What are the Best POS Systems for Bars in 2022?

Our top POS system for bars is Square, closely followed by Lightspeed and TouchBistro.

POS systems help you manage your bar with ease. With table tools, reports, and scheduling, you can ensure your bar runs smoothly.

You can also use our free comparison tool to receive no-obligation quotes from trusted POS providers. Just give us a few brief details and we'll do the rest.

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Square

Clover

Zettle

4.8
4.3
4.0
4.0
3.7
Price

$0/month

Plus: $60/month

Price

From $69/month

Price

From $69/month

Price

Clover Station: $1,199

Clover Mini: $599

Price
  • Card transactions – 1.75%
  • First reader: $29 (additional readers: $79)
Best For

Overall

Best For

Bars

Best For

Restaurants

Best For

Medium-sized Businesses

Best For

Small-businesses

What are the Best Bar POS Systems?

Square

Best for Cost-Conscious Users

Square
Pricing $0/month
Quick overview

Square comes out as the reigning champ in our round-up of the best bar POS systems. Square for Restaurants is an iPad POS system that can be used alongside Square's card terminals to process payments. The interface is incredibly intuitive and straightforward, it almost looks too simple to be comprehensive enough to run a bar. But don't worry, this software has all the features you need, such as menu customisation, self-service, and a kitchen display system.

The system doesn't show you images of products, and the buttons can be difficult to tell apart which can slow servers down. But the app enables you to set up discounts and time promotions, making it easier to ring these up at the right time, without needing to remember every single promotional time or day.

Using the system, you can manage various aspects of your business such as stock, employees, and customers. You can record customer details including their order history, making it that much easier for your staff to engage with regulars. Analytics can be accessed via Square's web dashboard, where you can generate reports around sales, discounts, service charges, voids, and more. Sales reports can be customised by day, team member, and even device.

The ability to build up the system as your business grows makes it easy to scale. You may not want to invest too much in a POS system initially, but if your business needs to expand, you won't find it as much of an investment to purchase add-on features from Square. You can also integrate external apps to deal with accounting, marketing, and customers.

Unlike on other POS systems – such as Clover – you can't pre-authorize bar tabs using Square, which is a drawback as this feature encourages increased spending, engages customers, and delivers great service.

You're not under a contractual obligation with Square, and can cancel anytime. Square for Restaurants is our recommendation for bars, however, if you're a start-up, small business, or just want to dip your toe in the POS waters, you can opt for Square's free app. It has fewer hospitality-focused features but you are able to carry out the main functions of a POS system with it.

Square for Restaurants does lack some features that other hospitality POS systems have, such as advanced inventory management tools. You will need to purchase this via a third party provider, incurring extra cost and hassle to ensure Square and the third party seamlessly speak to each other.

At 1.75% for card transactions and 2.5% for manual transactions, Square's processing fees are also fairly steep, and unfortunately, you aren't able to use another processor if you still want to the POS system alongside a lower processing rates. The POS system and card reader must be used together, but this does deliver benefits in the form of a cohesive system and smoother and faster transactions. Despite the steep transactions fees, the free POS app and low-cost hardware balance out the cost, making it a good choice for cost-conscious businesses.

Strengths

Free to install

24/7 customer support

Brilliant analytics tools

Weaknesses

2.75% charge for non-card transactions

Pricing
Package Price Transaction fee
Free (Square) $0 1.75% card-based transaction + 2.5% manual sale
Restaurant $60/month 1.75% card-based transaction + 2.5% for manual sale
Hardware Card readers + stand: $0 - $149

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Lightspeed

Best for Overall Features

lightspeed logo
Lightspeed
Pricing From $69/month
Quick overview

Lightspeed's restaurant POS system promises to make bar management easy and breezy. You can customise floor plans, making it easier for your staff, increasing efficiency, and ensuring customers get their orders quicker. With the ability to create as many menus as possible, you can also assign menus to specific devices.

Monthly transaction limits are non-existent with Lightspeed, so your bar can handle as much volume as possible. Other bar-friendly features include the ability to quickly process orders, create combos, set up open tabs for regulars, and split bills by seat, course, or item. If you want the security of offline mode, you'll have to purchase extra hardware. If there's isn't an internet connection, you still won't be able to process credit card payments offline, which can be a huge drawback.

With Lightspeed, there are tons of integrations you can add to create a comprehensive platform for all your bar business's needs. These include inventory solutions, branded gift cards, and inventory analysis. However, these integrations and add-on features come at an add-on cost, which can mean the system may end up becoming fairly expensive.

In terms of technical help, you'll receive 24/7 support as well as a library of guides, demos, and videos. Although, there's no live chat support, which can be an issue as live chat can often be easier and less disruptive than having to wait around for your call to be solved.

