Our research found that Square POS is currently the best option out there for bars and drinks venues. From its happy hour pricing feature to its optional dark mode, the POS is feature-rich and one of the most cost-effective solutions on the market. If you run a smaller or bespoke bar, however, TouchBistro may also be a worthy contender, due in large part to its powerful inventory tracking system.
Finding a POS that keeps up with the demands of the hospitality industry can be tough, but most bar managers know what they want: An affordable option that's easy to use but offers all the best money-saving features. Our researchers scored all the top POS systems using those metrics to arrive at our list.
We didn't stop there. We developed a POS comparison tool that can match your bar to a perfect provider in minutes. Fill in the form to receive bespoke quotes or take a look at our findings below.
Tech.co rating for bars
Score out of 5 based on Tech.co's independent market research.
Best Bar POS for
Tech.co's verdict to help you identify the most suitable choice for your bar
The typical lowest starting price. The lowest price available for your business will depend on your needs.
Best for hotel bars
Best overall bar POS
Best for breweries and wine bars
Best for a quick initial set up
Best small business growth features
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A trustworthy choice to strengthen your business
A brilliant POS system for any type of business
A very strong restaurant and bar-specific POS
A solid service for growing businesses that want a painless system
A strong POS option with sophisticated sales and discounting features
A stand-out restaurant-specific POS that offers great customization and a variety of ordering options
1. Square POS – Best Overall Bar POS
- Editor rating: 4.7/5
- Price from: Free (but transactions fees apply)
If you run a small business, chances are you’ve already heard of Square. The POS provider is one of the leading names in the industry, when it comes to affordability and user experience, Square for Restaurants is second to none, and perfect for breweries and bars. In fact, Square is also our top-rated POS for restaurants and small businesses too, which is a true testament to the system's versatility.
Square is the best POS for bars for a number of reasons. Firstly, it's super easy to add users and expand transaction limits to the platform, making it perfect for bars looking to scale up. Secondly, Square's offering is excellent value for money, which is especially useful for bars with tighter margins. Finally, with support available through email, phone, and live chat, the POS scored a perfect score of 5/5 for help and support, beating all of its rivals to the punch.
Below we break down the much-loved service's features and pricing structures in greater detail.
- Free to get started
- Slick and stylish hardware
- Serves businesses of all sizes and in all sectors
- Strong analytics, inventory, and third-party integrations
- Some necessary features for mid-sized businesses cost more
- 3.5% + 15¢ charge for keyed-in transactions
- Support options vary by plan
Square POS Features
If you've already got a POS set up you'll be able to use Square with your existing hardware because Square’s software can run anywhere. This can be a real asset to bars that aren’t looking to fork out on new devices.
Aside from its versatile applications, Square for Restaurant also excels when it comes to stock control, which is a key concern as the drink of the moment must be available at all times. Square's inventory management features allow users to create menu items and track sales per unit. This feature is especially useful to drinks venues that specialize in bottled drinks like wine and beer.
Another one of Square for Restaurant's selling points is its huge App Marketplace. The store gives users access to a wide range of platforms that are able to benefit multiple areas of the business. For instance, the Food & Drink Exchange app can update prices in real-time and the Pretamenu app can get bars online in minutes.
Square scored 4.8/5 in our independent testing for hospitality features, due to its powerful inventory tracking, back-of-house, and menu customization tools. However, if you're basing your decision on features alone, our research suggests that Lightspeed and Toast may be better options, as they both received a near-perfect score of 4.9/5 in the category. This is because they offer a slightly more generous package for bars and restaurants. If you're still confident Square is the best point of service for your business, we take a look at how its prices stack up below.
Square POS Pricing
As utility costs and inflation rates continue to rise, finding a cost-effective POS system has never been so important. Thankfully, due to Square's affordable options, the provider was able to achieve a perfect value score of 5/5 in our research. Here's a summary of the plans:
- Square Free – Square’s free restaurant and bar POS software includes a point of sale system, team management tools, and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. customer support. However, the most basic plan doesn’t contain seat management, course management, or floor plan customization features.
- Square Plus – Square Plus is available for $60 per month. It offers advanced POS features including seat and course management as well as robust sales and reporting features. Users can also add on a POS device for $40 a month.
- Square Premium – Square’s premium plan contains a full suite of features as well as optional add-ons like Square Payroll, Square Loyalty, and Square Marketing. The plan is designed to scale with businesses and prices are available on request.
You can read a more in-depth breakdown of Square's POS pricing here.
