The Ultimate Daily and Weekly Bar Maintenance Checklist
Keep your bar clean and ready for business with our daily and weekly checklist.
Is Your Bar “Neat” or “On the Rocks”?
The bar industry has grown by just over two percent over the past five years, reaching an annual revenue of $36.4 billion in 2023. With more consumers shelling out on nightlife, and so many new spots popping up, keeping a clean, well-organized bar is essential for attracting repeat business.
Although the bar may seem like a small space, it takes a lot of maintenance to keep it clean and presentable. We spoke to Zachary Kuhn, General Manager at Market Garden Brewery in Cleveland, OH, to create a top-to-bottom bar cleaning checklist to keep your patrons satisfied.
A Complete Bar Cleaning Checklist to Train Your Staff
Daily Opening Bartender Checklist
Starting the day with a dirty bar or missing ingredients can send an opening bartender into a whirlwind. From cutting lemons and limes to grabbing your speed opener, you don’t want to be left scrambling when guests arrive. After you clock in, check these tasks off your bar cleaning checklist to gear up for a smooth shift.
□ Melt any remaining ice from the night before with hot water.
□ Wipe out sinks, bins and wells.
□ Restock ice bins with fresh ice for the day.
□ Check keg levels and tell the staff if you’ll need a backup ready.
□ Fill fridges behind the bar with bottled and canned beer.
□ Make notes of liquor, wine, beer and mixers that are running low.
□ Check dates on fresh-squeezed juices, discard if past two days.
□ Cut lemons, limes and other fresh fruit for garnishes and drinks.
□ Stock any other required garnishes like herbs, cherries and olives.
□ Set up bar mats, speed trays, picks, stirrers and other bar tools.
□ Polish silverware and roll in napkins if your bar serves food.
□ Inspect beer taps for build-up and clean with warm water.
□ Clear beer lines by pouring a few ounces of beer from the taps.
□ Examine clean glasses for lipstick marks or cloudiness.
□ Check dates on open wine bottles. Toss after five to seven days.
□ Fill caddies with napkins, straws and condiments, if needed.
□ Stock up on clean towels, beer openers, wine keys and pens.
□ Count the cash in your register and stock with extra change.
"First impressions are huge for us. When a person sits down, you don’t want to look at the back bar and see it cluttered with paper, messy bottles and disorganization."
Bar Cleaning to Do Throughout Your Shift
All it takes is one bad impression to lose a guest who could become a regular. It’s important to keep the bar looking its best all day – that means continuously cleaning the bar, tossing trash and washing glassware. Use your downtime to maintain a clean appearance for every visitor.
□ Wipe down the bar after each patron.
□ Straighten chairs whenever possible.
□ Clean glassware, shakers and other tools.
□ Refill reach-in coolers with bottled or canned beer.
□ Take out the trash as needed.
"I tell people to take pride in your workplace. Clean workplaces bring people back but the word spreads when the place looks a little dirty one day."
Daily Closing Bartender Checklist
As your shift winds down and the last guest closes their tab, a clear set of closing procedures is essential for a successful shift the next day. To maintain a clean bar and keep all of your ingredients fresh, check the following tasks off your list:
□ Count and balance your register.
□ Sanitize the bar top and stools. Let air dry.
□ Discard any dirty napkins and place soiled towels in the linen bucket for laundering.
□ Wipe liquor bottles and beer handles with a clean, warm towel.
□ Use a keg-line brush to clean out the ends of beer taps.
□ Cap each tap with a rubber faucet tap to keep flies out.
□ Clean the speed rails.
□ Sanitize soda guns.
□ Empty and sanitize ice bins.
□ Date newly opened wine bottles.
□ Place remaining fruits, garnishes and juices into clean to-go containers and date.
□ Break down and run everything through the dishwasher.
□ Rinse drains and wash drain covers.
□ Sweep and mop behind the bar.
□ Empty trash bins and take bags out to the business dumpster.
□ Reline bins with fresh trash bags.
"I require our bartenders to hit the floor with a mop before they leave, so when the new person comes in, it’s like a brand-new bar and they don’t need to pick up after anyone else."
Weekly Bar Cleaning Duties
Some bar cleaning tasks only need to be done on a weekly basis, while others are a matter of preference. For example, Kuhn’s staff has made the choice to run everything through the dishwasher once before the weekend rush each week and once right after. “We wash our glassware by hand during high volume times, but we also make it a point to run it all through the dishwasher twice a week because it just gives it that extra step of clean for us.”
Depending on your number of guests and busy times, you may want to prioritize certain tasks for a particular day of the week.
□ Empty and clean reach-in coolers.
□ Clean behind movable service and storage equipment.
□ Sort through and organize drawers and cabinets.
□ Clean shelving for glassware and liquor bottles.
□ Sanitize keg lines.
□ Take preventative measures for bugs and pests.
□ Run floor mats through the dishwasher or power wash outside.
□ Dust and clean display bottles or decorations.
"Clean beer lines mean great-tasting beer. Our brewer gets here early before service and he’ll empty the beer line, run through his cleaning and sanitizing solution, then run water through it and retap the keg so that everything is super clean."
Don't Forget About the Trash
While you've done everything to keep the inside of your bar looking its best, don't forget the outside. The last thing you'll want after putting in the hard work is to have your dumpster overflowing with garbage.
When you start your restaurant dumpster service with Dumpsters.com, you'll get a custom pickup schedule that you can adjust with the ebbs and flows of your business.
We’re Here to Help Keep Your Bar and Restaurant Clean
Dirty martinis are one thing, but using this cleaning checklist will prevent a grimy bar from driving away customers and bringing in unsavory reviews. Looking for more tips? From bathroom maintenance and design to going green at your restaurant, check out the Commercial Resoures section of our blog for more restaurant industry resources.
Zachary Kuhn is the General Manager of Market Garden Brewery. Founded in 2011 in Cleveland, OH, Market Garden is operated in the Ohio City neighborhood and has since expanded to a 35,000 square-foot production brewery that houses a 35-barrel brewhouse. The brewery is equipped with fermentation capacity, analytical, microbiological, sensory laboratories and more.
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