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Bar Business Questions

A bar is an establishment that sells alcohol by the drink or glass. Every bar is required to apply for a liquor license and maintain the license. There are many details to consider before attempting to start a bar business. The liabilities alone can be outstanding. Many bars require memberships in order to avoid allowing unwanted customers to enter the establishment. This cuts down a lot of the unnecessary disputes and fights that occur in other bars. There are rules and regulations that must be acknowledged when operating a bar business. These rules vary from state to state, so you should check with your state laws. Below are a few of the more commonly asked questions about running a bar business.

I own a bar and have a partner of 40%...I work there 40 plus hours a week...I have asked to buy him out, he has given me no amount, I have not seen or heard from him in months. I have taken his name off all licenses...what can I do to insure that he can't come back when he feels he wants to.

It seems that your partner doesn't choose to be a part of the business; however, he still maintains a percentage of the business. There is no way to force the partner out of the business, but there are other options. If you were to take all of the profits and pay yourself a wage as an employee, there would be nothing left to give your partner as in net profit. Aside from selling the business, your partner would be less inclined to continue an interest in the business.

Another option would be to start a new business, sell the current assets to the new business and pay your partner his 40%. You will have the same business, just a new name and your partner will not be a part of the new business. You have already changed the licenses, so this would be the easiest route.

It is possible for your partner to sue you for making the business transfer, but with his lack of interest in the bar, I doubt that will happen.

I own a bar in California. I have no employees, can I smoke in the bar?

In 1998, California passed a law that prohibits smoking in enclosed areas, allowing non smoking employees the right to a smoke free environment. The only exception to this rule is if there is a designated smoke area with proper ventilation that doesn't require non-smoking employees to pass through in order to perform their job duties. However, if you are the only one working in the bar, it is up to you to determine where the designated area for smoking will be. If you hire an employee, the bar must remain a smoke free establishment.

If I have a breathalyzer machine in my bar to determine if a customer has had too much alcohol, can the bar be liable?

If the breathalyzer was to give a false reading that allowed a person to think they were not drunk when actually, they were; there could be issues. This would be hard to determine because everyone absorbs alcohol at a different rate and a person's alcohol level continues to rise even after they leave the establishment. To protect your interest, you should hire an attorney to assist you in writing a waiver/disclaimer and place it above the breathalyzer machine.

I run a bar, a couple of weeks ago there was a fight in which a person was hurt. Now the police are sitting in the parking lot, calling in people's tags, and coming in every day. One in particular told me he was going to shut me down. This is running off my customers. What can I do?

The police are within their rights to sit in your parking lot and run tags because of the numerous complaints made. There really isn't anything stopping the police from entering your bar and checking for issues with the customers. You can set up a meeting with the department head of the local police station and try to work out an agreement with them. You could start by letting them know that you are willing to do what it takes to avoid any future fights and/or injuries. Let them see that you want to resolve the issues by cooperating and working with them. Another thing you could do is hire security to handle any future issues such as fights or nuisances.

If you are interested in learning how to start a bar business, you should consult an Expert in Business Law to assist you with your legal requirements and answer your questions regarding how to start and run a bar business.
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