Bar Entertainment

Bar Entertainment is a necessity for some bars and all night clubs. For others, they don’t want it, or are too small of a place to have DJ and bands. This page is for those of you who wish to go the entertainment route.

Bar entertainment, especially in a night club setting can be extremely profitable. But by packing the house, it doesn’t necessarily mean profit. In a bar setting, room is always an issue but more then that the cost may be prohibitive depending on your area.

Let’s start with the bar setting.

If you have a bar that is on the larger side, let’s say over 2500 square feet, you could add entertainment like a DJ and bands.

BUT,there are many considerations you need to think about. One of the things is do you really have the room? Loaded question isn’t it. You see, you may feel that you have a large place, and you may, but do you have the room?

You may have your place full of tables and chairs. You may have interior walls that my prevent the customers seeing the entertainment. You may have games, emergency exits, waitress areas, and many more things that just won’t work for you to have bar entertainment.

If you have the room, the first thing you have to consider is the cost. Can you pay for bar entertainment and still make a profit? Depending on your area and the going rate for entertainment, it may or may not work out for you. Get a piece of paper and pen and figure it out. But it doesn’t stop there.

Hiring bar entertainment comes with costs that many don’t consider. Are you going to lose the customer base you currently have if you put in entertainment?

Then there is the cost of advertising your bar entertainment. If you are moving things around, you may have additional labor setting and cleaning up. You will have to put on additional staff to insure you provide good service on top of the current staff you would normally schedule. And let’s not forget the electrical power you may need. If your electrical circuits are pretty maxed out, even a DJ will blow breakers with their equipment.

Bands are a whole other story. You WILL need power. The amps and lighting will require at least three dedicated twenty amp circuits. Cha Ching.

We haven’t even touched on the artists in them. Bar entertainment such as DJ and bands tend to run late. Not all of them, but many. They will come in late, set up late, and of course start late. That’s bar entertainment for you.

In addition, you will explain to them you don’t want it so loud that you can’t hear people place an order, but the will end up doing what they want. Believe me. Also, you have the possibility of a no show.

Don’t pay your bar entertainment in advance, and have them sign a contract with all your stipulations in it. Therefore, if they don’t do what you want, they don’t get paid. That usually fixes most problems when hiring bar entertainment.

Also, a big pain in bar/night club management is your DJ. And if any DJ’s are reading this, you have to agree that DJ’s are different people in general. I always group them in what I call an artistic category. No, not all, but a large percentage.

Artists are different people. Did you ever notice? Everything in life is all about their art. Although they will pretend to listen to you and what your desires are for the music you want for your night club, they will inevitably do what they want to do. They can’t help themselves.

The DJ’s immediate concern is to be noticed by everyone. And they love to hear how great they are, all the time. And, if you want certain music played, and they have some requests for music they are not allowed to play, they will, sooner or later, play it!

If you notice it’s late, and you have a rowdy crowd on this night, and you go up to your DJ and ask him to cool everyone down a little because of potential problems, they will at first. As soon as you walk away, they will right back to what they were doing. Sorry DJ’s. It’s the truth.

And just about the time you get into an argument, they will threaten to quit. Yes, this is going to happen! The Dj’s only concern is to feel “greater then thou”. When the dance floor is packed, it’s their high.

The DJ believes the success of a night club is because of them. It’s not. Next week I’ll get another DJ playing the same music. So, it’s not the DJ.

The reason this topic is so important is to teach you a couple things. First, never open a night club without your own sound system. Own your own. If a DJ walks out, fine. He’s not taking the equipment with him. You pay him to bring in the music and play. Period.

Also, you need to keep an ongoing supply of your own collection of music. You don’t have to have everything. But in case you DJ walks out on you or doesn’t show up. You have the sound system, and the music.

Now comes to your back up. You should always have a DJ back up. Just in case. Your patrons just want to dance. Someone has to play the music.

I suggest an emergency back up reel to reel. A good one. It will run for four or five hours. Tape a Friday or Saturday night once every two weeks. If you end up with no DJ, you just hit play, and you won’t lose an entire night. It will play all the music they generally hear and will be just as happy.

Depending on the area in which you live, you may not have the access to experienced DJ’s. And, if you do, their price may or may not, be worth it. You will need to figure that one out yourself.

But don’t fret. There are many up and coming DJ’s. Some a little on the young side, but we all have to start somewhere. Right? If you don’t have the knowledge and experience to guide a newcomer along, send them over to Guy at

He will help even a newbie get their bearings. With a little support from Guy, your new DJ will feel more comfortable and will help out your club too.

And let’s not forget the cover charge! Yes, the cover charge. You can’t hire entertainment and expect to pay them from the receipts on food and beverage. That’s your profit. You need a cover charge.

The problem with a cover charge is hiring someone to collect the cash at the door. I know, I know, your best friend is going to do it. Or your cousin will do it, I trust him. Wrong

Money has a strage affect on people. Especially cash. I just read an article on Yahoo today about how people react to cash in front of them. Unbelievable.

Whoever is collecting the cash, is going to try and steal a little as people always feel that they deserve more. Plus, they are going to let people in for free. Yes, even family members. I have seen it all.

Use a turnstyle. They are expensive. Usually around $1500 new. But it counts everyone that goes through the door. So, it eliminates anyone from having the ability to steal. Depending on how large your club is, that turnstyle will pay for itself within a couple of months.

Remember, it’s your money.

One last thing on this subject. When you hire a DJ, you should get an attorney to write you up a contract for him. Put a clause in there that if he would not show up, or quit in the middle of a night, he is liable for all losses incurred. He’ll think twice, believe me.

That’s just a quick overview on the subject of bar entertainment.

Make sure you check out royalties you will have to pay too, when hiring bar entertainment.

Don’t forget to click on my survey page while you’re here. No personal information is requested. I just a few simple questions so I can continue to improve and provide you what you want to see.

Filed Under: Bar BusinessBar Management

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