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Best POS For Bars In 2023

A great bar POS system can easily manage tabs, split bills, track inventory, and integrate with your other software programs.

    Shannon Vissers
  • Last updated onUpdated

  • Matt Sherman

    Matt Sherman

    Lead Staff Writer

Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.
bar nightclub pos systems

The best POS for bars allows you to take digital payments, pre-authorize cards to start bar tabs, and manage a lot of bottle inventory. The best bar POS system also includes online ordering, liquor bottle sales, extensive menu management, and liquid inventory management.

We started with an in-depth analysis of 12 different restaurant POS systems. Then, we narrowed the list down to six of the best POS systems for your bar or pub based on bar size, budget, number of employees, and niche offerings such as event catering and hotel management.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For

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  • Best for bars on a budget
  • $0-$60/location/month
  • Monthly contract
  • Best for bars on a budget
  • $0-$60/location/month
  • Monthly contract

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  • Best for busy restaurants with a bar section
  • $0-$165+/month
  • Standard two-year contract with early termination fee
  • Best for busy restaurants with a bar section
  • $0-$165+/month
  • Standard two-year contract with early termination fee

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  • Best for reservations & catering
  • $69+/month
  • Standard multi-year contract with early termination fee
  • Best for reservations & catering
  • $69+/month
  • Standard multi-year contract with early termination fee

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  • Best for multilocation bars & distributors
  • $198+/month
  • Standard three-year contract with early termination fee
  • Best for multilocation bars & distributors
  • $198+/month
  • Standard three-year contract with early termination fee

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  • Best for hotels & cocktail bars
  • $69+/month
  • Custom contract with early termination fee
  • Best for hotels & cocktail bars
  • $69+/month
  • Custom contract with early termination fee

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  • Best for college & neighborhood bars
  • $54.95/month-$84.85/month
  • Contract terms vary by Clover merchant account provider
  • Best for college & neighborhood bars
  • $54.95/month-$84.85/month
  • Contract terms vary by Clover merchant account provider

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

Table of Contents

6 Best POS Systems For Bars

The best POS systems for bars allow you to pre-authorize cards, manage liquid and bottle inventory, create custom food and drink menus, offer time-based discounts for happy hours, and host private events. Here are some of our faves:

How The Best Bar POS Systems Compare

Square for Restaurants TouchBistro Toast Revel Systems Lightspeed Restaurant Clover
Bar software integrations Digital Pour Freepour, Bevcheck, Backbar, BeerBoard, Bar Track, PourMyBeer BarVision, Digital Pour, VinesOS BlueCheck, BevSpot, BeerSAVER, RapidBar Bottle Keeper, TABu, Wine Dispenser, BarPro
Hardware options iOS, Android, & proprietary iOS Android iOS iOS Proprietary
Payment processing fee 2.6% + $0.10 Interchange-plus 2.49% + $0.15 Quote-based 2.6% + $0.10 2.3-2.6% + $0.10
Choice of payment processor No Yes No Yes Yes Yes

Square For Restaurants: Best For Bars On A Budget

Square For Restaurants

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$0-$60/month/location + custom option

Online Ordering


Equipment Cost


Get a free card swiper from Square at no cost when you create a free account. Claim your card reader.


  • No long-term contracts
  • Free and affordable software plans
  • Free online ordering website
  • Easy to use


  • No after-hours support on free plan
  • No built-in perishable/liquid inventory tracking

Square POS system for bars

Square-powered bar online ordering website with pickup and delivery options.

Why Square For Restaurants Is The Best Choice For Bars On A Budget

We believe that Square is the most affordable POS system for small bars based on its $0 entry-level price tag and relatively low-cost Square POS hardware options. Bars that want to take payments at the front of house, at the bar, and at tables can do so without having to pay for each individual POS system.

Square also offers a very affordable kitchen display system to help bars that offer food management orders on touchscreen iPad-based devices, as well as a free online ordering website builder.

Square For Restaurants POS Pricing

Square For Restaurants offers a completely free plan, which includes all core POS features and a free online ordering website builder — in fact, it’s one of the best free restaurant POS systems around.

Square’s free restaurant POS allows for one location and an unlimited number of POS software licenses, so you can use an unlimited number of smartphones, iPads, and Square proprietary POS hardware devices to take food and drink orders and accept customer payments.

You’ll pay an extra $20/device/month for kitchen display systems if you stick with the free plan.

If you expand to multiple locations or need more inventory management/purchase ordering capabilities, Square’s paid subscription plan is another highly affordable option. The $60/location Plus Plan offers multilocation management, more employee management features, and an unlimited number of kitchen display screens.

Square add-ons include:

  • Square Loyalty: Starts at $45/month/location; includes a custom points-based loyalty program
  • Square Marketing: Starts at $15/month; includes text and email marketing and can be used to announce new arrivals, food and drink specials, etc.

