Biker bars have a mystique about them. The regular patrons seem to be a breed apart from society. They thrive on freedom and they are often very outspoken.
Owning a biker bar has a certain appeal, but like any other financial decision, many aspects of opening the 'watering hole' need to be taken into account. If you've never run a business before, for example, it's a good idea to enroll in some online business management courses.
A business plan is necessary for any type of business endeavor. Include start-up costs such as licensing, rent, insurance and advertising. You will also need to do a cost estimate of ongoing monthly costs such as staff and alcohol. A business plan can be simple, but the act of developing the details will aide in cost estimates and will be required for any bank funding. Research the U.S. Small Business Administration for free help in writing a business plan.
As with any other bar, all legal aspects must be adhered to. You must have the proper alcohol license and meet local ordinances for the location. Also, servers typically need to be licensed to serve alcohol. Check with your state's alcohol and beverage commission for details. Start this process early, as licensing can take time and you cannot open your doors until it is in place.
Biker bars are noisy enterprises. The location of the bar is a special consideration. Businesses and residences nearby could protest and cause ongoing conflict. The prime location for the bar is just off the beaten path, yet still accessible. Don't forget the details of the location like parking. Bikers prefer to have a designated parking area away from cars and trucks, and asphalt or concrete is ideal if the budget allows.
The customers who enjoy a biker bar enjoy good music, cold beer and good looking servers. Decorating the bar can be rustic. No fancy tablecloths or fine glassware needed. A pool table, darts and maybe a karaoke machine for the biker chicks are the staples of a biker bar.
Special events like live bands or bike shows draw crowds. Schedule frequent events and promote them to keep customers coming back.
Bikers have the reputation of being bad boys who are drinking excessively and getting into bar fights. Although drug use is no more prevalent than in other clubs, the perception of drug use by police must be considered. Local law enforcement will scrutinize the bar, perhaps more than other establishments. Ensure that you have the right person for security measures. An off duty police officer to act as security will help ease local police officer's suspicion and will help keep the rowdy patrons in line.
When deciding to open a biker bar, if you prepare properly by getting all of your ducks in a row and by taking some online business administration courses ahead of time, and if you understand the customers you will be serving, the bar can become a place where many great memories are made and where a good living can be had.