It's also important to note that Lightspeed doesn't work with Windows or Android, so you'll have to be a certified Apple fan to use this system.

Lightspeed's POS app is run on an iPad, and doesn't have purpose-built hardware like Toast, for example. Cloud-based POS systems like Lightspeed come with lots of advantages, such as remote access and convenience, and they tend to be more affordable. However, purpose-built POS system hardware is usually built for the hospitality industry, and is built to withstand factors such as heat and dirt, making it more practical for a bar environment.

Strengths

Easy to use

Powerful and scalable solution

Weaknesses

No live chat support

No offline credit card payments

Pricing
Package PriceWhat you get
Essentials $39 1 register, inventory, reporting & analytics, 24/7 support, dedicated account manager
Plus $119 everything above plus loyalty and gift cards
Pro $289 everything above plus advanced insights and advanced inventory

TouchBistro

Best for Loyalty Schemes

TouchBistro
Pricing From $89/month
Quick overview

TouchBistro has been designed with the hospitality industry in mind, and is bursting with relevant features to help you run your bar. Its offline mode means you never miss a beat, and its easy-to-use interface means your staff can get acquainted with it as soon as it's installed.

TouchBistro comes integrated with CRM (customer relationship management) software to help you promote exclusive offers and one-time deals to help your customers feel special and, most importantly, satisfied.

With mobile and pay-at-table solutions, you can serve your customers much quicker and give them an easier and more efficient way to pay. Loyalty tracking is made easy with TouchBistro, so you can keep enticing your regulars back.

Customers can order throughout the night and settle their bill at the end, giving them a great experience. Bill splitting is easy and straightforward, so there's no issues on either side. The system's "Fast Bar" mode gives your staff the ability to take and close an order in two taps, perfect for the happy hour rush. You can also set specific permissions so staff only have access to exactly what they need – this also helps you track potential thefts or issues.

TouchBistro's lack of a free trial means you can't test it out prior to signing a contract. And once you've signed a contract, it's difficult to get out, which is incredibly frustrating. You have to send TouchBistro 30 days' written notice prior to the end of the contract term – if you don't, your contract is automatically renewed.

Strengths

Fantastic for fostering customer loyalty

Excellent staff and inventory management

Offers a free trial period

Weaknesses

Pricing plan is based on the number of users, making it more expensive for larger businesses

Only compatible with iPads and Apple computers

Automatic contract renewal

Pricing
Package Price (billed annually)What you'll get
Lean $89/month Integrated payments, 24/7 customer support, API access
Standard $159/month Accounting, ecommerce, integrated payments, 24/7 customer support, API access

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Clover

Best for Medium-Sized Businesses

clover logo
Clover
Pricing Bespoke
Quick overview

Clover's bar POS solution has the tools you need to manage a bar smoothly. You can take orders from the bar, table, in the crowd, or even outside, and this flexible ordering gives you greater opportunities for more revenue. Customers can order and pay through a QR code on menus and receipts, providing them with an easy and contactless form of payment.

Clover's POS system has been created for the hospitality industry, so it's chock-full of features designed to provide a great experience all round. You can create custom floor plans, manage staff, streamline payments, and customise orders. You can track sales in real-time and run reports on the Clover dashboard or via the app.

Settling a bar tab is made easier with the ability to pre-authorize credit cards. Payments can still be taken even without an internet connection. Once the internet is back, offline sales will be reconciled.

You can integrate also third party apps to add any features Clover lacks, however, some users have reported that integration does not always work out smoothly, which can be frustrating. Plus, the system unfortunately cannot communicate between multiple locations, which is a drawback if you want all your bars to develop cohesive practices. 

Users have reported that Clover's customer service is helpful, and Clover’s payment processing rates are lower compared to some other POS systems, which is great. 

However, Clover's software only runs on Clover hardware, which means the initial cost can be fairly expensive, as the hardware starts at around $1,000. If you need more than one terminal, the cost will shoot up considerably. So if you do opt for Clover, you should be certain this is the right system for you before you invest.

Clover's hardware itself is fairly sleek, and and the higher-priced tiers include Clover Flex, a handheld POS system that enables you to take orders and process payments without being stuck behind the bar.

Strengths

Easy to use

Intuitive back office management portal

Weaknesses

Limited reporting

Zettle by PayPal

Best for Small Businesses

Zettle by PayPal
Pricing From $29
Quick overview

Zettle by PayPal is our favorite for small businesses. It's simple, easy-to-use, and best of all, the Zettle Go POS app is free! When paired with a Zettle card reader, you can process payments from major debit and credit cards, Apple, Android, and Google Pay. Contactless payments can be taken in less than five seconds, easing up the happy hour rush. Unlimited cash payments can also be taken, and earnings can be deported from the app to the bank within two business days.

