Nightlife in the United States includes nightclubs, bars and restaurants. Over the past five years, however, the craft beer scene, the increased popularity of after-work happy hour and the general desire to avoid the blaring music of clubs has increased the popularity of bars.
This popularity is a great sign for those who are thinking of opening a bar in the U.S. While the demand for bars is increasing, that doesn't mean bar owners shouldn't be smart about the business plan behind opening a drinking establishment. Often, the most important aspect of opening a bar is its location.
1. New Orleans, Louisiana
Contrary to popular belief, New Orleans did not invent the cocktail. However, that little piece of revisionist history shouldn't deter potential bar owners from starting a bar here. The city is credited with inventing the grasshopper, the Sazerac, the Ramos gin fizz and other booze-filled drinks.
Residents of New Orleans are proud of that history and are always on the lookout for good cocktails, but the city isn't filled with hip bars and nightclubs, making it a great place to start a bar.
Additionally, the city is increasing its knowledge and distribution of craft beer. Essentially, this city is one where any bar that can serve a good cocktail and pour a good beer will have demand from the locals, not to mention from the throngs of tourists who visit every year.
2. San Francisco, California
What makes San Francisco a great place to open a bar is the city's small size, making it walkable. It's common for residents of San Francisco to walk from the financial district all the way to the marina district, stopping at bars all along the way.
San Francisco is known for its craft cocktails, local craft breweries and local wines. The city is rich with drinking history. Demand is likely to be high for a bar that caters to local brewers, distillers and wineries.
3. New York, New York
New York is one of the only cities in the U.S. that keeps its bars open until 4 a.m. Unlike San Francisco, where the bars only stay open until 2 a.m., New York provides potential bar owners with longer hours to make sales and revenue.
Each of the five boroughs has been cultivating and growing breweries rapidly, providing good opportunities to carry local beers and fill the growing demand for locally crafted beer.
What makes New York a great place to open a bar, however, is the dense population coupled with the ability to either walk or take a taxi anywhere in the city. This makes any new bar easily accessible in areas with high foot traffic.
4. Portland, Oregon
Portland is an up-and-coming city in almost every way imaginable. One of those areas in which Portland is excelling is with craft beer. With over 70 breweries within the city limits, Portland provides a potential bar owner with a great chance to carry local beer and entice locals to stop by.
The city's laid-back culture, delicious food trucks and vintage arcades pair well with adult beverages. The demand for craft beer and craft cocktails is high in Portland, giving new bars an easy entry point.
5. Chicago, Illinois
Chicago is known by locals as a city with a high number of craft breweries and local taverns on every corner. Don't let this deter you from opening a bar here, however. Chicago is known for its quantity of drinks as well as the quality of its drinks.
Chicago natives are friendly people who are always looking for the next neighborhood bar. There is high demand for any new establishment that enters a neighborhood and sells high-quality adult beverages.