Consultant Q&A on Mobile Bars with Tracy Taraski, manager of design services, The Bigelow Cos. Inc., Kansas City, Mo.

FE&S: What are the benefits of utilizing mobile bars?

TT: This equipment is becoming more popular for use in convention centers, sports facilities or by hotel pools; the possibilities are limitless. If operators can get a liquor license for a portable bar, that is ideal. The design can be either generic or fancy, depending on use. These units come in many different lengths and create a secondary bartender station.

FE&S: What are the main considerations when looking at different components for these units?

TT: Along with the bar’s style and aesthetics, the first thing to consider is the types of drinks that will be sold, and whether it’s just cocktails or also beer and wine. Also, operators need to think about the type of soda that will be dispensed, whether through a bag-in-box system with soda guns or packaged soft drinks. Another important aspect is whether or not a hand sink is needed either adjacent to or by where the bar is situated. There are self-contained hand sink units available with two containers for clean and dirty water. Health departments can be picky in terms of sink requirements, even if mobile bars are just used for beverages. Operators also will require access to an ice machine with an ice bin close by to restock the station.

FE&S: What do operators neglect to consider when purchasing a mobile bar?

TT: The amount of power is often overlooked but needs to be assessed in terms of electrical needs. The point of sale aspect also is an important consideration and whether Wi-Fi or data transactions will need to be accommodated.

FE&S: What are the staple components of this equipment?

TT: Typical mobile bar items include an insulated ice bin, built-in soda system, speed rails across the front to store liquor, storage space below and hand sinks.

FE&S: Are there other accessories operators can choose from?

TT: Many companies offer matching back bar cabinets, which are behind the bartender. This can include refrigeration for wine, juice or other mixers; storage cabinets; built-in insulated ice bins that hold up to 200 pounds of ice; and side pieces that tie the front and back bar together.

FE&S: What are the newest innovations with mobile bars?

TT: Collapsible bars are available and should be considered by operators short on storage space. Also, upscale finishes can be specified that make the unit look like a permanent piece.