant. You will know that all of the paperwork is properly completed. It will additionally save you valuable time, as you will be able to complete the process quickly and correctly the first time. Once you have your Florida alcohol license in hand, you are in a good position to open the doors of your Florida bar.

Contact Beverage License Specialists For Help Opening Your Florida Bar

If you think you’re ready to embark on this new and exciting journey, then contact Beverage License Specialists to get the ball rolling. We can guide you through the process of opening a thriving business in the Sunshine State of Florida. Call us today at Call Us 954-369-5858 or request a quote online.

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If you are seeking to buy, sell or finance a Florida liquor license, contact Beverage License Specialists today