2. TouchBistro – Best for breweries and wine bars
- Editor rating: 4.2/5
- Price from: $69 per month
As the provider's name suggests, TouchBistro was designed with hospitality businesses in mind, with extra functionality to ensure guests find everything they need at their bar. TouchBistro closely trails Square’s offering in terms of its great usability and features, with the system boasting an array of flexible and hardware options. Unlike Square, however, TouchBistro doesn’t offer a free plan and is slightly more expensive than other POS systems for bars.
- Versatile and intuitive interface
- Strong staff and inventory management
- 24/7 support
- Pricing is based on number of users, which can add up
- TouchBistro does not sell POS hardware
- Limited business development and till features
TouchBistro POS Features
For businesses looking to save time, TouchBistro's “Fast Bar” mode can help servers take orders with a few simple taps. The feature allows users to modify drinks, print receipts, and take payment options in a simplified and speedy manner. The mode is a great way to keep customers happy while reducing overpouring, but it can also be toggled off and on, making it great for handling busy spells.
TouchBistro POS is also lightyears ahead when it comes to stock control. The provider's inventory tracking systems allow you to track menu items, units of stock, and individual ingredients so every piece of inventory is accounted for. The system is also to be customized to the unique needs of businesses, adding to the POS's versatility.
TouchBistro also offers an interactive sales dashboard that allows users to view a seven day snapshot of their sales data. The cloud-based dashboard also lets managers to set weekly targets, whether it be based around total number of sales or customer numbers. This tool makes it super easy for users to keep track of their performance and identify areas where more revenue can be made.
Despite TouchBistro's powerful hospitality features, which scored 4.8/5 in our independent research, the POS's customer satisfaction score (3.8/5) lags behind every provider on this list except for Talech, suggesting that the POS isn't as popular as many of its competitors.
TouchBistro POS Pricing
TouchBistro’s pricing system is unique. Instead of charging its users per month, its prices depend on the number of licenses required.
The provider's most common plan, TouchBistro Solo, offers one user license for $69 per month. The Dual plan, designed for two users, comes in at $129 per month, and their Team plan, available to a limit of five users, costs $249 per month.
Moreover, if your bar requires a limitless number of POS licenses, TouchBistro Unlimited plan can cater to an uncapped number of users for $399 per month.
Reservations and Online Ordering add-ons are also available at an additional cost.
3. Epos Now – Best for large bars
- Editor Rating: 4.2/5
- Price: $39 per month
Epos Now for Pubs and Bars is a pretty solid POS option for bars. It offers loads of useful third-party integrations, promising staff training options, and even retails its own hardware. This makes it a great option for growing businesses and those not already relying on POS devices. However, Epos's standard package may be on the pricier side for smaller venues.
- Quick and easy set up
- Simple interface makes it easy to train staff
- Widely compatible with barcode scanners and receipt printers
- Lacks complexity in reporting
- Paid customer support and no knowledgebase
- No kiosk option or CRM
Epos Now Features
Managing staff is one of the trickiest tasks involved with running a bar. If you're looking to ease this burden with POS software Epos will be a safe bet as it excels when it comes to employee management tools.
The provider offers unlimited staff training sessions for $35 per month, where new employees are able to learn how to use the software. This can be a real lifesaver for employers who are onboarding multiple new recruits at once. Unlike other providers on this list like TouchBistro, LightSpeed and Square, the system is kitted out with a unique training mode too, which allows new staff to practice with the till without interfering with monthly sales reports.
Besides its promising employee training features, Epos Now also offers sophisticated inventory and stock management tools, making it easier for larger bars to keep stock of their products. Bartenders can use the function to track individual items of stock, cocktail ingredients, or even kegs of beer. The system even allows you to split your inventory into different sub-categories, helping to keep stocks as organized as possible even during big events.
Epos Now Pricing
Epos POS's basic software package is available for $39 per month, or $499 annually. This plan includes sales reporting, stock management, and customer relationship tools. Epos Now also offers two other plans; Premium for $69 per month, and Enterprise for a custom quote. To find out more information about the provider pricing model, we recommend speaking to a sales rep directly.
4. Talech POS – Best for happy hours
- Editor rating: 4.3/5
- Price from: $29 per month
Due to its abundance of hospitality-friendly features like streamlined order management and happy hour discounts, Talech is another decent POS system for bars. In fact, according to our independent research, the system is on par with TouchBistro’s and Epos Now’s offerings. But with Square POS offering slightly more advanced features and overall more bang for your buck, it's unable to beat the provider to the top spot.