Square For Restaurants Bar POS System Features

Smaller bars that need to generate more revenue with less funding and reduce wastage will appreciate these features:

  • Online Ordering: Create a free online ordering site (with an age verification popup for ordering drinks) and take orders for pickup or delivery. If you don’t have your own delivery fleet, use Square’s built-in DoorDash integration to get orders out the door.
  • Order With Google: Integrate your online ordering menu with your Google Business profile so people can find your bar on Google and easily order from there.
  • Time-Based Discounts: Create discounts such as happy hour drink specials and combo meal deals in advance to get people in the door.
  • Kitchen Display System: Reduce server errors and customer dissatisfaction by employing Square kitchen display system software in your kitchens. Cook and expo screens allow kitchen staff to see items and modifiers, while expeditors can check to make sure all order items are ready before sending them out.
  • Auto 86-ing: With inventory tracking turned on, your bar POS system will automatically 86 items that require an ingredient that you no longer have in stock. By offering a substitute before customers order, you’ll increase customer satisfaction and comp fewer items.
  • Third-Party Integrations: While Square doesn’t have built-in perishable and liquid inventory tracking, the company does integrate with software such as Digital Pour so you can track inventory, set reordering optimization levels, and reduce wastage.

Square for Restaurants POS auto-86

Square For Restaurants auto-86 menu items.

Full-service restaurants that have a bar section will appreciate Square’s floor planning capabilities, billing by seat number, and course management (only available on the Square Plus plan).

You can also generate more revenue by selling eGift cards as well as retail items at the front counter and online.

Hardware Cost & Options

Square bar POS system hardware

Square bar POS register and card reader.

Complete hardware kits sold by Square range from $619 for a Square Stand for iPad with a cash register and receipt printer to a $1,389 Square Stand Restaurant Station with a Square Terminal for tableside payments (iPad not included). Square for Restaurants can also run on the proprietary all-in-one Square Register, which retails for $799 (does not include cash register).

Square also offers a mobile restaurant POS kit for $259 and includes an Android-based smartphone, Square card reader, and handheld case so that servers can take tableside orders and payments from the palm of their hand.

Note: You must be on the $60/month Square For Restaurants plan to use the mobile POS kit.

Payment Processing Costs

Payment processing is provided by Square Payments at the following rates:

  • Card-present Transactions: 2.6% + $0.10
  • Card-not-present Transactions: 2.9% + $0.30 (includes Square Online orders and QR code orders)

What To Watch Out For

Square contracts are all month-to-month with no early termination fees.

Square hardware is sold upfront but also offers no-interest financing. The company also has a great hardware warranty that applies whether you purchase your POS hardware from Square or a third-party retailer.

When To Use Square For Restaurants

Square For Restaurants is ideal for:

  • New, low-volume bars & restaurants

Get Started With Square For Restaurants

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Toast: Best For Busy Restaurants With A Bar Section

Toast POS

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$0-$165 plus custom plan

Online Ordering


Equipment Cost



  • Durable Android-based hardware
  • Extensive tipping and bill-splitting features
  • Great menu builder and kitchen display order routing
  • Employee shift scheduling dashboard


  • Long-term contract
  • Must use Toast payment processing
  • Early termination fee

Toast pub POS system

Toast handheld POS system drink ordering.

Why Toast POS System Is The Best Choice For Restaurants With A Bar Section

Toast is a complete restaurant management system, and the software allows you to easily add a bar menu as a separate menu in a dedicated bar section, or add it to an existing restaurant menu. Servers may pre-authorize cards to start a tab or have a patron's bill moved from their bar seat to their seat on the restaurant floor.

We also love Toast's durable, spill-proof Android-based countertop and handheld POS hardware. Servers can easily hold and fire orders, take payments, and print receipts at a customer's table, so they won't have to run back and forth so much in a big, busy restaurant.

Toast POS Pricing

Toast offers three pricing plans. The $0 upfront Pay-As-You-Go plan is only available for restaurant owners who only need one to two POS devices.

Since Toast is best suited for midsize restaurants, most Toast users will need to sign up for the $69/month Core plan or the $165/month Growth plan. The $69/month plan provides core POS functionalities for bars, while the $165/month plan allows for online ordering, takeout, and delivery.

Toast also offers a custom plan for larger/multilocation restaurant owners who want to build a custom hardware and software plan.

