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Bar Business Loans
Guides and resources for bar business loans

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Bar small businesses

Opening a bar is a dream for many, whether seasoned hospitality veterans or comparative newcomers. Accordingly, bars and pubs have long been seen as an attractive business option. There are trends within the industry that make it a good investment too – broadly, Australians are drinking less than ever before – but they’re also drinking better and spending more. There’s been an increasing shift towards craft beers and artisanal foods; while there’s still plenty of love for a schooner and a parmy, these are points worth considering for anyone who’s looking to enter into this space. 

Coupled with this, the way bars are used by the Australian public is changing. While traditionally seen as a chance for adults to get out on a Friday or Saturday evening for a drink, recent years have seen an increased emphasis on venues that cater to whole families. Additionally, the rise of online dating services and apps has led to an increased number of midweek outings, which has helped boost business for pubs overall. 

Of course, there are challenges to keep in mind before deciding to open, too. Throughout 2020, there’s no questions that many pubs took a hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there’s already been evidence of recovery as cases have started to drop and restrictions have started to ease.

Bars are a space with plenty of room for innovation and creativity, which means that if you’ve got the right talent at hand, you’re in a great position to do well.

Bar Small Businesses in Australia – the Statistics

The market size of the bar industry in Australia is currently valued at $15 billion/year [i]


There are currently more than 8,600 registered businesses in the bar industry in Australia [iv]


More than 64,600 people are currently employed in Australia’s bar industry [ii]



The market sizes for pubs, bars and nightclubs in Australia is projected to be $12.6 billion in 2021 [v]

NSW has the most pubs in the country, with 2000+ establishments. That’s twice as many as in Victoria and Queensland. However, it’s the ACT that has far fewer by comparison – NSW has 65 times more pubs than in the capital territory! [iii]

How can OnDeck Help?

A quick and easy loan process

Our simple application process can be completed in minutes and you'll know within hours if your loan is approved

Flexible loans to suit your needs

With loans from $10,000 - $250,000 over 6-24 month terms, we work with you to understand what best suits your needs

Dedicated Australia-based Loan Specialists

You'll get an Australia-based Loan Specialist to assist you with your application

Find out how much funding you could get for your business

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What life stage is your bar business in?

OnDeck has specialised business guides and tips for every stage of your business.

Have a look below to see if your industry is listed.

Starting Out

Learning the ropes and honing your business owner skills

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Establishing yourself

Making a name for yourself and cementing yourself as a successful business owner

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Re-Invention and Evolution

Evolving as a business to newer and better heights

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OnDeck, the small business loan specialist

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Narine has arranged finance for me for the past few years and I am extremely thankful to her and OnDeck as it has been with ease, professionalism and very prompt.

Put a Cork In It Pty Ltd

Bar Loan Frequently Asked Questions

Start by coming up with a business plan, which includes identifying how much capital you need. Once you’ve figured out the resources you need, the next step is probably to apply for a loan.

A bar loan helps to cover the costs associated with running a business such as: start-up costs (e.g. licenses and permits), hiring staff, investing in equipment, implementing marketing strategies, and taking advantage of a good business opportunity. It can also give you peace-of-mind that funds are available should anything unexpected happen.

You can apply for business loans through traditional means such as a bank, or the increasingly popular way of going through lending institutions such as OnDeck. You must meet the prerequisite requirements to get approved; you can find ours here.

First off, know who you’re trying to attract. Determine your ideal customer and then be where they are because marketing plays a key role in finding and attracting new customers. Have a strong social media presence, post reviews and testimonials online, and regularly re-evaluate your marketing strategies to make sure they’re resonating with your audience.

There are a few ways to grow your business such as improving cash flow and customer loyalty. Most improvements need additional resources such as investing in better equipment, hiring experience staff, and increasing marketing efforts.

Focus on the big picture such as establishing a loyal customer base, targeting your ideal market segment, and creating partnerships. We wrote this article about growth strategies that you might be interested in.

The simple answer is to serve more people. But it’s important to also master the basics such as building a good pricing strategy and marketing to your ideal customer.

All businesses need to determine their unique selling proposition (USP) – what makes them different – to be intriguing and attractive to new customers. For a bar, your USP could be having an incredible selection of whisky or gin, specialising in craft beers, or having a unique theme with signature cocktails.

There are internal and external factors to this. Internal factors include having efficient POS systems and inventories, hiring the right staff and investing in the right equipment. External factors include providing a good customer experience, having clean facilities, and establishing your niche.

Depending on location, lease, staff size and equipment needed, opening a bar starts around $75,000 but oftentimes costs much more.

Start by coming up with a business plan, which includes identifying how much capital you need. Once you’ve figured out the resources needed, it’s time to sort out the funding to make it possible. Most business owners decide to take out a loan to help with the costs.

The specific licenses needed will vary based on your state and local government – you can visit their website to get a full list. It’s safe to say you’ll need to have a liquor license, business permit, and follow food safety regulations if you also serve food.

By building a loyal customer base, staying competitive in your offerings and prices, and focusing on providing the best customer experience (which includes smooth POS systems, top of the line equipment, experienced staff, etc.).

A good bar provides great service and atmosphere for its customers. It runs smoothly both behind the counter and on the floor. It finds a way to differentiate itself from competitors.

Each state and local council has different licenses and fees, so check their website to understand what’s required to open a bar in your location. In Sydney, a small bar license has a base fee around $215 but increases based on past compliance history.

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