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How Much Does It Cost to Rent a Bar? [2024 Lease Costs]

Ted NapierkowskiAuthor

How Much Does It Cost to Rent a Bar

For aspiring bar owners, the decision between renting and buying a bar space is crucial. Purchasing offers ownership and control but entails significant upfront costs and ongoing maintenance expenses. Renting provides a more accessible entry point, allowing newcomers to test the waters without committing to a long-term investment. However, this decision requires careful evaluation of budget, operational needs, and growth projections. In this guide, we'll explore both options, equipping aspiring bar proprietors with the insights they need to make informed decisions and embark on their entrepreneurial journey with confidence.

How to Decide Whether to Buy or Rent a Bar

When considering whether to buy or rent a bar space, it's essential to assess your specific business needs, financial situation, and long-term goals. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Budget: Determine how much capital you have available to invest in your bar venture. Buying a bar typically requires a significant upfront investment, including the cost of the property itself, renovations, permits, and equipment. Renting, on the other hand, may involve lower initial costs, as you only need to cover the rental fees and any additional operational expenses.

  • Flexibility: Consider your need for flexibility in terms of location, interior design, and business operations. Renting a bar space allows you to experiment with different neighborhoods and concepts without being tied down to a single property. On the other hand, owning a bar gives you complete control over customization and branding, allowing you to tailor the experience to your vision.

  • Operational Costs: Evaluate the ongoing operational costs associated with owning or renting a bar. Ownership entails expenses such as maintenance, utilities, insurance, and staff salaries, which can add up over time. Renting may offer a more predictable cost structure, as you're typically responsible for the rental fees and any necessary permits.

  • Growth Potential: Consider your long-term growth potential and scalability. Buying a bar may be a better option if you anticipate high demand and want to expand your business over time. However, renting can be a more practical choice for testing the market and validating your concept before committing to a larger investment.

Now, let's break down the pros and cons of buying versus renting a bar space in the table below:


Buying a Bar Space

Renting a Bar Space

Upfront Costs

Higher initial investment including property purchase, renovations, permits, and equipment.

Lower initial investment, primarily rental fees.


Complete control over customization, branding, and operations.

Limited control over customization and branding.


Less flexibility in terms of location and property features.

Greater flexibility to test different locations and setups.

Operational Costs

Ongoing expenses include maintenance, utilities, insurance, and staff salaries.

Rental fees and any necessary permits.

Growth Potential

Higher potential for long-term growth and equity accumulation.

Practical for testing the market and validating concepts.

How Much Does It Cost to Rent or Lease a Bar?

Renting a bar space typically costs between $3,000 to $10,000 per month, depending on factors like location, size, and amenities. This fee often includes access to the bar area, kitchen facilities (if available), and storage space. Additionally, a security deposit of one to three months' rent may be required upfront. Other expenses to consider include insurance, licensing, maintenance, repairs, and necessary equipment. By budgeting carefully, aspiring bar owners can ensure the success of their establishment.

Breakdown of Monthly Costs for Renting a Bar

When considering the cost to rent a bar space, it's essential to break down the various expenses involved to accurately assess your budget. Below are the key components to consider:

  • Base Monthly Rent: The base monthly rent for a bar space can vary significantly depending on factors such as location, size, and included amenities. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 per month for a standard bar rental. This cost may include access to the bar area, kitchen facilities, and storage space.

  • Security Deposit: Most bar rental agreements require a security deposit upfront to cover any damages or unpaid fees. The security deposit typically ranges from one to three months' worth of rent.

  • Utilities: Depending on your rental agreement, utilities such as electricity, water, and gas may be included in the base rent, or you may be responsible for paying these separately. Be sure to clarify which utilities are covered and factor any additional costs into your budget.

  • Insurance: Insurance is a critical expense for bar owners to protect against liability and property damage. The cost of insurance can vary based on factors such as the value of the property, coverage limits, and your location. On average, you can expect to pay between $1,000 to $5,000 per year for bar insurance.