Toast Bar POS System Features

Toast’s best features for a busy restaurant with a bar menu include:

  • Menu Builder: Toast’s menu builder allows you to create custom drink menus, schedule drink menu specials in advance, and vary pricing across restaurant locations. You can create drinks as a composite of individual ingredients to help with liquid inventory tracking and drink prep.
  • Tableside QR Code Ordering: Customers can get their food and drink orders faster with tableside ordering and payments. Once a customer is seated, they scan a QR code for a full (or special drink) menu, place their order, then pay all without having to wait for a server to run back and forth.
  • Tab Management: Toast POS allows servers to combine and split tabs, shift them from the bar section to a table, and place tabs on a house account all from handheld and countertop POS systems. If someone buys a new companion a drink, it’s easy to merge that drink with their existing tab.
  • Kitchen Display System: Toast has one of the best kitchen display systems, allowing you to route only alcoholic drink orders to bartenders or drink stations instead of having to sift through entire orders to find drinks. Since drinks are shown as a buildup of ingredients, bartenders won’t have to remember how to make every drink off the top of their heads.
  • Loyalty Program: Toast has a fantastic loyalty program that allows customers to sign up automatically when they pay. Allow customers to collect points on restaurant items, drink items, or both, and restrict what they can redeem points on.

Restaurants and bars that struggle to manage employees will appreciate Toast’s team management products. Toast’s scheduling software is especially useful for when bar employees want to swap shifts or pick up some extra ones. Each employee has their own profile and can independently swap shifts with each other or ask for them to cover their shift, then submit the change request to a manager for approval. Miscommunication will be minimized, and all your shifts will be covered.

Toast bar POS system

Toast bar employee scheduling management software.

Hardware Cost & Options

Toast handheld POS system Toast Go 2

Toast Go 2 handheld POS system.

Toast offers a Starter Kit for individuals on the free Pay-As-You-Go plan and the paid Core plan. You are required to purchase a Starter Kit if you’re on the Pay-As-You-Go plan.

If you need more POS hardware than the 1-2 POS terminal Starter Kit, you must sign up for the Core plan or higher.

The Starter Kit includes a handheld POS ($627) or countertop POS ($875), plus a router and card reader. You can add on other hardware, like a KDS or guest-facing display, at a reduced price if you bundle them all together.

Note that Toast KDS and Toast Go have additional monthly service charges.  

Optionally, you can get a free starter kit if you pay a higher payment processing fee. However, we generally recommend that if you can afford it, purchase your POS hardware upfront. The lower payment processing fees will save you money in the long run.

Payment Processing Costs

You are required to use Toast’s in-house payment processing no matter what software plan you’re on. Payment processing varies according to your plan.

Individuals on the Pay-As-You-Go free POS plan will pay a 2.99% + $0.15 processing fee for in-person payments. On the $69/month Core plan, you’ll pay 2.49% + $0.15 per in-person transaction.

If you’re on the Growth or a custom plan, you’ll get a custom payment processing rate. That rate will depend on your business’s time in business, average transaction amount, and sales volumes.

What To Watch Out For

The standard Toast contract is a minimum of two years. If you leave your contract early for any reason, you will likely have to pay an early termination fee.

Though we don’t normally recommend systems with long-term contracts, Toast POS is such a high-quality system that we believe most businesses will not regret committing to Toast for two years.

When To Use Toast

Toast is ideal for:

  • Established, high-volume bars & restaurants

Get Started With Toast POS

Read our in-depth review

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TouchBistro: Best For Reservations & Catering


Visit Site



Online Ordering


Equipment Cost

Call for quote

Limited time offer. Save up to $7,000 on a new restaurant POS if you switch to TouchBistro before 12/31/2023. ($3,000 for Canadian customers) Get Started with TouchBistro


  • Great upselling capabilities
  • Built-in branded reservations app
  • Take catering orders, deposits, and service fees
  • Excellent loyalty program


  • Occasionally spotty customer support
  • Average inventory management
  • Early termination fee

TouchBistro bar POS system

TouchBistro customer bar tab management.

Why TouchBistro POS System Is The Best Choice For Bar Reservations & Catering

We love TouchBistro for bars that offer reservations and catering because this POS system has a built-in reservations web and mobile app available (most other systems on this list do not), plus catering features like delivery zone service charges and house account payments.

Restaurants that focus on pairing food and drink together for a heightened tasting experience will appreciate TouchBistro's elegant upselling capabilities.

TouchBistro POS Pricing

TouchBistro starts at $69/month for one POS if you sign up for annual billing. You’ll have to contact TouchBistro for a quote on a plan with more than one POS system.

TouchBistro also offers add-ons such as:

  • Online Ordering: $50/month; includes your own online ordering web-based app for all your restaurant locations
  • Reservations: $229/month; includes reservations app that integrates with your online ordering site and Google business profile
  • Gift Cards: $25/month; includes physical and digital gift card sales
  • Loyalty: $99/month; includes customizable loyalty account builder that integrates with your online ordering site
  • Marketing: $99/month; includes promotion, email marketing, and customer engagement reports

Note: While TouchBistro’s reservations app does seem pricey at first, you get complete control over how your reservations app looks, and you don’t have to pay any per-reservation fees. Creating your own custom-branded app instead of using a generic reservations app integration is likely to save you money every month.

TouchBistro Bar POS System Features

TouchBistro’s best bar POS system features (besides being very server and cook-friendly) are its excellent reservation system, upselling capabilities, and catering management.

