The Ultimate Bar Cleaning Checklist for Keeping Your Bar Spotless

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: May 21, 2024

As the bar owner or general manager, you take pride in your establishment’s success. Your customers look forward to enjoying themselves in a warm, inviting atmosphere. They don’t think about the work involved in cleaning the club.

But here’s the thing:

They do notice streaked glassware or dirty bar stools.

You keep the bar immaculate for your customers, and you keep it up to code for city health inspectors. But, do you have a cleaning checklist for bartenders that makes sure small and large jobs get done throughout every shift?

This bar cleaning template helps you stay organized from opening to closing.

The Essential Bar Cleaning Checklist: Opening, Closing and Weekly Guidelines

When staff clearly understands opening and closing duties, everything gets done efficiently and thoroughly. Employees save time on the clock, and that holds down labor costs. The bar stays spotless, and that builds customer loyalty.

Use this bar cleaning checklist to develop a template for your staff. Print it out, and keep copies on clipboards behind the bar. Make sure employees check off each task as they work through the shift.

bar cleaning checklist

Bar Setup and Opening Duties

As long as closing procedures were followed the night before, daily bar opening duties should go quickly. Allow approximately an hour on the bar cleaning schedule to take care of these opening tasks.

• Put away any clean dishes left out from the previous shift.
• Check glassware for streaks or cloudiness.
• Wipe down bar counters, stools, tables and chairs.
• Inspect 
lemons, limes and other garnishes for freshness.
• Fill ice wells using cleaned, sterilized buckets.
• Clear beer lines by draining a few ounces from each tap.
• Inspect cabinets and refrigerators, and stock as needed.
• Lay down clean floor mats, and make sure trash cans are lined.

Bar Cleaning Tasks During Service

Cleaning the bar is an ongoing job throughout the shift. Overflowing trash cans and unwashed glasses can turn a busy service into a disaster. These tasks are essential to providing the best possible customer experience and a safe environment for employees.

• Frequently wipe down the bar with a clean rag dampened with sanitizing solution. 
• Keep plenty of backup cleaning rags on hand, and change out often.
• As customers come and go, straighten up and wipe down bar stools, chairs and tables. 
• Empty trash cans before they become full, and keep a supply of liners within easy reach.
• Break down and flatten empty boxes during the shift, and store out of the way until closing.

Glass Washing Power Tips

• Always use hot water to wash bar glassware.
• Use a 
three-sink system for washing, rinsing and sterilizing.
• Stock detergent and sanitizing solution close by sinks. 
• Regularly change water in all three sinks even during a rush.
• Let clean glassware drain and air-dry before racking.

Bar Closing Procedures

Most bar cleaning work takes place at closing. The jobs on this breakdown list make sure the bar is ready for an efficient opening the next day. Closing procedures also include basic equipment checks that can head off potential problems.

• Wipe down all bar surfaces, stools, tables and chairs with sanitized rags.
• Wash end-of-shift glasses, and leave out to air-dry.
• Empty and wash all mixer bottles, containers and garnish trays, and air-dry.
• Tightly wrap and store fresh garnish in the walk-in cooler.
• Check temperatures in reach-ins, and restock with fresh mixers, beer and wine.
• Clean speed rails, wipe down bottles, and soak and sanitize pour spouts.
• Check soda gun nozzles for proper operation, soak in sanitizer and rinse. 
• Confirm that beer taps are securely connected, and clean with a keg-line brush.
• Move trash, empty bottles and flattened boxes to the dumpster, and reline trash cans.
• Sweep and mop floors, and hose down floor mats outside.
• Make sure floor drains are clear of debris.

Weekly Bar Cleaning Routines

Try to schedule weekly bar cleaning tasks at the closing of your slowest shift. This minimizes general cleanup and leaves more time to take care of weekly bar maintenance and cleaning routines.

• Dust and rotate clean glasses on shelves and in racks.
• Remove and dust display bottles, and wipe down shelving and adjacent walls.
Flush and sanitize keg lines to eliminate yeast residue.
• Empty and clean reach-in coolers inside and out, and sanitize interiors.
• Empty and clean reach-in condensation trays, and clean grills.
• Clean reach-in door gasket seals, and inspect for cracks and wear.
• Check freshness dates on everything in reach-ins and walk-ins.
• Sweep and mop under equipment, and dust hard-to-reach surfaces.
• Clean out and reorganize all drawers and cabinets.
• Inspect areas under equipment and inside cabinets and drawers for signs of pests.

Best Bar Sanitation Practices – Do’s and Don’ts

Every bar cleaning checklist template should include a section addressing sanitation issues. A list of do’s and don’ts can help protect the health of bartenders, staff and customers. It also highlights practices recommended by health departments across the country.

• Do stack or rack glassware so that air circulates around each glass.
• Don’t handle glassware by rims when washing, prepping or serving.
• Do 
keep hands clean at all times, and always wash after bathroom visits.
• Don’t use hands to scoop ice into bins, glasses or blenders.
• Do check for dirt or mold under speed rails every shift.
• Don’t fail to clean out wells and ice bins under speed rails.
• Do wash and sanitize ice scoops at shift closing.
• Don’t prep garnish that appears to be damaged or spoiled.
• Do frequently check thermometer readings in reach-ins and walk-ins.
• Don’t let floor drains develop hidden mold or bacterial growth.

Semi-Annual Bar Cleaning Projects

Some tasks are too big to fit on your regular bar cleaning checklist. Still, they’re very important for maintaining a healthy serving environment. You can tackle some of them as DIY jobs, but most bar managers prefer bringing in commercial cleaning crews for these projects.

• Floor stripping, cleaning and waxing
• Deep carpet stain removal and steam cleaning
• Furniture cleaning including upholstery and trim
• Cleaning behind and under seldom-moved equipment
• Bathroom tile and grout deep cleaning and sanitizing
• Building-wide vent, grill and duct work cleaning and sanitizing
• Loading dock and trash area power washing
• Parking lot, sidewalk and entryway power washing
• Preventative plumbing checks and mold inspections

The Benefits of Hiring a Cleaning Company

Before you tackle any heavy-duty bar cleaning, call a commercial cleaning contractor. Ask about different services that can save your crew extra work. You can often save money too on renting cleaning equipment and purchasing special supplies. These are just a few of the commercial services available for cleaning bars.

• Certified mold identification, removal and remediation
• Exterior power washing including graffiti removal
• All types of floor care including sealed concrete
• Emergency sewage spill and biohazard cleanup
• Burst pipe repair, cleanup and restoration

When you partner with a full-service cleaning and restoration company, you always have backup in case of storm, water or fire damage to your bar. You enjoy the peace of mind that comes from having certified pros on call 24/7.

Trust Chicago’s Leading Bar Cleaning Services

bar cleaning

When your employees need help with the big jobs, we’re right around the corner. For years, ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba has proudly served Chicago’s bar industry. We can develop a schedule that backs up your staff’s work and works around your timetable.

Our services are affordable, and we’re available for one-time projects too. Just give us a call at 773-647-1985.