Zettle's hardware isn't free, but it is set at a low price point, making it affordable. Other hardware that can be purchased from Zettle includes a stand, cash drawer, and printer – all of which is space-saving, so you can easily set it up without needing tons of space.

Inventory can be managed fairly easily with several tools, such as the ability to edit stock levels and add new items straight from the app. You can track staff productivity through daily reports, and even switch between users without needing to log out. Customer support is available online, on the phone, and via email.

Zettle lacks is the ability to integrate with a customer relationship management (CRM) systems, making it difficult to collect customer data, have a loyalty program, or run marketing campaigns. If this is important to you, a POS system like TouchBistro may be a better fit, as it comes with an integrated CRM system, although it's a lot pricier than Zettle.

Zettle isn't specifically geared towards the hospitality industry, so it also lacks features such as the ability to customize a floor plan and bill splitting. However, it does everything you need if you're just starting out and don't require a very comprehensive system. Zettle is great for start-ups, small businesses, or bars where being mobile with your card reader comes in handy.

Strengths

Free POS app

Low-priced hardware

Easy to use

Weaknesses

No specialist hospitality features

Pricing
Hardware
First reader $29 (additional readers = $79)

What is a Bar POS System?

POS stands for point of sale, and refers to software and hardware that processes payments. POS systems have come a long way from the traditional cash register, and can now carry out a whole range of functions.

Bars (and really anyone in the hospitality industry) can make use of specialised-features such as bill splitting, open bar tabs, and customizable floor plans.

What are the Benefits?

Here are a few benefits of using a POS system at a bar:

Cohesive Practices

Using a POS system means your customers and staff will have a consistent experience.

Customer Service

POS systems offers tools to provide a great experience for your customers. From an efficient ordering process to loyalty programs, a smoother system means a smoother experience for your customers.

Insightful Analytics

Most POS systems offer reporting tools of some kind. These make it easy for you to track sales, inventory, and employee shifts and performance. Having this data on hand makes it easier to make the right decisions on a granular level, as well as the big-picture stuff.

Increased Organization

Organization is next to godliness – or something like that. Staying organized is key to your business's success. Tools such as analytics, and accounting and payroll integrations, make your business more streamlined and effective.

Find the right POS system for your bar with our specialized tool

How Much is a POS System for a Bar?

POS system costs can start from as low as $0, with systems such as Square and Zettle by PayPal offering free apps, although you will still need to fork out some dough for hardware. With both these providers, hardware is priced fairly low, with card readers from both starting at $29.

At the higher end, you can expect to pay from around $69 per month for your POS software, and $1,000+ for hardware.

What to Look for in a Bar POS System

The right POS system for you and your bar will depend on a number of factors. These include:

  • Your budget
  • Your business size
  • The scalability of the system 
  • The customizability of the system 

You might have some unique needs – for example, you may want to have several options to split the bill, if you find that this is a regular occurrence at your bar. In that case, you want to opt for a POS system that will allow for this.

Other needs could be employee scheduling, or the ability to integrate third party apps so you can carry out accounting and payroll functions.

Your required features will be unique to you, so think about what your ideal system would look like and use that to define the parameters of your search.

Need a Quote?

The best POS provider for bars is Square, for its simplicity, price, and features. If you're in need of a more comprehensive system, we recommend Lightspeed, an all-in-one POS system.

With years of experience in recommending POS systems with our expert research, we've identified the best systems in the industry based on factors such as:

  • Business management
  • Stock management
  • Price
  • Customer support
  • Till

If you're not sold on a particular POS system yet, you can use our free quote-finding tool to compare and save on POS systems. Tell us what you're looking for, and we'll match you up with the best POS providers for your needs. They'll then be in contact directly to answer your questions, and offer tailored, no-obligation quotes for you to compare. It's a fast, easy way to find and compare the right options for you.

FAQs

What is a POS system for a bar?
A POS system for a bar is a POS system that includes hospitality-focused features, such as customisable floor plans and menus, and bill splitting.
How to set up a bar POS system
Lots of POS system software comes in the form of an app, which is easily downloadable. Once downloaded on your tablet or monitor, you may need to customize it to your required setup.

More complex POS systems can sometimes come with help from the provider, who will assist you throughout the setup.

Either way, you can reach out to your provider's support team to help guide you through the setup, and even whilst you iron out any initial kinks.

How to use a bar POS system
POS systems tend to be fairly straightforward and easy to use. Most have an intuitive interface, which makes it easy to learn.

There may be an initial steep learning curve if you aren't super tech-savvy, in that case, you may want to opt for a simple POS system.

zara chechi headshot

Zara is a law grad with a penchant for wordsmithing. As Expert Market’s CRM and payroll expert, she relishes researching and writing expert content.