  • Licensing and Permits: Licensing and permits are necessary for operating a bar legally. Costs can vary depending on your location and the type of permits required. This may include alcohol licenses, health permits, business licenses, and entertainment permits. Budget several hundred to several thousand dollars annually for licensing and permit fees.

  • Maintenance and Repairs: While the rental agreement may cover routine maintenance, you should budget for unexpected repairs and upkeep of equipment. This can include expenses for plumbing repairs, HVAC maintenance, appliance servicing, and general wear and tear. Plan to set aside a portion of your budget each month for maintenance and repairs.

  • Equipment: Depending on your rental agreement, some equipment may be included with the bar rental, such as bar stools, tables, and glassware. However, you may need to provide additional equipment or customize the space to meet your specific needs. Budget for any necessary equipment purchases or rentals, such as draft systems, refrigeration units, and POS systems.

By carefully considering these factors and budgeting accordingly, you can accurately assess the cost of renting a bar space and ensure that your establishment operates smoothly and efficiently.

How Can You Reduce and Optimize the Rent Costs of Your Bar?

Running a bar comes with various expenses, but there are strategies to minimize rent costs and optimize your budget. Here are three recommendations:

  • Negotiate Long-Term Rental Agreements: Consider negotiating a long-term rental agreement with your landlord. Landlords may offer discounted rates for extended lease terms, providing you with cost savings over time. Locking in a longer rental period can also provide stability and peace of mind for your business operations.

  • Share Space or Partner with Other Businesses: Explore opportunities to share space or partner with other businesses, such as restaurants or event venues. By splitting rental costs with other establishments, you can significantly reduce your expenses while still accessing prime locations and amenities. Collaborating with complementary businesses can also enhance the overall customer experience and attract a larger audience.

  • Opt for Off-Peak Hours and Events: Choose off-peak hours and events for operating your bar to take advantage of lower rental rates. Some landlords offer discounted rates for non-peak hours or less popular times, allowing you to maximize your budget without compromising on foot traffic. Additionally, hosting special events or promotions during slower periods can help you attract customers and increase profitability.

By implementing these strategies, you can effectively reduce and optimize the rent costs of your bar, enabling you to allocate resources more efficiently and enhance your overall profitability.


Bar Business Plan Template

Use this free bar business plan template to easily create a great business plan that organizes your vision and helps you start, grow, or raise funding for your bar.


How to find a bar to rent near me?

Finding a bar to rent near you can be an exciting step towards realizing your entrepreneurial dreams. Here are three recommendations for locating a bar rental in your area:

  • Online Commercial Real Estate Platforms: Explore online commercial real estate platforms to find bar spaces available for rent near you. Websites like LoopNetCommercial Cafe, and CREXi feature listings for bar properties, allowing you to browse available spaces, compare prices, and contact landlords directly.

  • Local Real Estate Agents: Connect with local real estate agents who specialize in commercial properties, as they may have access to exclusive listings and insights into the local market. Real estate agents can help you navigate the rental process and negotiate favorable lease terms on your behalf.

  • Networking: Network with fellow entrepreneurs, industry professionals, and community members to uncover hidden rental opportunities and gain valuable referrals. Attend local business events, industry conferences, and networking meetups to expand your connections and stay informed about available rental properties


Rent is a significant factor in the overall cost structure of running a bar. It represents a recurring expense that can have a considerable impact on your profitability and long-term sustainability. By carefully managing your rental costs and implementing strategies to optimize your budget, you can effectively control expenses and maximize your earning potential.

To grow your business and offset the expenses associated with renting a bar space, consider diversifying your revenue streams and exploring opportunities for expansion. This may include hosting private events, partnering with local breweries or distilleries for tap takeovers or tasting events, or offering catering services for weddings and corporate functions. Additionally, investing in marketing efforts to build brand awareness and customer loyalty can help attract repeat business and increase sales. By continuously innovating and adapting to market trends, you can position your bar for success and achieve profitability despite the challenges of renting.


Opening a Bar Checklist

So many things go into opening a bar. With this free PDF checklist, you'll set your new business up for success.


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