Upscale bars that accept reservations will find these unique TouchBistro features useful:

  • Reservations App: TouchBistro’s Apple-based reservations app allows you to add a customizable reservation system to an existing website–or you can use it as a standalone app. Set up how far in advance someone can make a reservation, reservation time slots, when you’ll stop taking reservations, and more.
  • Google Reservations Widget: People who are searching for bars and restaurants around them will be able to reserve a table at your location(s) directly from your Google business profile page.
  • Waitlist Management: TouchBistro’s built-in waitlist management function allows customers to add themselves to a waitlist. It also allows servers to monitor table turnover times, send customers a text when their table is available, and balance between reserved parties and walk-in patrons.
  • Customer Reminders: When a customer has an upcoming reservation, you can send them a text reminder so they don’t forget and you don’t end up reserving tables that sit empty.
  • VIP Customer Settings: When making reservations, customers can specify their dining preferences, including any allergies or food aversions, so that servers can give a great customer experience from the moment they walk in the door.

TouchBistro POS system for bars

TouchBistro reservations and seating management in POS system.

TouchBistro’s upselling features are best for bars with sommeliers or any restaurants that focus on food and drink pairings. As sommeliers make food and wine pairings, these matches can be saved in TouchBistro. When a customer orders one item (such as a glass of Chardonnay), ideal pairings pop up for servers to suggest.

Bars that cater can have customers create their own accounts, pre-authorize their cards, charge a catering deposit, and create custom delivery zone fees with associated delivery fees. You can also create special catering menus or custom one-time menus for specific events.

Hardware Cost & Options

TouchBistro hardware

TouchBistro iPad-based POS hardware.

TouchBistro’s POS software, kitchen display system, and customer-facing display software run on iPads. Most models, including iPads Minis, are supported. TouchBistro offers custom-quoted hardware bundles or you may source your iPads, cash drawers, and card readers on your own.

Payment Processing Costs

TouchBistro integrates with several payment processors, including Square and Worldpay. The company also offers its own in-house payment processor, TouchBistro Payments (powered by Chase), which offers cost-plus pricing.

What To Watch Out For

TouchBistro does not state on its website whether its contracts are month-to-month or if there is an annual or multi-year commitment. Usually, this means a long-term commitment.

Check your TouchBistro quote to see your contract length and to verify if it is possible to leave your contract early if you are not satisfied. Always start out with a monthly plan when possible.

TouchBistro does charge an early termination fee, so try to negotiate for a short-term plan or make extensive use of demos before signing on with this software provider. You may also be able to get the fee written out of your contract before signing.

When To Use TouchBistro

TouchBistro is ideal for:

  • Established, single-location bars & restaurants

Get Started With TouchBistro

Read our in-depth review

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Revel Systems: Best For Multilocation Bars & Distributors

Revel POS

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Three-year commitment for lowest rate

Equipment Cost

Call for quote


  • Comprehensive retail and restaurant management
  • Online sales for delivery with order tracking
  • Single-location to enterprise management solution
  • Customer pricing tiers for retail and B2B customers


  • Potential long-term contract
  • Pricing not transparent
  • Early termination fee

Revel pub POS system dashboard

Revel POS bar management dashboard.

Why Revel POS System Is The Best Choice For Multilocation Bars & Distributors

Revel is a highly customizable POS system with retail, restaurant, and wholesaler capabilities. This software is also built for multilocation bars that need to manage a lot of inventory, employees, menus, and pricing across several locations, with access restrictions to ensure employees can't mess with settings at other locations.

Revel allows you to rent out your establishments for events such as birthday parties and private wine tastings. You can also schedule events and sell tickets for things like cocktail creation classes or an exclusive night of wine and chocolate pairings.

Revel POS Pricing

Monthly pricing starts at $99/month/POS terminal, with a two-terminal minimum and a three-year processing contract with Revel Advantage, Revel’s in-house payment processor. However, you can also buy Revel month-to-month or with an annual term. Add-ons such as loyalty and delivery will raise your monthly cost.

There’s also a one-time implementation fee of $674, which covers personalized hardware implementation, software customization, and employee training.

Revel Systems Bar POS System Features

Revel’s most unique features for bars that are also specialty drink distributors (whether they’re distributing smaller quantities to restaurants or larger quantities to stores) include:

  • B2B Customer Accounts: Restaurants and stores may be assigned to their own B2B account that you can invoice, ship to, and take returns from. Define B2B customer groups so you can offer different pricing tiers, custom pricing, and bulk discounts.
  • Online Sales: From your own Revel-powered website, you can sell both food and retail items for pickup and delivery. Create custom ordering workflows for different types of orders.
  • Alcohol Delivery: Create custom shipping settings for compliant alcohol shipping, offer delivery tracking, monitor delivery drivers (when doing local delivery), and require a signature upon delivery to ensure that your B2B customers get their packages and you remain compliant with local liquor laws.
  • Purchase Order/Invoicing: Revel makes it very easy to import vendors, turn purchase orders into invoices, and choose preferred vendors to send automated purchase orders to when stock levels get below par levels.
  • Inventory Management: Revel has built-in perishable, liquid, and retail item inventory management that syncs across multiple locations. You can send bottles between locations with transportation tracking, measure liquid inventory wastage, and more.

