Pictured above: Seasonal cocktails are a hallmark of On the House Mobile Bar in Bentonville. A custom-built camper takes the mobile bar on the road to patrons. Photos provided. Credit: Faith Alexander (@faithalexanderphoto)

 

From bridal showers to wedding showers, bachelorette parties and everything in between from now until the big day, one innovative company is bringing joy and customization to events of all kinds, especially in the area of romance.

 

On the House Mobile Bar is a concept that came to fruition over mimosas at brunch. Owner Jen Houser, who was teaching elementary school at the time, fell in love with the idea of a bar on wheels, and with the execution of the plan with her husband, Jake, her dreams transformed into a reality.

 

“We were all discussing business plans over mimosas, and that morning, my sister showed me a picture of what a mobile bar could look like. My husband and I were inspired and decided to run with it,” Houser said.

 

Prior to opening her own business, Houser was focused on her first passion, molding the minds of the next generation. As she puts it, she never dreamed of leaving her career in teaching before this concept but has loved every minute of her new calling of celebrating life with her customers.

 

“I love being my own boss now, and what I love even more is that our business, specifically, is centered around constant celebration. Any time someone hires me, it is for a celebration. Whether it is celebrating something in their corporate life or for a wedding, it is an incredible opportunity to celebrate joyful times,” Houser said, expressing gratitude for her customers that include her business in their special moments.

Photo Credit: Faith Alexander (@faithalexanderphoto)

The summer-made business plans were executed early on, allowing for the Housers to open On the House in October 2022. With a unique name, On the House was created as a way to showcase the finer areas of group gatherings. Offering customized plans, customers are afforded the chance to offer whichever drinks they want to at their events without guests having to pay anything.

 

With the creation of the brand and concept having a relatively short start-up period, Houser said she and her husband decided to create the camper themselves rather than try to convert a camper. This is partly due to how tall she and her husband are but also because, like the menu offerings, building it themselves made way for an area completely personal and unique.

 

Houser, who has a knack for visual balance and other design qualities, said she found the entire process of building her business to be enjoyable and found inspiration in carefully selecting each item for the camper. The camper stands up higher than a traditional model and was created to be aesthetically pleasing as much as it was created to be functional.

 

“We did so much research when putting On The House together. I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like, and because there aren’t any other food trucks in the area that have this look, I knew I wanted to make it as luxurious as possible,” Houser said.

 

Since the camper was custom built, there truly is nothing like the Housers’ business, and the elements inside of the camper have proved to be an excellent way for their company to stand out from traditional vendors.

 

As individual style and taste transferred into On the House, Houser said she was drawn to the idea of allowing her customers to select menu items based on their personal preferences, their tastes and the seasons.

 

“When I first began to create the drink menu options, I thought about what the flavors of the seasons really are. The flavors allowed me to create twists on classic cocktails and incorporate them into our own creations,” Houser said.

 

While On the House serves all events, it has become increasingly popular in wedding season because traditional bar offerings at venues are limited and open bars add a significant price increase to the big day. In an effort to keep the day elevated and personalized, On the House steps in with packages that keep the stress surrounding the bar at an all-time minimum.

 

With menu options for each season, flavor has always been the source of inspiration for Houser. On the House features multiple fan favorites. One of the most unforgettable and delicious libations is the pineapple coconut margarita, which Houser said has continued to be a huge hit at spring and summer weddings. For autumn events, Houser said the biggest hit on the menu has been anything with apple cider, including the gin-based Honeycrisp cider and the whiskey-based bourbon ginger cider.

 

Every plan comes with a full spectrum of service that covers everything from supplies and setup to insurance and decor. For any event, two hours of service are required, and additional bartenders and hours are available. From there, the kind of alcohol and the amount of ingredients served all plays a role in pricing.

 

“Something I learned when starting this business is that when people are going to an event, they are most likely hoping for an open bar,” Houser said. “On the House is able to take care of that need for our customers, and it helps them not have to worry about the stress that comes from calculating those needs.”

