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Cigar/Martini/Jazz bar.....where do we begin????

    • 60 posts
    May 28, 2006 9:42 AM EDT

    How much experience do you have?  I`m assuming from the context of what you said that you and your partner have done something similiar to this or have experience with running a bar.  The jazz/blues may not work entirely with the cigar but the martinis mesh well with the ambience.

    You`ll have to get details from the SBA but they and the state are offering additional incentives for starting a business in New Orleans in the next year or so.  The first and most important question is if you really want to do it.  Do you envision yourself putting in the time week after week doing the paperwork and being hospitable to customers even when profits seem months away?  Or is your vision still too vague to nail down? 

    If your answer`s the former, then you should start taking a look at economic maps and commercial maps of New Orleans to know where most of the bars are and where most of the jazz-loving crowd lives, works, and relaxes.  Getting an estimate of your business is more important than getting an estimate for contractors. 

    Link up with a reputable real estate firm and find a good site that isn`t too much of a fixer-upper and is in the right neighborhood.  (This is assuming you`re not building everything from scratch.)  Once the site is yours, you can get your estimates for supplies and renovation, do the floor plan and then approach the SBA or investors.  With the higher interest rates of a SBA-backed loan, you may be able to find investors, banks, or private firms who can offer you a better rate.  I recommend you see if there`s any business-minded or restaurant/bar-minded people you know who can help you.

    If your answer is the latter, then talk things over again with your partner.  It may help to have the general floor plan, specifics of your bar`s offerings, and the general idea of your bar`s preferred clientele in mind before you embark on a more costly step such as real estate or applying for loans.  There are no end of books on starting a small business from the more general such as those written by this site`s founders or the more germaine.

    "Forget inspirational quotes to keep you going. If by doing what you do, you get an hour every day to relax, be with the ones you love in comfort without doing wrong, then it is all worth it." -Anon.

    • 24 posts
    June 3, 2006 4:54 PM EDT
    I`m just starting out also, and next to these other posters, my advice is very simple: read SUN`s 10 Steps to Open for Business.  That`s all the roadmap you need to get started

    "Whether you think you can or you think you can`t, you`re right."
    paraphrased Henry Ford

    • 731 posts
    May 28, 2006 1:29 PM EDT
    vtlaw10, David is correct... Just how much do you know about running a bar? Just how much do you know about cigars?  I don`t know about the cigar thing since most states are prohibiting smoking inside a public place. This might kill your business down the line if New Orleans, decides to enforce such law. Secondly, you have to look at a liquor license <--- very expensive to get and to many laws and background checks...
    as for the Jazz, I love jazz, but how much do you know about it? What is your expertise in any of the 3 categories you are trying to start your business in other than Listening to Jazz, loving Martinis, and cigars?
    my best bet before you launch such place, go work part time at a bar, learn the ups and downs and see if this is what you want to do for the rest of your life.
    You will soon find out if what you  are focusing in will work for you.

    Edgar Monroy
    Web Developer / Owner / Consultant
    When starting your own business the need to "know-how" is greater than money!

    • 7 posts
    May 30, 2006 7:16 AM EDT

    Christopher & Joshua


    I see by your bio that neither you nor your partner reside in the NO area – I am a regular visitor to New Orleans and plan to relocate there so I can relate to your desire to help their local economy.  I assume you’ve spent some time in the area but have you done/seen more than the French Quarter – are you familiar with the locals, their likes and needs?  There is a very wealthy population in NO – they stay away from the Quarter and do their shopping/eating in other areas such as Magazine St.  If your goal is to target tourists, then you pretty much have to find a location in the Quarter which will be mucho $$$$.  If you’d like to target locals, I believe I’ve seen damaged business properties available on Mag St and Uptown for a fraction of the cost – Craig’s List is a good source as well as  - I believe that the SBA in NO offers assistance to businesses looking to open their doors there so they may be a better source than your local chapter.