- Granular product settings
- Great support for customer exchanges and refunds
- Easy-to-use interface
- No ecommerce integration
- Feature set not as broad as competitors
- Low customer satisfaction score
Talech POS Features
From sales and inventory management to support and training options, Talech’s POS software isn’t short of handy features. Moreover, the POS software is compatible with every type of iPad and most point-of-service devices, making it super easy to slot in alongside your bar's existing setup.
While Talech's suite of features are all pretty strong, the system particularly excels when it comes to CRM tools. For instance, its customer management features allow users to gain deeper insights into their buyers by tracking their data and creating individual profiles.
As the cost of living rises and consumers become more committed to finding a great deal, happy hours account for 60.5% of the revenue of an average bar and restaurant. If you're looking to cash in on the technique, Talech also lets you issue discounts at fixed times and days of the week, making these events easy to handle. Buy-one-get-one-free deals can also be applied to any type of product or drink at any time, for added flexibility.
Talech POS Pricing
While businesses can get started with Talech for as little as $29 per month, bars will need to fork out a little more for the provider's plan for real-time traders.
Epos Now's Bar POS package retails at $99 per month, and includes bar management software that helps managers carry out a number of functions including tracking sales, creating bar tabs, selling across channels, and managing employees.
Technically, Talech does offer a free plan too, but it is very limited. It runs on just one smartphone with no inventory tracking tools, no employee management, and very limited orders and payments. We don't recommend it for long-term use.
With all of the plans (save Mobile), bars will be charged an extra $29 per month for each additional device, with gift card support also available for a further $49 per month.
5. Lightspeed POS – Best for hotel bars
- Editor rating: 3.7/5
- Price from: $69 a month
Lightspeed Restaurant is a POS made for hospitality businesses, offering flexibility for services unique to hotel bars and eateries.
With a starting price of $69 per month, Lightspeed POS is a little pricier than others on the list, but its free trial and flexible payment plan still make it accessible to bars on tighter budgets. What's more, Lightspeed's litany of bar-focused features, including modifiable drink lists and bar tabs, and its unique third-party integrations help it to stand out from its competition and make it especially useful for industry-specific businesses like hotel bars.
- Ideal for retail stores with barcoded inventory
- Straightforward pricing
- Slightly more expensive than some rivals
- Harder to use for restaurants, florists and businesses without barcodes
- Doesn't integrate with weighing scales
Lightspeed POS Features
Lightspeed offers a variety of solid bar and hospitality-focused features including inventory tools that update levels of alcoholic stock in real-time, wastage tracking, and flexible payment options like bill splitting, tipping, and surcharging. Due to the strength of its toolkit, Lightspeed was able to secure a research score of 4.9/5 hospitality features, a stronger score than our frontrunner Square.
However, Lightspeed for Restaurants shines when it comes to third-party integrations. From accounting software from QuickBooks and Xero, to bar-focused apps like RapidBar and BeerSaver, users can combine the system with a broad range of third-party services.
Notably, Lightspeed POS also connects with hotel property management software (PMS) which allows users to process room payments. Few other point of service providers offers this integration, making the POS a promising choice for hotel bar owners.
Lightspeed POS Pricing
- Lightspeed Essentials – This stripped-back plan costs users $69 per month, and grants users access to Lightspeeds core POS system and basic payment processing services.
- Lightspeed Plus – Lightspeed Standard is a little steeper at $189 per month. However, for the extra cost businesses can enjoy additional ecommerce, sales analysis, and accounting features.
- Lightspeed Pro – At $399 per month, this premium plan is better suited to large or growing bars. On top of the standard features, it lets users benefit from a number of sophisticated CRM tools.
- Lightspeed Enterprise – Finally, LightSpeed Enterprise is the provider's most comprehensive plan. It provides sophisticated analytic tools to help managers keep track of their sales, and it's designed for businesses operating over multiple venues. The price of this plan is decided on a case-by-case business so users need to enquire for a custom quote.
If all these prices are a little steep for your business, we'd recommend taking a look at our POS quotes form. It provides you with bespoke quotes in minutes, making it much easier to find a budget-friendly point of service system.
6. Toast POS – Best Android-only system
- Editor rating: 3.9/5
- Price from: Free (but transactions fees apply)
The POS market tends to be dominated by iOS solutions, which can make finding a stand-out Android option hard. But not all businesses run on iPads, so if your bar doesn't use Apple technology, Toast's Android-only POS system could be a great option for you. Toast POS was specifically designed with hospitality businesses in mind and its slick, cost-effective software offers an array of handy features for bars. In fact, with an excellent score of 4.9/5 for hospitality features, we think it offers one of the most feature-rich packages out there.