Revel pub POS system

Revel POS pricing tiers by customer group.

Revel also integrates with Vine OS, a wine club management software, so that you can start your own wine club, offer members-only wines, start a wine allocation program to serve special limited-availability wine, and allow customers to log onto their own membership accounts to switch up their monthly order.

You may use Revel to set up an appointment booking system with blocked-off reservation times so that customers can request or schedule a venue rental, private tasting, or special event. You can staff to events, charge service fees and deposits, and create auto-gratuity charges.

Multilocation bars will appreciate Revel’s extensive multi-location inventory management capabilities, employee restriction settings, and the ability to duplicate locations and edit things like pricing, stock levels, and menu offerings in bulk.

For bars that face a lot of theft or customer disturbances (or want to avoid these things in general), Revel integrates with several security service software systems. You can monitor transactions, product receiving, and bar floors with your POS system and integrated security cameras.

Hardware Cost & Options

Revel POS hardware

Revel POS system hardware.

All Revel software, including POS systems, self-ordering kiosks, customer order-ready display screens (which are great for restaurant bars that sell a lot of takeout orders), and kitchen display systems, run on most iPads.

You may source these, as well as card readers, barcode scanners, iPad stands, and cash drawers, from Revel with a custom quote. Alternatively, you may get these items on your own if you get written permission from Revel to do so. The company asks you to get permission beforehand that way you don’t accidentally buy incompatible hardware.

Payment Processing Costs

Revel’s in-house payment processing service, Revel Advantage, requires bar owners to get a personalized payment processing quote.

You also have your choice of a compatible payment processor, usually for an added monthly fee, so you can shop around for the lowest rates. Larger businesses can really benefit from finding a customized payment processing rate (ideally not flat-rate but another credit card processing model) that works for their sales volumes.

What To Watch Out For

Your Revel contract will likely be at least one year long, and three years if you want the lowest monthly price.

Fortunately, it is possible to purchase Revel without a long-term contract. Make sure you read the fine details of your contract so you know how long you are committing. If you decide you like Revel, you can sign on for a longer contract and get better monthly pricing.

When To Use Revel

Revel is ideal for:

  • Established, multilocation bars & restaurants

Get Started With Revel POS

Read our in-depth review

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Lightspeed Restaurant: Best For Hotel & Cocktail Bars

Lightspeed Restaurant POS Review

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Online Ordering

Essential plan and up

Equipment Cost



  • Great hotel property and restaurant management
  • Highly customizable loyalty program
  • Timed and custom menus for rotating items
  • eCommerce integration to sell special bottles and event tickets


  • Occasional outages
  • Can get expensive

Lightspeed POS system for bars

Lightspeed Restaurant bar POS system liquid inventory management integration.

Why Lightspeed Restaurant POS System Is The Best Option For Hotel & Cocktail Bars

We believe that Lightspeed Restaurant is one of the best POS systems for hotel bars because of its numerous hotel reservation and guest management integrations, online booking website capabilities, and the ability to integrate several restaurants and bars under one Lightspeed Restaurant account. You can create custom dine-in and room service menus, allow customers to order from their rooms with a QR code, and charge everything to their rooms.

Lightspeed Restaurant is great for cocktail bars because it has extensive ingredient-level tracking, a kitchen display system that tells bartenders exactly how to make even the most obscure drinks, and an eCommerce integration that allows you to sell a limited number of cocktail class tickets.

Lightspeed Restaurant POS Pricing

Lightspeed Restaurant offers these plans to bar owners:

  • Starter: $69/month; includes all full-service restaurant/bar features, plus a great loyalty program
  • Essential: $189/month; includes online ordering, tableside QR code ordering, multilocation management, and advanced inventory management
  • Premium: $399/month; includes multiple revenue center support for hotels and open API access so you can create custom Lightspeed Restaurant POS integrations

Third-party integrations (such as hotel management software) and Lightspeed add-ons (such as Lightspeed eCommerce and Lightspeed Kitchen) cost an added monthly fee.

Lightspeed Restaurant Bar POS System Features

For hotels that have one or multiple restaurants or bars, we highly recommend using Lightspeed Restaurant hotel property management software (hotel PMS). With a hotel PMS integration such as StayNTouch or WebRezPro, hotels can:

  • Allow guests to reserve a room on your hotel’s website, check themselves in, and upgrade their room if they want
  • Associate a group of guests with one company or family account and bill that single account
  • Have restaurant and bar tabs follow a customer and get all their order items billed to their room
  • Create custom menus for dine-in, takeout, room service, poolside, and any other ordering touchpoint your guests find themselves at
  • Manage multiple hotel bars and restaurants, either within a single hotel location or several different locations

Lightspeed restaurant POS system

Lightspeed Restaurant POS system hotel management integration.

