Is a Whiskey or Wine Tasting Barbershop Bar Right for You?

A barber cuts his clients hair while he sips on a drink at his barberbar.

Buzzed in a barbershop? Yep–we said what we said. Believe it or not, it's an ongoing trend to add whiskey bars, wine bars, and beer taps directly into barbershops as of late. 

Boozy barbershops 

So, what's the schtick? Are they barbershops that service a little booze? Are these establishments bars that just so happen to offer barbering cuts? For many, the split is 50/50. Customers who wander in are there for one or the other–and usually, they end up leaving with both. 

There's no denying this trend is fun, exciting, and a totally unique take on a barbershop. It might even be a great marketing opportunity for lots of shops out there. But is it a worthwhile venture for you? That's exactly what this blog is here to diagnose. 

Should You Add a Whiskey or Wine Bar to Your Barbershop? What to Consider 

We won't bury the lede–we can't decide for you whether or not adding a little booze to your barbershop is right up your alley. In fact, only you can decide that. So, what's this blog about? We're laying out all the considerations that should weigh heavily on your mind before you dive into this iteration of your barbershop biz. 

This next section is all about the questions to ask and considerations to evaluate while you toy with the idea of turning your barbershop into a barberbar. 

Getting Your Hands on a Liquor License 

As much as we wish we could, it's not legal for you to just start serving liquor at your barbershop. That's something that requires a specific license to do, and it comes from your local government. First and foremost, you'll need to figure out how–and even if – you can get your hands on a liquor license. This process is going to be different in every county, city, and state, so do yourself a favor and do the research yourself instead of relying on an experience another barber had. Can your business establishment even acquire a liquor license? If so, how much does it cost? How long will it take to get approved for a license? Asking all the relevant questions is the most important piece of the puzzle. 

Business Paperwork & Necessary Changes 

Presently, your business license likely lists you as a barbershop. That's all well and good, right, because that's what you actually are. But what needs to change if you're going to add a little bar twist to your business? Do you need to reclassify and file new business paperwork? Do you need to check in with your county and city to make sure you're able to serve alcohol on your premises? Double-check everything with your local government and take a peek at city ordinances before you pursue this idea to make sure you're in the clear to do so. 

Balancing Barbering with Bartending

Think about who's going to manage the bartending and who's going to manage the barbering. Are you planning to tackle both tasks at once? Do you need to hire a second barber or a second bartender to keep things running smoothly? You've got to run through all the possibilities to decide how (and if) this is a worthwhile way to operate. 

Bar Menus & Service Menu 

Consider how your service menu will play with your bar menu. Should they be cohesive and complementary–almost as if you're offering a tasting menu-style option with every barbering service? Or will the two menus be totally independent of each other, simply based on what skills you offer and what alcohol you prefer to serve? 

Barbering Liability Insurance Options 

Adding alcohol into the mix isn't necessarily a bad thing–but it can complicate stuff for sure. This is especially true when you start talking about your barbering liability insurance. Does your current policy have safeguards in place for adding alcohol to your shop? Is there additional insurance coverage you need to tack on before you become a barbershop bar? 

The best way to evaluate what you need is to level with your insurance company from the start. Explain your idea to them, talk openly about the possibility, and try to figure out how to get coverage before you pursue that idea. 

Limiting Alcohol & How to Do It 

Obviously, your barbershop isn't going to be just a bar–so it's likely you won't have to deal with excess alcohol consumption. Still, you need to have rules in place to keep things tame. 

Consider how you'll limit alcohol in your space, what rules you need to establish ahead of time, and how you'd like to tackle any issues before they arise. Having a firm handle on how things should go before problems ever happen can save you a lot of trouble in the long term. 

So, barbering pro, what do you think? Is a barberbar the right business move for you, or do you plan to stick to what you know best (you know, strictly barbering?). No matter your move, we support you! And at the end of the day, it's all about what's going to be most rewarding and profitable for you and your business. 

Want to stay up-to-date on trends like the barberbar? You're in the right place. Subscribe to NAOB for regular emails about the latest resources we're sharing, deals and discounts, and even the best spot for barbering liability insurance (Psst., it's us!) 

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