Unfortunately though, the point of service won't work for everyone. It's not compatible with Apple devices, lacks payment processors, and according to our researchers, offers the worst help and support service out of any other featured provider due to its lack of email and live chat options. For this reason, Toast POS is unable to appear any higher up our list.
- Great for Android users
- Strong menu customization
- Support for tableside ordering and payment
- Doesn't work on iOS devices
- No integrated payment processors
- Limited help & support offered
Toast POS Features
Like the other POS frontrunners, Square and Upserve, Toast provides a generous suite of marketing and CRM tools. For instance, the system automictically collects customer email addresses and creates customer profiles from card payments. This makes the POS system a safe bet for bars looking to improve levels of consumer engagement.
Toast is also ahead of the herd when it comes to third-party integrations. Users of the POS are able to opt into a variety of beverage-focused add-ons like Craftable, which allows bars to track every bottle, and Pour My Beer, which lets them offer self-serve pours.
As is the case with systems like Square and Lightspeed, lots of Toast's optional add-ons come at a premium, which can bump up the overall price of the system. Learn more about Toast's costs below.
Toast POS Pricing
- Toast Starter Kit – Toast's most basic plan starts at $0 a month and features guest engagement tools like email marketing and loyalty cards. It also facilitates online ordering and delivery services but lacks more advanced software options and is limited to one terminal.
- Toast Point of Sale – This next plan offers core functionality, flat-rate processing, and a custom hardware configuration, for $69 per month.
- Toast Essentials – Toast Essentials offers all the features included in the Starter package, well as custom hardware figuration and access to the Toast TakeOut app. This plan will set you back $165 per month.
- Toast Growth – Toasts' most extensive plan includes sophisticated marketing, payroll, and scheduling tools, as well as over 100 useful optional integrations. Prices are available on request.
Why Do Bars Need POS Systems?
In a time where it's becoming increasingly hard to run a hospitality business like a bar, relying on old-school cash registers and paper records is no longer an option. Here are some ways drink-serving businesses can benefit from POS systems.
- Greater efficiency – POS systems make it easier to conduct a series of tasks with greater efficiency. From stock control to customer management, useful POS features can streamline these processes and save staff precious time.
- Better customer experience – POS systems can also improve the customer experience in a number of ways. For example, streamlined order taking leads to shorter wait times, and cross-channel selling features can make the buying experience much more convenient. Since satisfied customers are more likely to make repeat purchases, the benefits of these features are also likely to ripple across the business.
- Increased revenue – Point-of-service systems help users to take orders and handle payments in a slick and time-efficient manner. Aside from making life easier for customers and servers, this can dramatically benefit a business's bottom line by reducing service time and boosting productivity levels.
- Important insights – If your business is interested in driving up growth even further, lots of modern POS systems offer advanced CRM and reporting tools that allow you to unlock valuable, data-driven insights. This information can give business owners a clearer picture of their bar's performance, helping them to retain their competitive edge.
- Reduced errors – When it comes to handling orders, human error is unavoidable. However, by reducing the need for servers to enter information manually, POS systems help to keep mistakes to a minimum.
How to Choose a Bar POS System
While some POS systems are solid across-the-board, some may be more catered to the specific requirements of your bar. So whether you run a brewery or a dive bar, here are some key factors to consider when determining which POS system is best for you.
- Business speciality – If your bar has a unique concept, it's likely you’ll be able to benefit from targeted POS software. Consequently, when browsing the market it's advised to look for features that will be useful to your type of venue.
- Business size – Different sized businesses will require different features and packages. Therefore, when comparing the solutions, it’s important to take the size of your bar into account.
- Your clientele – The demographic of your bar will also help determine which POS system will be right for you. For instance, are they more likely to benefit from contactless payments and QR-code coupons? Or will more basic features suffice?
- Your budget – If your business is operating on a tighter budget, it's best to look for systems that offer free or affordable plans.
Verdict - What's the Best Bar POS System?
Finally, if you operate a product-oriented establishment like a brewery or wine bar, TouchBistro POS is another worthy contender. Its sophisticated inventory tracking system makes light work of stocking individual items, and its user-friendly interface has the potential to considerably reduce service time.
These options are all strong, but if you’d like to get matched to a perfect provider our POS comparison tool can provide you with custom quotes in minutes. The questionnaire is quick and easy to fill out and you'll have no obligation to move forward with any providers.