There are 3 things every good private party needs: Great music, lively guests, and a stocked bar. But a stocked bar isn’t much use unless there’s a person behind it who knows how to prepare everyone’s favorite drinks and cocktails to keep the party going (while also making sure no one is over-served).

And while you could be the individual running around ensuring everyone’s glasses are full, why would you want to when you can hire private party bartenders who will save you money, time, and make sure you actually have fun at your own party.

Our professional bartending staff here at SoHo offered the following tips to keep in mind while planning your next wedding or private party. From signature cocktails to champagne toasts, these are the details to keep in mind for a great event. Cheers!

Set a Firm Date, Time, And Place

This sounds obvious. But if you don’t know where or when you’ll be needing the bartending staff, it’s going to be hard for us to know whether we’re available for you. SoHo, like most service and event companies, provides services within specific areas, so where and when are the first things we’ll ask when you call.

Ask if Your Bartender is Licensed or Certified

This usually doesn’t matter if you’re throwing the party in a private space. However, many venues won’t allow bartenders who aren’t licensed or certified to serve drinks. Be sure to ask your venue what their requirements are in this area. And if considering SoHo bartenders, be aware that we go through ServSafe’s responsible alcohol service program and can provide proof of certification upon request.

How Much Experience Do You Need Your Bartender to Have

Are you planning on basic cocktails or a more elaborate menu? Will there be specialty drinks and/or craft cocktails? Are you expecting a big drinking crowd and need a bartender who can take multiple requests at a time and is also both fast and accurate? At SoHo, we ask all of these questions when you call us so that we can provide you with the best bartender(s) to fit your specific needs.

Decide If You’ll Have a Signature Cocktail

In most cases, bartenders like to know ahead of time if there will be any specialty or signature drinks for the wedding or special event. Most bartenders, ours included, are also happy to help you come up with ideas for specialty or signature cocktails that would fit your specific theme if you have one. We can also give you some general ideas of popular cocktail recipes based on your particular tastes and those of your guests.

Finalize the Shopping List

Based on your budget, the number of guests expected, and your choice of any specialty of signature drinks, it’s time to shop for the ingredients. If you’re not sure what you need and how much, our personal event specialist, sometimes with the help of your assigned bartender, can help you put together a detailed list. This can save you both time and money, as you’ll be less likely to purchase more than you need and find yourself stuck with the surplus.

Figure out How Many Bartenders You’ll Need

A perfect ratio is one bartender for every 50 to 75 guests. Depending on a few things, including how complex your drink menu is and how close the bar is to a sink (if there are glasses to be washed) and either the ice machine or extra ice, you may also want to consider a second person to serve as a bar-back.

Discuss the Dress Code

Usually, bartenders, ours included, wear all-black unless the customer asks for something specific to fit a particular theme. The default is either a black, long-sleeved and button-down shirt with black slacks or a black, short-sleeved polo shirt with either black or khaki pants. However, if you want a particular costume or color to fit a particular theme, run it by us! We’ll do our very best to accommodate.

Make a Plan for Underage Guests

As noted above, our bartenders are trained and certified in responsible alcohol service and will stick to the standards of that certification. If there will be younger guests at your party, we can check IDs and act accordingly. Please be aware that it is unlawful for us to serve alcohol to anyone under the age of 21 in the state of Florida, regardless of where the party takes place, private residence or otherwise.

However, we have no problem providing non-alcoholic alternatives to children and young (underage) adults at the party, as well as to any adults who would like a beverage but don’t want the alcohol. We want everyone to enjoy your party but also drink responsibility and get home safe at the end of the day or night.

Decide on the Details Ahead of Time

We always ask for a point of contact for the bartenders and/or servers we provide for your wedding or special event. While our personal event coordinator will work with you to finalize the details for the bar service ahead of time, it’s always good to know who to ask if questions come up during the event.
In addition, it’s a good idea to decide ahead of time how you want to handle tips. Would you prefer to tip the staff yourself or would it be better for the bartender to have a tip jar, for example? Whatever you decide, your bartending staff will be briefed ahead of time and will follow your wishes upon arrival.

Have a Great Event!

If all else is covered, there’s only one thing left to do; sit back and enjoy your event that you worked so hard to put together. As we say at SoHo, Enjoy your Guests, We’ll do the Rest! Give us a call if you’re ready to hire staff for your next event.

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