On the House offers customized plans that range from beer and wine to cocktails. Photo Credit: Faith Alexander (@faithalexanderphoto)

Packages include a beer and wine package, a happy hour package with customer selections of beer, wine and two crafted cocktails, and the happy hour deluxe, which consists of beer, wine and four crafted cocktails.

 

“I specifically help our clients calculate how much alcohol needs to be ordered for the specific drinks they have selected. I also help them by picking up everything for them. I bring it to the event, and I make sure to provide everything needed to create the cocktails,” Houser said. “I want this part of their event to be stress-free, and I feel like we do a really good job of ensuring that.”

 

Houser said that this plan creates an environment where not just their customers, but also their customers’ guests can truly enjoy the unique beverages offered. She said all packages include non-alcoholic beverages, and On the House also offers several mocktails.

 

Currently, the seasonal mocktail menu includes three excellent options, including a Shirley Temple and a Christmas punch with orange, grape and pomegranate juices, lemon-lime bubbles, a grapefruit wedge, an orange slice, and pomegranate arils. The mocktail menu also offers a cranberry bubbly with grape and cranberry juice, lime, and bubbles.

 

While most clients choose drinks based on the seasonal offerings, Houser is willing to work with clients who may have another beverage in mind. With Houser’s expertise, clients are also able to select drinks that will pair well with the food that will be served. From start to finish, Houser’s focus remains on making sure the drink portion of the event goes off without a hitch, and because of this, her company has only increased in popularity.

 

“One time, we did a Harry Potter themed wedding, and with this in mind, we worked with our clients to base the cocktails off of that theme,” Houser said, adding that the cocktails were made in shades of gold with edible glitter added to create a unique finish.

 

While themed weddings and micro-weddings are continuing to rise in popularity, Houser has had the opportunity to learn how to serve in a variety of capacities, depending on the event. She credits her education to one of the largest boutique event planning firms in the state and its owner, Emily McClain at Aura Events + Rentals.

 

“We both worked on a micro-wedding together this past year, and it was so beautiful and quaint on the bride’s family’s property. I love this trend; it is equally as simple as it is beautiful and intentional,” Houser said.

Photo Credit: Faith Alexander (@faithalexanderphoto)

While Houser’s business is one of a kind, she said she is constantly looking up to vendors of all kinds in the area who use their individual expertise to create the vision of the client’s dream wedding or event.

 

“I have loved working with all the vendors that we have worked with so far. We have always had a positive experience,” Houser said.

 

A couple of these vendors have included spotlight venues that were undeniably inspirational to Houser as On the House entered the event and wedding space a couple of years ago. Country Manor in Rogers and the Mansion at the Orchard in Bentonville are two venues that have been instrumental in Houser’s journey.

 

“Tammy Wortham, owner of Country Manor NWA, and I have worked together a lot, and her communication has helped us determine what works best for us both,” Houser said. “The Mansion at the Orchard was bought by its new owner, Jess [Thibodeaux], around the same time we were starting out. She’s always been a huge help in sharing her venue with me.”

 

Outside of many of the incredible wedding and event spaces northwest Arkansas has to offer, Houser also credits much of her success to her mentor, Justin Malonson, who is also known by his business name, the Sous Chef.

 

“Justin is so successful, and although he has some bar experience, his main focus has remained on the food he offers. Whenever he has referrals, he always sends them our way, which is something I appreciate so much,” Houser said.

on the house

From start to finish, On The House can handle every aspect of providing bar service to guests. Photo Credit: Faith Alexander (@faithalexanderphoto)

According to Houser, On the House had a great breakout year for its first season, with a total of 32 weddings and events served, and saw that success grow, with 58 weddings and events in 2023. With the growth of her business booming, Houser encourages those interested in hiring On the House to book as much in advance of the event as possible, since the calendar is filling up faster each year.

 

“I want to say thank you to everyone for our success and for believing in us. Thank you all for trusting us to serve at your past and upcoming events and for supporting us,” Houser said.

 

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