    From personal experience in NO and as a cigar smoker and martini drinker, yes absolutely jazz/blues + martinis + cigar bar would be great … if I may add one more ingredient that would be interesting is upscale/tasteful burlesque ala pussycat dolls.  When I’m in town I love to sit and listen to live music but most bars/clubs don’t allow cigar smoking and I can’t stand cigarettes.  Also, the chances of La. prohibiting smoking anytime soon is unlikely and I believe that cigar bars are exempt (I’m in NJ where they just passed a smoking ban).


    However, it sort of sounds like you don’t have experience in A. running a business B. operating a bar or restaurant and C. maybe too young to appreciate ‘upscale’ and how to deliver it (sorry but when I was just out of college – I certainly didn’t).  Running a business is HARD, operating a bar is even HARDER (I use to bartend/manage a basic bar and a medium upscale restaurant in NYC – pure chaos even when the owners knew what they were doing).  Also, restaurants are even more difficult because you’re handling food which requires more inspections and as you know, inspectors in NO are few and far between right now.


    But there is hope…depending on how familiar with New Orleans you are, for argument sake lets say mildly familiar – this is what I would do.  Invest your funding, move to NO – get a job working in a restaurant similar to what you would like to open, I would recommend GW Fins, Brennan’s or The Bombay Club which a martini bar with a men’s club feel.  Their links are below.  Right now due to a shortage of employees, working in a restaurant will allow/require you to do and learn all aspects of the business from front of the house to dish washing – I believe that they are paying very well for these positions at the moment in order to attract workers – the places I mentioned only hire the best of the best, waiters in NO have been know to work for the same place for 20+ years but with the current situation, you might be able to get in the door.  Then after you’ve learned the ropes, the area and the people – use your investment to fund the project and hire the best of the best the run the operation for you. 



    As far as having experience in music – martinis – cigars …you can learn the basics and then have experienced ‘ambassadors’ or ‘specialists’ (culture consultants) in those areas visit your establishment and offer free classes/events for you and your customers – I know I would come!


    Good luck with whatever path you choose to take!

    ~Empowering and Inspiring the World, One Woman at a Time.

    • 52 posts
    April 5, 2011 10:04 PM EDT

    The day to day operations of your Bar Business can be overwhelming, if you don't have some type of system.

    A Business System is what makes a business run in an expedient manner.

    You will need to create a Bar Business Plan System that will work for your Bar Business.

    A Bar Business Plan System is the way you operate your business. This system should include a plan of operation for every aspect of your Bar Business.

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    • 4 posts
    June 8, 2006 7:19 AM EDT

    Your first place to start is craft a business plan, by doing so it will educate you and address the many unknowns you will face. You must have a business plan before you can start any business. One of the first stops I would make is and look at the free sample business plans they have one for your type of business also lookup the legal aspects to your new business. One particular area I would want to know is smoking regulations, almost all states have laws in place prohibiting smoking in public restaurant even The Big Easy, I’m neutral in that area but I would investigate this before designing a business that includes ‘smoking”  also if it’s not a current law rest assured someone will make it an issue sooner or later. So find out what’s legal first and design your new business plan around it. Take note of all the other posts here, its all good advice.  Go for it, you have a great idea.

    "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them
    pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened." -Sir Winston Churchill

    • 88 posts
    May 23, 2010 9:10 AM EDT

    Starting a bar is a big business. You require at least 400K to start off with the initial renovation cost, rental, inventory etc. It's probably not a wise thing to do if you've not been in this field before as hiring the right people, doing the necessary marketing is crucial later.

    Seo Consultant | Cure Autistic Adults | Industrial For Rent | Business Park

    • 1 posts
    May 28, 2006 9:08 AM EDT
    My business partner and I are looking to open a plush and upscale blues/martini/jazz/cigar bar in New Orleans sometime in the next few years but have no idea where to begin, who to contact, how to estimate how much start up capital we will need from the SBA, if we shuld be getting cost estimates from contractors or even drawing up blueprints yet. We are very new to this but have been talking about doing it for years and finally want to get the ball rolling and need to know the very first things we need to start doing. Any help is greatly appreciated!

    Mr. Christopher C. Mucklow
    Mr. Joshua Comer