1. Who has a bar in their hostel?
2. is it open to the public, or just guests? or a combination thereof?
3. how many heads?
4. what sort of turnover?
5. can you drink your own booze elsewhere in the hostel?
and now the specifics :P
i think having a bar is essential - ok, not essential, but the ideal hostel IMO has a bar. i personally prefer bars open to the public as travelling is all about interacting with different people, ideally locals. so i was wondering for those with a bar, what sort of proportion of those in the bar are guests or outsiders, how old are they? basically, what sort of people drink in your bar. what sort of offers/promotions/events do you have? do they work?
now 3 of the 4 hostels ive worked in had bars, and i worked behind all of them. but they were remarkably different places:
Nomads Melbourne was (or at least tried to be) very flash. leather couches, plasma TVs, Nomads brand coasters. not really what i would call a typical backpacker bar. nice, but id say neither the GM nor the bar manager really knew who their market was. tried to be too many things to too many people. license for 200 (260 bed hostel, go figure).
H.I. Banff - very slapdash, considerably smaller. license for 60... 220 bed hostel, again, go figure. we were a bit out of town and the winter had a LOT of long term guests (big problem in my books). of the 220 beds, id say 100 were up for sale at any one time. made the bar feels a bit like a locals bar and possibly a little intimidating for guests. especially on quiet nights when 1/2 the drinkers were staff.
Globetrotter Inn, 24hr license, 330 heads, only open to guests. no cash, everything ran on a keycard system. bit weird but tended to attract good sorts... and stag parties...
i guess im at the point now where im confident enough to run my own hostel... but despite having worked in more than a few bars, im still really keen to learn about that side of things. so if anybody wants to share their experiences, id be very grateful. ESPECIALLY to anyone who runs a hostel bar in the USA as id really like to know how the drinking age effects things.