Updated as of September, 2023
7 Best POS Systems for Bars in 2023
We compared the top POS solutions for bars & nightclubs to help you find the perfect fit.
Running a bar or nightclub can be a tough gig. You’re juggling multiple tasks at once – pouring drinks, managing inventory, keeping track of sales, and ensuring your customers are happy. It’s a lot to handle, and that’s before you even think about dealing with the financial side of things.
But what if there was a way to make all of this just a little bit easier? Enter POS systems and software designed specifically for bars and nightclubs. These powerful tools can streamline your operations, help you manage your inventory and finances more efficiently, and even boost your sales.
In this roundup, we’ll look at some of the best bar POS systems and why they’re worth considering for your establishment. Whether you’re a new bar owner or looking to upgrade your current system, you’ll find something here that can help you take your business to the next level.
The 7 Best Bar POS Systems for 2023
- Best Android POS for Bars: Toast POS
- Best iPad POS for Bars and Multi-unit: TouchBistro
- Best Free Bar POS to get Started: Square for Restaurants
- Best Bar POS for Customization: Lightspeed
- Best Bar POS with No Upfront Costs: Skytab
- Best Cloud-based/Mobile POS: Arryved
- Best Plug-and-Play POS for Bars: Clover POS
Top 5 Bar POS Systems Video
Table of Contents
- 1 The 7 Best Bar POS Systems for 2023
- 2 Why it’s Important to Purchase an ‘Industry Specific’ Platform
- 3 7 Required Features for Bar POS Systems
- 4 How do I Choose the Best POS for My Bar?
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
- 6 Verdict: Don’t Get Left Behind
- 7 Methodology
- 8 Our #1 Recommendation
Toast POS has made a name for itself in the bar and nightclub industry as one of the top industry-leading bar POS solutions available today. With over 40,000 bars, nightclubs, and restaurants using the system, Toast is currently our top pick for the best POS system for bars and nightclubs.
Toast POS is an Android-based restaurant management solution that includes bar POS software, payment processing, contactless ordering, handhelds, online ordering & delivery, marketing, payroll, and employee management all in one package. It offers a complete set of features for managing a bar or nightclub.
Toast POS offers the option of using stand-alone terminals or Toast Go hand-held terminals for added mobility, allowing bartenders to move freely through the establishment and handle payment processing quickly, which is especially useful in a busy bar or nightclub setting. It also accepts NFC and digital wallet payments and can email customer receipts for contactless payments.
The Toast Order & Pay service allows guests to order and pay from their device, comes with additional fees but allows for faster turn times, gives servers the potential to handle 30% more tables; and Toast data also shows that prompted gratuity drives higher average tips.
Why Should You Choose Toast POS System for Bars?
First, Toast offers a free starter kit, which is ideal for small bars or nightclubs to get up and running with no upfront cost. And for those who prefer to “Pay-as-You-Go” with a slightly higher percentage of sales, Toast’s pricing model is still very competitive, starting at just $69 per month.
And for those that need more than one terminal, the pricing goes up to $50 per month for each additional terminal. Additionally, processing fees start at a low 2.49% and .15 cents per transaction.
Toast’s flexibility allows for adding individual POS features, such as online ordering, gift cards, email marketing, and loyalty, or upgrading to an advanced “Pay-as-You-Go” plan by increasing transaction fees, enabling bar and restaurant owners to tailor the POS system to their specific needs and budget.
Toast’s mobility is a standout feature, allowing the use of Toast Go hand-held POS terminals to take orders and payments table-side, outside, or wherever needed, allowing bartenders to move freely and handle payments quickly, making it an advantage in a busy bar or nightclub setting.
Toast will occasionally offer discounts, so be sure to check out our Toast Promo Codes page.
- Designed for bars & nightclubs
- Bar proof hardware
- Strong data reporting
- Card preauthorization
- Offline mode
- 24/7 customer service
- In-house processing only
- Requires contract
TouchBistro is one of the best bar POS systems on our list that has been tailored specifically for the food and beverage industry. It runs on iPads, making it a convenient and versatile bar POS for single or multiple locations.
One of its main advantages is its user-friendly and easy-to-understand interface. It allows staff to quickly learn how to use the system, streamlining operations and improving efficiency in bustling restaurants or bars.
The software also provides an extensive set of features that are catered to the needs of the food and beverage sector. These include table management, menu handling, order processing, and reporting & analytics capabilities that provide valuable insights about business performance by tracking sales, inventory & labor costs.
Moreover, TouchBistro can be integrated with other systems & third-party apps, allowing you to extend your POS system’s functionalities and simplify your operations. This will enable you to expand the capabilities of the POS system and streamline various aspects of your business operations.
For example, you can connect it with accounting software or online ordering platforms, saving time while boosting business efficiency. The POS system is also designed to work without having a connection to the internet, which implies you’ll still be able to take orders offline.
Why Choose TouchBistro for Bars and Pubs?
Choosing TouchBistro for bars and pubs is a prudent option due to its specifically tailored features for the food and beverage sector. It has been highly commended in numerous industry accolades, and they have won many industry awards.
Menu handling is simple to use, enabling you to create, modify and adjust prices at different times. This comes in handy for establishments that present special deals or happy hours. Order management allows you to not only receive orders but also add specific instructions and annotations while attending the busy atmosphere of a bar.
The system offers various payment types like cards, pre-paid gift cards, as well as split payments, thus facilitating purchase operations and tracking sales performance with precision.
Plus, reporting tools allow for comprehensive analytics about profits, stock levels, and labor costs, providing crucial information for sound business judgments and opportunities for expansion.
TouchBistro offers a range of subscription plans to fit the specific needs of your bar or pub, starting at just $69/mo.
- No lengthy contracts
- Intuitive, easy-to-use
- Tableside ordering
- Financing available
- 24/7 customer service
- Add-ons increase price
- Can take 2-3 weeks to install
Square Restaurant POS
Square for Restaurants is also a great bar POS system for those just starting out or on a tight budget. It’s primarily designed for the food service industry, but many bars and breweries successfully use Square for Restaurants.
Square is designed for speed – each tool assists your team to work more quickly. Conversational modifiers are available to help you accelerate orders. Bar owners can easily do real-time modifications of their menus on various devices. Plus, it’s easy and fast to replicate an order with only a couple of taps.
The system can be used on a variety of devices, including iPads, iPhones, and Android devices, making it easily adaptable to different types of restaurants and bars.
Why Choose Square for Bars or Breweries?
Square for Restaurants is a great entry point as it’s free to start, and you can upgrade your account as your business grows. The POS is designed to be simple to set up and use and has features you need for day-to-day service for a small bar or brewery.
The menu management feature enables customers to swiftly adjust their menu items and prices, making it effortless to make distinct menus for different hours of the day.
Its inventory management control and sales analysis capabilities give bar and brewery owners an understanding of which items are selling well and at what cost, helping them arrive at knowledgeable decisions regarding offerings, pricing, and staff.
Plus, its payment processing fees are among the industry’s lowest, making it an attractive option for companies who wish to avoid high costs in accepting payments.
Square offers excellent value for small bars, pubs, or breweries, as it’s free to start. Its point-of-sale software, Square Plus, can be accessed with a $60 monthly plan for those who need more advanced features.
Square is an excellent choice for small bars with low volume and average ticket sales due to its processing rate structure. However, if your business deals with high volume, high average tickets, it may be worth exploring other options.
The processing rate for transactions on the free small business POS platform starts at 2.6% + 10 cents. It’s also worth noting that Square occasionally offers hardware promotions, so it’s always wise to check for those before making a purchase.
- Free POS (Best Value)
- Fast setup, easy to use
- Great for small bars
- Upgrade when ready
- Must use Square processing
- No pre-auth for bar tabs
- Limited support on the free plan
Lightspeed Restaurant is a cutting-edge restaurant and bar POS system designed to streamline and optimize the operations of bars and restaurants of all types.
With its powerful features, customization options, and intuitive interface, Lightspeed Restaurant allows businesses to manage everything from menu items and inventory to customer orders and staff schedules.
Why Choose Lightspeed POS for a Bar?
Lightspeed Restaurant POS is a robust hospitality point-of-sale system designed to help bars easily manage their operations. This bar pos system allows bartenders to quickly and easily browse through menus, enter orders, open tabs, and accept payments all in just a few taps.
With Lightspeed Restaurant POS, bar owners can enter orders, and process payments fast, create combos for top menu items to speed up ordering at the bar, manage bar tabs and reduce the number of transactions with pre-authorization, split bills by item, course, or seat and offer guests single-seat checkout.
The bar POS system also allows for customizable floor plans, creating multiple menus and assigning them to specific devices and shifts, automated ingredient management, and access to the system from anywhere with a cloud-based POS.
Additionally, it integrates with major food delivery services to reach new customers quickly; it’s designed to scale your business and helps you increase your profit margins. It offers a frictionless unified payment experience.
With Lightspeed, you can choose your preferred credit card payment processor. The bar POS system has its internal payment processor, but it also allows for integration with a wide range of other processors, allowing you to select the one that best suits your business needs.
You won’t be tied to a single provider’s processing rates. As for Lightspeed’s processing rates, they start at 2.6% plus a 10-cent transaction fee. Regarding pricing, Lightspeed Restaurant POS offers a range of options to meet the unique needs of different businesses. The basic package, suitable for essential business needs, starts at $69 per month.
For more advanced bar POS features, you can opt for the standard package at $119 per month or the advanced package at $199 per month. If you’re looking for a more customized quote, Lightspeed POS offers the option to contact them directly. One of the best things about this bar POS system is that it offers a free trial period, so you can test it and see if it’s the right fit for your business before committing to a subscription.
- Easily manage bar tabs
- Strong inventory management
- Multi-store capabilities
- Flexible payment options
- Extensive reporting
- Learning curve
- Cost increases for advanced features
Skytab (formerly Harbortouch)
Skytab, formerly known as Harbortouch Bar & Restaurant, is a cutting-edge point-of-sale solution designed to help food service businesses, including restaurants, retail stores, cafes, nightclubs, and bars, to streamline their operations and improve their bottom line.
It offers a range of advanced features such as inventory management, financial review, sales monitoring, and labor management, all with no upfront costs. This POS system is also exclusively recommended by Jon Taffer of Bar Rescue, which attests to its effectiveness and reliability.
Why Choose Skytab for Bars & Nightclubs?
Skytab is a top-notch restaurant and bar POS system designed to streamline the operations of hospitality businesses of all types. It has a range of features to help you manage your business, from tracking inventory and finances to monitoring sales and controlling labor.
The intuitive interface allows efficient usage during times of peak activity, and the POS terminal is modern and reliable, with mobile-friendly hardware options available. Additionally, many management resources are available such as Lighthouse, with in-depth reporting options to aid informed decision-making processes.
Skytab’s contactless payment method lets customers order and pay directly from their phones using SkyTab’s QR code solution. This removes the need for physical contact, which is especially pertinent now while providing an excellent guest experience.
We also like that Skytab has a wide range of marketing and loyalty tools to foster client relationships, like email campaigns, loyalty programs, e-gift cards, and social media management features. Third-party POS integrations are also available.
The Harbortouch POS system provides one-of-a-kind pricing of $29.99 with no up-front investment. The service charge every month covers access to menu programming, installation, customer care, and a warrant protecting the POS terminal and peripheral hardware throughout its life.
To learn more about what it offers, complimentary free demos are available before committing. This option is perfect for restaurants, pubs, and nightclubs that provide full services.
- No upfront cost
- Low monthly fee
- Intuitive, easy-to-use
- No early termination fees
- Shift4 processing only
- Requires 1-year contract
- Can take 3-4 weeks to install
Arryved (pronounced “Arrived”) is one of the beverage business’s most trusted POS systems for bars. Designed and supported by industry veterans, Arryved provides the tools your bar needs to make operations easier and service faster.
Because Arryved was built on a barstool talking shop with real bartenders and managers, the all-in-one Android bar POS system provides the service tools your staff needs to save time. That includes handheld and tablet mobile POS devices with an intuitive interface for offering card on file, digital signature, dynamic tab capabilities, and more.
Quantifying your bar’s success is simple with a cloud-based dashboard that you can access from anywhere. Manage inventory or check in on real-time sales performance from any device at any time. Arryved even tracks to-the-ounce so you can identify best sellers and maximize profitability.
You can also manage your team better with Arryved’s customized permissions for labor roles. Use employee tracking to see who rings in what and make tip pools simple to divvy.
Why Choose Arryved for Bars & the Beverage Industry?
Arryved has outstanding customer reviews you can check out at G2 and Capterra. They were awarded best customer service in the restaurant POS space for Winter 2023 by G2, and have also been awarded a Stevie for customer service.
Knowing the company has your back when you need help is very important. Offline mode lets you continue to collect orders and credit card payments, regardless of internet connection, or you can contact an award-winning support team 7 days/week.
You can access comprehensive how-to articles and videos to get step-by-step instructions on implementing new features or training new hires.
We like that Arryved is committed to transparent partnerships and continuing to innovate its bar POS system to best help your bar succeed and scale.
- Customer support
- To-the-ounce reporting
- Offline mode
- Transparent pricing
- Must use their processor
- Requires contract
Clover POS is our top choice for a complete “out-of-the-box” and plug-and-play POS systems for bars, pubs, and other small businesses. It is economical, and accompanied by modern POS hardware, and its software offers an intuitive way to manage various operations such as sales tracking, inventory management, and financial analysis.
The Clover App Store provides users with a broad selection of possibilities to further optimize the POS system to meet their individual business needs. From quick setup to its wide range of options and integrations, Clover is the perfect choice for any small business wanting to streamline their business with room for growth.
Why Opt for Clover POS for Bars and Pubs?
Firstly, Clover offers plenty of flexibility in payment processing allowing users to choose existing merchants or low-cost payments via Fiserv, often cheaper than other options like Squareup.com.
Furthermore, transparent, consistent rates are available regardless of the kind of card utilized, including AMEX and rewards cards. On top of this, an array of apps are provided along with paid add-ons that stretch its capabilities towards specific demands in a business environment.
Clover is an ideal choice for bars and taverns searching for a complete bar POS system. This setup offers an extensive range of features and applications that can be tailored to meet individual demands. However, remember that you must purchase Clover’s proprietary hardware to use the software, and pricing starts at $39.95 per month.
Working with Clover direct sales is recommended to eliminate extra fees imposed by third parties. Customers also benefit from no-cost overnight shipping and a generous 60-day trial period before making long-term binding decisions.
- Sleek all-in-one POS
- Bar app integrations
- Easy to set up and use
- Excellent handheld POS
- Various payment options
- 24/7 phone and email support
- Must use proprietary hardware
- Added features increase the price
- Must work with a sales rep to sign up
Why it’s Important to Purchase an ‘Industry Specific’ Platform
A POS system for bars is specifically crafted to accommodate the high-traffic and rapid nature of a bar setting. Such an arrangement allows staff to process orders and payments with precision rapidly.
Furthermore, this industry-specific platform features age verification and tab management, making it easier for workers to ensure customers are of drinking age and manage unpaid tabs. It also includes tools for inventory management, sales observation, and labor tracking- all significant elements in any bar operation.
A uniquely tailored bar POS platform makes managing your business easier and makes data-driven decisions much more straightforward. Detailed reports and analytics can be leveraged to evaluate operations, discover areas of improvement, and make knowledgeable choices that will aid expansion.
All in all, an industry-focused platform is a necessary tool for any bar business wanting to streamline processes and bolster success.
7 Required Features for Bar POS Systems
When searching for a new POS system for your bar or brewpub, it’s crucial to consider certain features that will enhance the overall customer experience and streamline your operations. Some ‘must-haves’ to look for in a bar POS system include tools for inventory management, financial tracking, sales analysis, and labor management.
Additionally, it’s essential to choose a platform with an easy-to-use POS system, and can handle the fast-paced environment of your establishment. To ensure your business runs smoothly, it’s essential to prioritize these key features in your search for a new bar point of sale.
- Inventory management: Bar point-of-sale software should have the ability to track and manage inventory levels, including the ability to set reorder points and low stock alerts. This ensures that you always have the necessary ingredients to make popular drinks and avoid running out of key items.
- Age verification: A bar POS system needs to have a built-in age verification feature to ensure that customers are of legal drinking age. This can be done by scanning IDs or driver’s licenses, which can help prevent serving alcohol to minors.
- Bar tabs: A bar POS system should be able to handle bar tabs, allowing customers to open tabs and make charges to them throughout the night. This feature eliminates the need for customers to carry cash and makes it easy to close out tabs at the end of the night.
- Tip tracking: Bar POS systems should have the ability to track tips and manage gratuity by employee or pool tips by group. This feature helps staff get every dollar they deserve and can also be used for reporting and analysis.
- Menu management: Bar sofware should have the ability to manage menus, including the ability to make changes on-the-fly, add, remove or edit menu items in real-time, and set timed pricing adjustments and recurring promotions.
- Marketing and loyalty tools: It should have built-in marketing and loyalty tools to help build lasting relationships with customers. This can include a customer loyalty program, email campaigns, traditional and e-gift cards, and social media management tools.
- Reporting and analytics: It should also have powerful reporting and analytics capabilities to give business owners a detailed overview of their operations. This feature can be used to track sales, inventory, products, labor, and more, making it easy to make data-driven decisions.
How do I Choose the Best POS for My Bar?
Picking the most suitable point of sale system for a bar or pub can be tricky, but by taking a few crucial steps, you can assure that you select a system that will fulfil your particular requirements and assist your business’ success.
- Start by gauging your specific needs: Before commencing your search, make time to evaluate the specialized needs of your bar or pub. Consider menu complexity, inventory management, customer loyalty programs, and mobile ordering.
- Explore various systems: After determining your specific needs, research different POS systems to see which ones offer vital features and functionality to your business. Look for systems mainly with software programming for the bar and pub industry.
- Check out pricing and contract terms: When comparing different systems, remember to consider pricing and contract terms. Certain systems may provide lower initial costs but have higher monthly fees, whereas others may have higher starting prices but lower periodic fees. Read the details carefully to be aware of any hidden expenses or long-term commitments.
- Inspect scalability: As your business advances, it is important that the POS system you select can grow with you. Look for a system capable of scaling up, meaning it can deal with augmented transaction volume and new attributes as your venture evolves.
- Test the system: Before making a concluding verdict, examine the system in a real-world environment. Many POS providers offer free trials or demos so you can get an impression of how the program will work in specific conditions.
- Read reviews and customer testimonials: It’s insightful to read consumer evaluations and testimonies to understand how this product operates in reality.
- Look into customer support: Ensure that the vendor of the system you pick offers top-notch customer service. If any issues occur, you want to know that you can contact them promptly for a resolution.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
The best bar POS system will depend on your specific needs and budget. Some popular options include Toast, Skytab, Touchbistro, Lightspeed, and Clover. These systems offer robust software, powerful POS hardware, and a variety of management tools that are tailored to the unique needs of bars, pubs, and nightclubs.
The cost of a bar POS system can vary depending on the specific features and services you require. Some basic systems can start as low as $30 per month, while more advanced systems with additional features and hardware can cost upwards of several hundred dollars per month. Additionally, some systems may require a one-time purchase of proprietary hardware. It’s important to consider your specific needs and budget when researching different bar POS systems.
Bar Rescue has employed various POS systems over the years — most recently Harbortouch Bar & Restaurant. It’s important to understand that their choice of POS system on the show is not necessarily a suggestion for all bars and pubs. Some businesses may need specific features, so it’s essential to research and compare different solutions to identify which one best suits your needs.
Keeping tabs on inventory, handling finances, monitoring sales, and supervising staff are some of the primary advantages. Upgraded customer experience can be enabled by using mobile ordering and payments. Enhanced reporting and back-office solutions enable decision-making based on data-driven insights. Integrating with external applications offer a more complete business administration solution. Bar software may also promote customer loyalty via loyalty programs, email marketing, and social media management tools.
Toast or Square for Restaurants. Toast offers a free starter kit to get started, so you’ll get everything you need to get up and running quickly. Square for Restaurants is also a good option for small bars or pubs on a budget, with free bar POS software to get started.
Verdict: Don’t Get Left Behind
Based on the list of top POS systems for bars above, it can be concluded that each system has its own unique features and benefits that cater to the specific needs of different types of bars.
In our opinion, the best POS system for bars and nightclubs is Toast POS. With its complete set of features for managing a pub, bar & restaurant, or nightclub, Toast’s flexibility and mobility are standout features that make it the top choice. It offers the option of using stand-alone terminals or Toast Go hand-held terminals for added mobility, allowing bartenders to move freely through the establishment and handle payments quickly.
Additionally, Toast’s pricing model is very competitive, starting at just $69 per month, and it offers a free starter kit for small bars or nightclubs to get up and running with no upfront cost. TouchBistro and Square for Restaurants also offer great solutions for bars and nightclubs, but Toast POS is the best choice for its comprehensive features and flexibility.
To identify the top bar and pub POS systems, we considered several key factors. These included the range of features each system offers, their pricing plans, and whether they offered a free trial. We also evaluated their reputation for customer service and overall ease of use.
We assigned a rating to each system based on these criteria and ranked them accordingly. The systems that received the highest rating were deemed the best bar POS systems for 2023. In addition, we also took into account the system’s reliability and flexibility, as well as its ability to integrate with other tools and platforms that bars commonly use.
Did we miss any products on our list? Do you have any questions or comments? We’d love to hear from you below!