"The new reality is that everything costs more. The new reality is your customers demand premium products," said Warrener. "Just the way it is."
He spoke to a standing-room-only crowd about the best ways to price beverages, counseling bar managers to lower profit margins for higher priced drinks in order to encourage consumers to trade up. "People are going to say, 'I appreciate that that's a really fine product, but I'm not willing to pay $17 to drink it.'"
Expensive spirits, fresh squeezed juices, a dizzying array of beers to choose from, it can be overwhelming for a bar manager trying to find the right mix. Taffer said the biggest mistake an owner can make, however, is to make excuses.
"In the worst of our recession, bars were making money," he said. "Every bar can make money. If they're failing, it's not because of the president or Congress or Ukraine. It's because of them. And if you own failure then you'll own success. Excuses destroy success every time."
—By CNBC's Jane Wells. Follow her on Twitter @janewells.