Depending on your hotel PMS integration, you’ll also be able to manage room cleaning service schedules, rent out on-site venues like ballrooms or conference rooms (which you’ll be able to cater with Lightspeed Restaurant) on an hourly schedule, send reservation reminders to upcoming guests, and more.

Cocktail bars with an extensive number of labels on shelves and a lot of moving liquid inventory will appreciate Lightspeed’s inventory management functions. You can choose your preferred vendors to source bottles from, bulk edit vendor prices and settings, and send automated purchase orders based on your own low-stock settings. Purchase orders can either be sent via email or webhook that takes you to your vendor’s online ordering page. You can also use one of several liquid inventory integrations to find out if someone is pouring heavy if there’s lots of spillage, and which bottles go the fastest.

Lightspeed also has excellent menu management and preparation functions. You can create a timed event, such as a scheduled discount or a limited-time rotating cocktail item menu, as far in advance as you’d like. It’s also possible to create different menus for restaurant and bar sections and set menu items to be a composite of individual ingredients. By creating cocktail items as a buildup of ingredients, your bartenders won’t have to remember every new specialty cocktail you come up with. They’ll see it on Lightspeed’s intuitive kitchen display system or a printed kitchen ticket.

Hardware Cost & Options

Lightspeed Retail POS hardware

Lightspeed Retail POS register, Bluetooth barcode scanner, and online storefront.

All Lightspeed Restaurant software, including the POS system, kitchen display system, and hotel management software, runs on iPads. You may purchase these, plus other hardware, such as card readers, cash drawers, and barcode scanners, from Lightspeed (at a custom price) or integrate your own hardware with the software.

Payment Processing Costs

Lightspeed Restaurants comes integrated with Lightspeed Payments, which offers flat-rate processing at 2.6% + $0.10 for in-person payments and 2.9% + $0.30 for online payments to users on the Essentials and Plus plans.

If you are on the Premium plan, you’ll get your own custom payment processing rate.

What To Watch Out For

Lightspeed advertises monthly pricing but asks all users to get a custom quote. This usually means that you’ll get your own custom contract length, which may be monthly, annual, or longer. The company does charge an early termination fee, so until you’ve felt the system out and decided Lightspeed Restaurant is right for you, spring for a long-term commitment.

To qualify for Lightspeed’s hardware warranty (14 days for Apple products and 30 days for other products), you must verify that you have received your hardware within five business days.

When To Use Lightspeed Restaurant

Lightspeed Restaurant is ideal for:

  • Established, single- or multi-location bars & restaurants

Get Started With Lightspeed Restaurant POS Review

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Clover: Best For College & Neighborhood Bars

Clover POS

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Starts at $0/month


Depends on merchant services provider

Equipment Cost

$49-$1,799 per device


  • Easy to set up
  • Lots of bar integrations available
  • Great handheld POS hardware
  • Multiple payment processor options


  • Must use Clover hardware
  • Potential for bad contracts

Clover bar POS system hardware

Clover Flex handheld POS system tableside payment at bar.

Why Clover POS Is the Best Option For College & Neighborhood Bars

We specifically like Clover for college and dive bars because the software is easy to set up, makes training staff members painless, and allows managers to make changes remotely using their Clover online dashboard. There are lots of durable POS hardware options to accommodate a range of different spaces. You can expand into online food ordering with a Clover online ordering site or Order With Google integration on your Google business profile.

Whether you run a college bar in a cramped space or a family-friendly neighborhood bar that serves pizza to the team after the local Little League game, this customizable system has POS hardware and software for you.

Clover POS Pricing

Small bars and pubs will benefit most from signing up for the Counter Service Restaurant plan for $54.95/month, while larger establishments should sign up for the Table Service Restaurant plan for $84.85/month. (Adding additional Clover devices adds to the monthly fee.)

The above pricing plans apply only to business owners who purchase their hardware and software plans upfront from

Note: You do have the option to purchase your hardware and software from a Clover reseller, which may change the price of your hardware and monthly software fees.

Clover resellers provide bar owners with their own merchant accounts, so bar owners can get custom payment processing fees. Those fees are often better than the flat-rate payment processing fees you get with providers like Square and Lightspeed Restaurant if you make a lot of money every month or have a lot of small tickets.

Read our Clover POS pricing guide for more information on how Clover pricing works and how to get the best deal on your POS.

Clover Bar POS System Features

Most of Clover’s best features come in the form of an add-on app from the Clover app market, but some of Clover’s best built-in features include an intuitive online ordering website builder, a free loyalty program included with your software, and gift card sales capabilities. You can start a little neighborhood loyalty program to keep locals (and their friends) coming to your location, start selling bar food online, and sell gift cards online or in person.

College bars will appreciate Clover’s built-in ID scanner app, so you won’t have to risk serving alcohol to underaged college students. There are also social media automation apps and customer engagement tools to help you capture the attention of younger age groups. Hiring busy college students to work at bars can get tricky, so use a Clover scheduling app like Homebase (which also has an employee app) to keep your shifts covered.

Clover POS system for bars

Clover POS system ID verification at register.

Neighborhood bars will appreciate the ability to easily take phone orders for pickup or delivery with a caller ID app and funnel those orders into a kitchen display system using a kitchen display app. You can also take reservations, charge service fees for large parties, and create auto-gratuity rules. With all these capabilities, you can rent out your bar for birthday parties, neighborhood block parties, school fundraiser dinners, graduation parties, and more.

Hardware Cost & Options

Clover POS hardware

Clover Mini countertop POS system, Clover Flex handheld POS system, barcode scanner, cash drawer, and card reader.

Clover offers several hardware devices that you can mix and match to create your perfect setup at the following costs if you purchase your POS hardware directly from

  • Clover Station: $1,699 (Clover Station Solo) or $1,799 (Clover Station Duo); Clover Station includes full countertop POS system with cash drawer, receipt printer, cash drawer, and (depending on your model) a customer-facing display for customers to confirm orders
  • Clover Mini: $799; Clover Mini includes a smaller register with a built-in receipt printer, card reader, and camera that doubles as a barcode scanner
  • Clover Flex: $599; Clover Flex includes a handheld mobile POS system with built-in POS software, receipt printer, and card reader

We recommend at least a countertop register for a small bar and that you add a handheld POS system for larger neighborhood bars with a lot of seating.

Note: You may pay a different price for your Clover hardware depending on which Clover merchant account provider you work with. Be careful about who you choose.

Payment Processing Costs

If you purchase your system from Clover directly, you will pay a flat rate of 2.3% + $0.10 on all card-present transactions and 3.5% + $0.10 for all card-not-present transactions (includes online orders, orders from third-party delivery platforms, and phone order payments.)

Various other Clover resellers may have different payment processing rates and structures, some of them predatory. This is one of many reasons why we recommend researching different Clover providers to get the best rates for your bar. It’s safest if you go with one of these best Clover resellers.

What To Watch Out For

Clover is sold by numerous providers, and not all of them are high-quality. Some of them may charge sneaky hidden fees or encourage you to sign an expensive equipment lease or provide horrible (even nonexistent) customer service. Make sure to avoid Clover POS scams when purchasing your Clover POS setup.

When To Use Clover POS

Clover is ideal for:

  • New, single-location bars & restaurants

Get Started With Clover POS

Read our in-depth review

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Our Methodology For Choosing The Best POS System For Bars

To find the best POS system for bars, we researched 12 different restaurant POS systems based on pricing, POS hardware offerings, perishable and liquid inventory management capabilities, bar-specific integrations, and extra features that allow bars to rent out their spaces, host private events, and cater offsite events.

We also looked for POS systems that fit the needs of niche bar types, such as hotel bars and bars that distribute house-made or imported bottles.

We included only POS systems that offer built-in card pre-authorizations, online ordering capabilities, retail item sales for selling bottles and merch, menu management, and kitchen display system software.

Learn more about how we rate POS systems at Merchant Maverick.

Why We Don’t Recommend These Bar POS System Options


Lavu is an iPad POS system for restaurants that also has features for bars. Unfortunately, Lavu customers have reported being pressured into signing a three-year equipment lease with an ETF. Leasing makes your POS equipment way more expensive than it should be and ties you to the POS company for longer than you might like. If you do buy a Lavu POS system, we recommend buying it directly through Lavu and paying for it outright rather than leasing it.

NCR Silver

NCR Silver is another iPad POS system for restaurants that has solid features but also has the same issue as Lavu–a three-year processing contract and equipment lease. However, it may be possible to purchase NCR Silver from a partnered processor that can provide month-to-month pricing and let you buy your hardware upfront.


Harbortouch is yet another tablet-based POS system for bars and restaurants that has decent software features but is plagued with complaints of restrictive, long-term contracts and an overall lack of transparency in its processing contracts. For this reason, we cannot recommend Harbortouch as a pub POS option.

6 Must-Have Features For Bar POS Systems

Today’s pub and bar POS systems offer much more than just the ability to take payments. A specialized system with bar-specific features will do so much more for your business than a general POS would and might even outperform any of the best POS systems for restaurants.

The following are essential features when it comes to POS systems for bars, especially if you’re keeping the cost of restaurant point of sale in mind.

1. Flexible Menu Scheduling

Most bars’ offerings and prices change from time to time, either over the course of a day or a year. For example, you might have special happy hour pricing, game-day specials, seasonal drinks, etc.

Having a POS that can accommodate these changes automatically means servers won’t have to remember all the specials or forget to charge the happy hour price instead of the regular price. Menu pricing control is vitally important to have if your bar also serves food.

2. Off-Hours Customer Support

Bars don’t operate during the same hours as most businesses, and you could potentially have issues with processing payments at 12 AM–ideally, you need 24/7 support on your POS system.

Customer service needs to be responsive and helpful, any time of day or night, so you can get your system back up and running ASAP whenever problems arise. Your POS system should also have an “offline mode” that will keep your POS operational even if the internet goes down.

3. Inventory Management

A bar with a strong POS inventory management system can track the alcohol poured in every cocktail and alert you when supplies of any ingredient are low. They can also store drink recipes, report on the best-selling drink orders, and let you see your stock in real-time.

The best bar POS systems can integrate with third-party bar drink management software, including specialized keg-tracking software and liquor inventory management systems. Of course, there are also laws regulating the purchase and sale of alcohol. You should have a way to track all the information you need to stay compliant, including supplier information, purchase orders, etc. A shipping integration would be a nice feature for these purposes.

4. Employee Management

Spills, theft, and yes, on-shift inebriation are all problems bars must deal with when it comes to their staff. But even if you trust your bartenders implicitly, you can still benefit from using employee management software. Modern POS systems can double as employee management tools, letting you do things such as set individual user permissions and generate reports to see who is making the most sales, who is bringing in the most tips, who is comping the most drinks, etc.

At the very least, a POS should have basic time-tracking capabilities that let you set shifts and have employees clock their hours, but the best mobile POS systems make it easy for employees to clock in and out, take payments anywhere in the bar, and help customers quickly.

5. Tabs & Suspended Tickets

Naturally, you’ll want to be able to set up and track customer tabs via an “open ticket” or “suspend” function.

Preferably, the system should have a pre-authorization feature that saves your customer’s card as soon as you start their tab. A larger bar also needs the capability to merge and transfer tickets between servers and split a tab among multiple people, especially if you serve food and/or bottles of wine.

6. Good Reporting Features

A POS with good reporting features lets you track your bar’s sales and other metrics so that you can measure your business’s performance, see areas for improvement, and make important business decisions. For example, POS reports can show you the most popular drinks and which hours are busiest, so you can stock up and staff accordingly. Modern cloud-based systems will generate detailed POS reports on your daily sales, inventory, and employees that you can view at any time from any internet-connected device.

Which Bar POS System Is Right For Your Business?

The bar POS system that’s right for your business depends on your business size, offering, and budget. Consider whether you want to serve snacks or full-course meals, if your location is big enough that servers should take orders at tables and not just from behind the bar, whether you want to offer online ordering or a loyalty program, and how much you can afford to pay for your POS.

If your bar serves more than just liquor and peanuts, it might not hurt to check out one of the best POS systems for pizza parlors to see what’s out there. And if you arrived at this article looking for the best liquor store point of sale systems, we’ve got you covered as well.

Once you decide which pub POS system is right for you, you will want to negotiate a good merchant agreement to get the best payment processing rates for your business. You might also consider POS equipment financing if you can’t afford to purchase your POS hardware upfront.

Looking for a more general point of sale solution for your business? Read about the best POS systems for small business.

FAQs: Best POS System For Bars

Which pub POS system is easiest to use?

The pub POS systems that are easiest to use include TouchBistro, Square, and Clover.

How much is a POS system for a bar?

A POS system for a bar costs between $0/month and $400/month for POS software, and POS hardware can cost between $200 and $2,000, depending on how many countertop and mobile POS terminals you purchase.

In Summary: 6 Best POS Systems For Bars

  • Square For Restaurants:
    • Best for bars on a budget
    • $0-$60/location/month
    • Monthly contract
  • Toast POS:
    • Best for busy restaurants with a bar section
    • $0-$165+/month
    • Standard two-year contract with early termination fee
  • TouchBistro:
    • Best for reservations & catering
    • $69+/month
    • Standard multi-year contract with early termination fee
  • Revel POS:
    • Best for multilocation bars & distributors
    • $198+/month
    • Standard three-year contract with early termination fee
  • Lightspeed Restaurant POS Review:
    • Best for hotels & cocktail bars
    • $69+/month
    • Custom contract with early termination fee
  • Clover POS:
    • Best for college & neighborhood bars
    • $54.95/month-$84.85/month
    • Contract terms vary by Clover merchant account provider
Shannon Vissers

Shannon Vissers

Senior Staff Writer at Merchant Maverick
Shannon has been writing for Merchant Maverick about small business software and financing since 2015. She started writing professionally about business topics in 2005. Shannon has been featured in the Washington Post, Reader's Digest, US News, MSN, Yahoo Finance, Business Insider, and other publications. She has a bachelor's degree in English from San Diego State University and currently resides in San Diego, California.
Shannon Vissers
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