Bar Service: Dedicated Specialists or a Catering Add-on?

When it comes to hosting an unforgettable event, the bar is often the heart of the party. Whether you’re throwing a wedding, corporate gathering, or a casual backyard celebration, having a well-organized and professional bar service is essential. While many Caterers offer an add-on package for bartending services, there are compelling reasons why you should consider hiring a company specializing in mobile bartending services instead.

There are many great catering providers out there, and many we love working with regularly. However, their specialty will 100% always be food and that is where the bulk of their business and income lie – so understandably, that is where the vast majority of their focus will be, and in-turn your bar service may be an unintentional afterthought. In addition, the Bartender on-duty is often someone that doubles as a Cook or Server that watched a video to get licensed, and learned a few bar skills to get by. Rarely by a full-time Bartender with experience in bars and restaurants, surrounded by a team of Bartenders, and went through proper training on bar service for not only quality service, or quick service, but also safest service.

And at the end of the day, on top of everything listed below, it doesn’t end up being any more convenient or cheaper* to hire an add-on service, instead of hiring a specialized and dedicated professional. 

*factoring in all of the cost-savings, supplies provided, planning tools, tips, and time saved

Cocktail by KBS | Photo by Miranda Quade Photography

Just like the food – which is a key aspect of a great event – so is the bar. A catering team may have a baker on-staff, that has made a cake before or even a few over the years, but you’re most-likely going to find someone who specializes in wedding cakes, right? Someone who will put the cake on the top of their priority list, or help find the best option for your vision and budget, and not just a secondary service or afterthought.

It’s the same with the bar. No matter if you want a high-level bar experience or just a low-fuss bar with a few supplies, a professional bar service, with properly-trained and experienced Bartenders, will provide a first-priority service that you will rarely get with a company that considers it just an “add-on package” – and find you ways to cut cost, elevate service, offer menu ideas, and countless other tips for a successful event.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the top six reasons why you should choose dedicated mobile bartenders for your next event.

1. Expertise and Focus

As we noted, mobile bartending services specialize exclusively in the bar and bartending; mixing drinks and creating a unique, personalized bar experience. Their Bartenders are experts in their field, trained to craft a wide variety of cocktails and beverages, ensuring a level of skill and precision that a typical Caterer’s staff might not possess. Mobile Bartenders are dedicated solely to the bar, allowing them to focus their attention on delivering the best drinks and service, unlike a Caterer’s staff who might be juggling multiple responsibilities leading up to the event, or even on the day-of.

2. Customization and Creativity

couple enjoying their beverage during dinner at their wedding
Photo by Janet Lin Photography

One of the primary benefits of hiring a mobile bartending service is the opportunity for customization. Focusing on the bar, they are able to showcase their creative flair and willingness to design signature cocktails tailored to your event’s theme, your personal preferences, or creating versatile cocktails that can be tweaked  to fit guest preferences or dietary restrictions without needless supplies that will be passed on to you. This level of personalization can take your event to the next level and leave a lasting impression on your guests. On the other hand, caterers typically can not offer that level of in-depth service.


3. Efficiency and Speed

raising a glass with a variety of cocktails at a wedding
Photo by Miranda Quade Photography

Specialized mobile Bartenders are efficient, properly-trained, and experienced in handling large crowds and delivering quality drinks promptly. They are skilled at managing queues and ensuring that guests spend minimal time waiting for their beverages. This efficiency can significantly enhance the overall guest experience, especially during peak hours at your event. In contrast, catering staff may not be as experienced or equipped to handle high-demand periods at the bar, leading to longer wait times.

4. Safe and Preventative Service

Photo by Picture Marvelous Photography

Yes, any reputable business serving alcohol know the laws on safe service, and what permits are needed for particular services and venues, however, not everyone focuses on safe and “preventative” service if they don’t have the proper training and experience. Someone who specializes in alcohol services, can recognize the warning signs of over-service and can more-likely help prevent over-intoxicated guests. While you still want to make sure guests are enjoying themselves while drinking some tasty beverages, preventative service is always important, but especially so when it comes to a wedding or corporate event. We’ve all seen the movies where there’s that one sloppy guest, and we laugh because they embarrassed themselves or stumbled into the buffet and spilled all the food – that’s funny, until it’s your dinner and your venue deposit you lost. Finding a balance between letting loose and barfing on Grandma is no easy task, and also to help maintain that spirit of celebration with responsible service for up to 6-hours is something that is much more likely with someone who is a trained and experienced Bartender.

5. Knowledge of Flavors of Alcohol & Mixers

Photo by Meghann Prouse Photography

Let’s get back to the fun part; enjoying the alcohol.

Let’s face it, not everyone is knowledgeable in every aspect of the different options, whether that is because they don’t drink often, or because they typically only stick with what they personally like. During the planning stages, a bar service can make recommendations on what offerings that will fit a large variety of flavor preferences without needing to provide every single option that will be much costlier, more time-consuming, and create lots of waste. Aunt Betty may typically only drink Merlot, but there isn’t one on the menu. A Bartender can find something that she will enjoy and make recommendations based on the suggestions that they made during the planning stages. Same goes for cocktails, beer, and even creating a mocktail for non-consuming guests.

6. Resources and Supplies

strawberry basil lemonade cocktail
Cocktail by Kitsap Bartending Services | Photo by Miranda Quade Photography

Our Client Portal is a wonderful resource that we’ve compiled from 9-years working in the wedding and event bar industry, and 16-years in the bar industry, that is a easy-to-read guide for planning a bar, cost-cutting tips, cocktail recipes, discount codes, budget-friendly alternatives to particular spirits or wines, a huge time-saver, and includes a custom-built Alcohol Calculator. If your bar service doesn’t have something like this, they at least will hopefully have the knowledge included. I will say, I do feel our guide is leagues above that of many others, but the reality is, an experienced bar service can at least help you more than someone who isn’t focused primarily on bar service or bar planning (almost always – see our blog post about finding the right bar service).


Photo by Moore Holistic Photography

In conclusion, when it comes to ensuring a memorable and enjoyable bar experience at your next event, hiring a specialized mobile bartending service is a compelling choice. Their expertise, focus, creativity, and commitment to delivering a full bar experience set them apart from caterer add-ons. They can enhance the overall event by providing efficient service, professional appearance, and a deep understanding of alcohol laws and regulations.

So, before you opt for the convenience of adding bartending services to your Caterer’s package, consider the advantages of choosing a mobile bartending service. Your guests will appreciate the unique and personalized bar experience, and your event will undoubtedly stand out as a memorable occasion for all the right reasons.

To inquire about services and pricing, please visit our Pricing & Services Page, reach out via our Contact Page for a personalized quote for services and to check availability. It’s quick and easy, and only requires answering a few questions.

choosing the right bartender for your wedding: tips and tricks







mobile bar, the bustender built from a 1973 vw bus
The Bustender | Photo by: Cindy Nguyen Photography

One thought on “Bar Service: Dedicated Specialists or a Catering Add-on?

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: