8 Best POS Systems for Bars in 2024
We compared the top POS solutions for bars & nightclubs to help you find the perfect fit.
Running on Empty Behind the Bar? POS to the Rescue!
Being a bar owner feels like a neverending juggling act as you constantly switch between tasks – pouring perfectly crafted cocktails, tracking ever-changing inventory, balancing inflowing sales revenue, and ensuring patrons leave happy. It’s a nonstop hustle keeping all these spinning plates from crashing down.
But what if handy technology could help halve the headache? Welcome smarter point of sale (POS) systems designed to liberate busy bar managers! These specialized software heroes automatically track inventory, sales, and payroll in real-time so you can focus on customer care and mixology mastery!
Dive below for 8 stellar POS systems built just for establishments like yours. Wave goodbye to spreadsheets and wasted time. Because automated insights served up with simplicity let you breathe – and pour, chill, serve, mix and mingle better than ever!
The 8 Best Bar POS Systems for 2024
- Best Android POS for Bars: Toast POS
- Best iPad POS for Bars and Multi-unit: TouchBistro
- Best for Bar & Restaurant management: Spoton POS
- 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 8 Best Bar POS Systems for 2024
- 2 Why Specialized POS Solutions Are Essential for Bars
- 3 7 Must-Have Superpowers Transforming Your Bar POS
- 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 stands center stage as a software superstar in hospitality tech, revolutionizing operations for bars, clubs, and eateries. With over 40,000 locations already on board, Toast is currently our #1 industry-leading point-of-sale solution available today.
So what makes Toast such a heavyweight hit? As an all-in-one cloud-based restaurant management platform, they skillfully tackle every pain point imaginable for owners and staff:
- Android-based terminals and handhelds facilitate lightning-fast orders, payments, and tab transfers tableside
- Robust inventory tracking helps monitor pour costs across locations
- Built-in payroll processing and sales reporting automate accounting
- Contactless Order & Pay allows mobile-first guests to skip lines
Plus with features like email marketing, loyalty programs, and online ordering for takeout/delivery, Toast offers a true 360-degree hospitality hub.
Bartenders especially applaud Toast Go mobile handsets allowing complete payments freedom to roam – crucial for swift service in packed clubs. And with digital wallet acceptance, emailed receipts, and automatic tip prompts, Toast checkouts keep the drinks flowing faster.
Simply put, Toast brings exceptional innovation and simplicity to frustrated food and beverage crews. That universal user-friendly functionality explains their meteoric rise to the head of the POS pack. Venues not yet powered by Toast may be missing their most profitable upgrade yet!
Why Should You Choose Toast POS System for Bars?
What specifically makes Toast a first-rate POS pick for nightlife hotspots? For starters, small venues appreciate their free starter kit, which allows full-feature access without upfront costs. Instead, competitive monthly subscription plans start at just $69, enabling affordable scaling.
Those needing multiple terminals only pay $50 more per added device – a bargain for seamless brand consistency. Processing hovers around 2.5% per transaction – beating many pay-as-you-go competitors.
Extensive customization allows owners to add specific functionalities à la carte, like online ordering, gift cards, email marketing, and loyalty programs to match their niche needs. Advanced bundles with more capabilities come available through adjusted pricing as well.
But Toast’s superpower shines through mobility. Their Toast Go handheld terminals enable bartenders to handle orders and payments anywhere – no being stuck behind the bar! This proves game-changing for lightning-fast service crucial in jam-packed clubs.
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, 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
SpotOn For Restaurants
Finding specialty point-of-sale systems also beloved by actual users poses immense challenges. Yet data confirms favorite SpotOn precisely nails this mark for bars industry-wide.
According to Capterra’s extensive independent analysis, real-world SpotOn users overwhelmingly rank the software miles ahead of competitors across critical metrics like functionality, value, ease of use, and support.
While rivals scrape by with mediocre 60-70% satisfaction on their best day, SpotOn earns off-the-charts user endorsement, claiming a top bar POS system with an astounding 94% approval rating overall (90%+ in every single category!). With thousands validating the solution as uniquely matching bar needs, such undisputed market validation warrants attention.
Why Choose SpotOn POS for a Bar?
Some key reasons this encapsulates their standout strength:
- SpotOn’s founders have direct experience running restaurants/bars, so they intrinsically understand the overlooked pain points and workflow frustrations facing bar owners. This firsthand empathy informs solutions directly addressing real-world needs.
- Their software is purpose-built to simplify the most tedious bar tasks like coordinating varied vendor inventory systems, managing complex payment channels, and automating redundant paperwork. Solutions adapt to bars’ existing processes instead of demanding uncomfortable changes.
- Features consolidate previously disjointed programs bar owners formerly wasted hours piecing together into integrated ecosystems (loyalty, marketing, accounting, scheduling etc.) tailored to streamline bar operations.
The key differentiation of deep insider know-how converting to tailored tools optimized around how bars actually operate makes for a compelling headline clearly conveying their unique value. It emphasizes niche experience versus generic offerings in the crowded POS space.
- Specialized for bars
- Adapts to bar workflows
- Suits all needs
- Personal guidance support
- Top reporting costs more
- Contract lock-ins
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 Specialized POS Solutions Are Essential for Bars
Running a successful bar demands juggling countless complex tasks – crafting drinks, managing volatile inventory, coordinating staff, and delivering swift customer service. Trying to wrangle such intricacies purely via memory and scattershot spreadsheets quickly overwhelms. There’s simply too much complexity behind the bar for old-school tactics alone.
That’s where tailored point-of-sale (POS) solutions save the day! Purpose-built for bars, clubs and pubs, these systems directly address make-or-break management needs from age verification to tab tracking. Implementing such specialty tools makes compliance enforcement, payments processing, inventory monitoring, and more far simpler.
Essentially, niche POS solutions adapt exceptionally well to the high-traffic, rapid-fire nature of nightlife environments. Fluid checkouts, centralized coordination, and intelligent analytics reduce operational burdens substantially so staff stay present with guests. Managers also gain clear performance visibility to optimize offerings over time.
By leveraging bar-specialized POS systems, both daily service delivery and long-term strategic planning grow easier, faster, and more accurate. Whether newly opened or decades strong, such tailored technology remains essential for managing your business now and for years ahead.
7 Must-Have Superpowers Transforming Your Bar POS
As bars weigh new point of sale (POS) systems, flashy bells and whistles bedazzle prospects initially. But genuine day-to-day utility separating game-changing operations from business-as-usual boils down to less sexy backend pillars. Before deciding, ensure contenders check these 7 fundamental boxes, unlocking effortless alcohol compliance, inventory management and staff coordination from A to Z.
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.
- Bulletproof Age Verification: Robust scanning, storing, and auto-checking of IDs against global databases makes alcohol service compliant and foolproof. Focus on delighting guests instead of manually age-vetting every round.
- Automatic Inventory Monitoring: Real-time inventory integration across vendors enables continuous pour awareness without tedious Excel monitoring. Intelligent reorder suggestions prevent unexpected stockouts.
- Tab Management & Transfer Magic: Centralized customer profiles allow opening single tabs roaming entire venues as patrons move. Bartenders instantly access full history separating who ordered what and when come settlement time.
- Built-in Tip Allocation: Automated tip calculations based on custom criteria like hours worked or sales percentages ensure fair employee and staff distribution and accounting accuracy.
- Menu Empowerment: Dynamic real-time menu customization allows responding fluidly to demand shifts through easy additions, removals and timed price changes rather than static paper goods.
- Segmented Marketing Tools: Email, social promotions, customer loyalty programs and gift cards tailored to user groups drives personalized engagement for retention boosts and incidental visits.
- Granular Reporting & Analysis: KPI dashboard visibility into core metrics around inventory items, menu performance, staffing hours, and customer engagement unlocks continuously optimized offerings. Having powerful reporting and analytics capabilities to give business owners a detailed overview of their operations.
While base POS functionality anchors efficient operations, forward-thinking systems today integrate next-level analytics, marketing, and revenue expansion tools hardcoded into platforms. But for bars just establishing foundations, mastering core capabilities pave the way first for advanced success to follow!
How do I Choose the Best POS for My Bar?
Selecting the right POS system proves daunting for bars and pubs struggling to distinguish slick marketing claims from authentic niche mastery. But methodically evaluating core needs, must-have functionality, responsive support and real-world user reviews reveals true hospitality heroes worth betting your brand on.
Follow this trusty 8-step decision playbook putting top contenders through stringent examination to match exceptional technology tightly tuned to your growth goals confidently.
Step 1: Define Specific Needs
Clarify business model, menu complexity, payment channels, expansion plans and budget to guide your search.
Step 2: Research Industry-Specific Market Leaders
After determining your specific needs, research different POS systems purpose-built for bars, clubs, and breweries solving niche dilemmas.
Step 3: Kick the Tires with Free Trials
Test drive shortlisted systems in your live environment through free demos before buying.
Step 4: Get Answers to Key Questions
Ask candid questions about security, support, integrations, reporting, and onboarding.
Step 5: Crunch the Numbers on the Pricing
Compare monthly subscriptions and payment processing fees across systems.
Step 6: Vet Scalability Factors
Ensure systems easily scale transactions, locations, menu items and staff as you grow.
Step 7: Read Unbiased User Reviews
Check third-party sites for brutally honest functionality feedback from actual owners.
Step 8: Confirm Responsive Support Resources
Validate multiple communication channels for guaranteed multi-channel assistance 24/7.
While intimidating, choosing the right POS system doesn’t have to be a leap of faith. Follow these steps to make an informed decision with confidence! Bars that invest time upfront selecting ideal partners save countless headaches for years.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
Top Bar POS Questions Answered
What’s the best POS system for watering holes and nightlife hotspots? Cost, features, reputation – lots of factors influence finding your ideal match. Here’s clarity around key questions bar owners ask when searching for the perfect operational upgrade.
Veteran-backed Toast earns high marks for battling nightlife’s unique challenges. Their tailored software, open APIs, and complete hospitality management ecosystem explain 40K+ restaurants & bars have signed on already.
Costs vary widely. Basic software-only solutions like Square start free. Complete solutions like Toast run $60+ monthly for their cheapest tier. However, some providers use nickel-and-dime add-ons that prove essential. Price both obvious and hidden costs.
The hit TV show recently featured Harbortouch Bar & Restaurant, now SkyTab, although platforms shifted over the years. Remember, the systems spotlighted aim to maximize TV drama more than recommend best practices! That being said, Jon Taffer does openly endorse SkyTab.
Systems automate the unglamorous work of inventory coordination, staff scheduling, accounting and metrics tracking. Top platforms also enable mobile ordering, customer loyalty programs,Targeted email promotion and tools integrating your wider business software stack.
It’s hard to beat Square or Toast POS for pure budget builds. Square offers totally free software while Toast tempts tiny spots with free starter kits. Despite larger provider advantages, these enable bootstrap establishments to still punch above weight class through technology.
Verdict: Don’t Get Left Behind
Declaring definitive “best-in-class” point-of-sale systems proves tricky, with countless providers pitching proprietary bar tech. However, analyzing candid user feedback reveals Toast wears the undisputed industry crown across critical markers like versatility, hardware quality and value fairness.
Beyond robust sales processing and inventory coordination basics, Toast unlocks specialty advantages purpose-built for contemporary bar challenges – from built-in age verification easing liquor law compliance to automated loyalty promotions driving more visits despite digital distraction. Their intuitive iPad interface inviting even new users drives adoption as well.
In our humble opinion, Toast confidently claims today’s bar POS champion title through comprehensive capability specialization – made for national franchises yet configurable down to indie sites. Optimizing operations both now and in the future depends on platforms custom-coded for your niche. Toast checks those boxes for over 40,000 bars already to emerge our undisputed favorite.
Declaring one singular “best” POS for vastly different bars proves improbable. Yet strict criteria analysis spotlights elite solutions delivering outsized value honed to address niche top priorities – namely automated features, enduring pricing, free testing, user reputation, reliability, flexibility, and open integration.
Did we miss any products on our list? Do you have any questions or comments? We’d love to hear from you below!