In this post I cherry pick a few tips out of two books that aren't really intended for the bartender audience.
The book Street Smart Sustainability: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Profitably Greening Your Organization's DNA by David Mager and Joe Sibilia is not aimed at bars but more small to mid-sized businesses.
I did find a few points useful in it though, so I'll put them together here. These are all directed toward management/ownership.
Involving Employees in the Waste Audit. The book covers a lot on conducting a waste audit. It covers the case for all sorts of businesses but one factor is that employees can be involved in the process- when calculating inflow and outflow of waste, make it public among the staff (if they're not directly involved) and share the findings and improvements. Employees typically enjoy being part of the success of the company.
Commuting is Part of the Bar's Footprint. How many employees drive to work versus biking versus taking public transit? Is there a way to encourage less-environmentally taxing transit, such as providing a place for bikes to be locked safely, or a membership to a closeby gym for employees who bike to work (so they can shower there), or a membership to a bike-sharing program, or public transit rebates?
Ceiling Fans. If your venue has high ceilings, these fans can push hot back back down during heating season.
Insulate Hot Water Tanks and Other Plumbing. If it's not already. You can probably get a free energy audit from your gas/electric provider.
Empower Your Purchasing Agent. If a staff member is doing purchasing, allow them to make something like a five percent increase in budget for decisions that move toward more sustainable products. (As covered elsewhere on CocktailGreen, you can make purchasing decisions not based on production parameters for products like organic, etc., but also on bottle weight and packaging quantity/reusability.)
Quick Notes from Sustainability Made Simple: Small Changes for Big Impact by Rosaly Byrd and Lauren DeMates
This book is geared toward the home consumer, not the business owner. But there were a couple points I wanted to be sure to credit the authors for.
It takes 95 percent less energy to produce an aluminum can from recycled aluminum as it does new aluminum.
Aluminum comes from bauxite that is mined in countries including China, Jamaica, Australia, and Guinea. It's an energy intense and polluting process (as is most mining). On the upside, aluminum can be recycled endlessly unlike most other recyclables that can only be used a few times before it degrades past usability.
When updating your lightbulbs from incandescent to compact fluorescent or (best yet) LED, don't do it all at once and throw out still-useable bulbs. Replace them as they break. (And try to find a place that takes them for recycling; many hardware stores do.)
I feel dumb for not doing this all the time at home, but use pan lids when heating water or other things for boiling/cooking. It helps contain the heat, cooks faster, and retains heat longer.