“Drink Because You Are Happy, But Never Because You Are Miserable.” G.K. Chesterton
Liquor Licenses at parks are a hot topic, and one size does not fit all.
The first rule of thumb is to know your guest. If you are a family oriented park where most folks are there to go hiking or do activities off site, there may be very little upside to having a bar on site. You may wish to do carry out at your store, but having a full fledged bar may not be in the cards.
However, if your park caters to families or adults and they spend most of their time around your pool or inside your park, you may do well to think of a pool side bar or serving alcohol along with your standard food fare. This allows the adults to enjoy an adult beverage while spending time with the kids, family, and friends.
If you are a resort campground, you should almost certainly consider this amenity to your amenity mix. A true resort will have this as an option.
We have bars at many if not most of our parks. They can be highly profitable and safe if run properly. First and foremost, this starts with your bartenders.
Make sure you hire mature, responsible bartenders who have been trained in either the TIPS or TAM certification classes. These certifications teach bartenders how to spot fake ID’s, see the warning signs of intoxication, and how to handle those who refused service. No bartender should be behind your bar without TIPS or TAM certification.
Secondly, make sure the setting and hours do not interfere with the overall enjoyment of the park. Try to set it off in a common area or a secluded ares where guests will not have their recreation hindered by the bar. Make sure the bar is shut down before quiet hours begin and guests leaving the bar do not interfere with those who are sitting around their fire or having a late dinner.
Lastly, run a tight ship! We make sure our guests know our bars are a place to have a drink or two in a responsible manner. They are not the local club or the place to get your groove on. They are there for the simple pleasure of having a few drinks with friends. Also, language is an issue. Make sure your bartenders know that cursing or rough language is not to be used since a child or non-bar going family may be right outside and should not have to deal with this kind of talk.
By adhering to these few simple guidelines, a bar inside your park may be the additional revenue stream you need to add to your bottom line.