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February 15, 2022

Bars are among the most popular businesses in the food and drink industry, and for good reason. They offer a space for patrons to get an alcoholic beverage and mingle or watch the game. When it comes to restaurants (be it a pub or an upscale establishment), very few would deny that the bar is one of its staples. Along with location, design is the most important part of opening a bar. There are an array of factors to take into account regarding bar design, including layout and furniture arrangement.

Preparations for bar design can be as exciting as it is overwhelming. There are many aesthetic and decor ideas to incorporate, as well as necessities that need to be taken into consideration.

Space measurements

With the right dimensions, bartenders need not worry about struggling with their surroundings. Behind a commercial bar, on average, there is approximately 3’ of space. The width recommendation of this aisle should be between 31” and 37”. However, if you have barbacks, you need to be on the larger end because barbacks require extra space to carry out their tasks. Sustain a 3’ or 36” aisle and your barbacks will have all the room they need to work.

Generally speaking, a commercial bar ranges from 20” to 30” wide, including the drink rail on the bartender’s side. When it comes to the bar counter depth, the average in commercial bars is 25”.

With restaurant bars, you can have either a full-service bar or a partial-service bar. The former allows people to sit at the bar and enjoy their drinks. The latter involves your bartenders preparing drinks and the servers delivering them to the tables. Setting up a bar does not necessarily require a large space. All it needs is proper planning and fitting interior designs.

For information regarding the costs of bar construction, read Cost of Building a Commercial Bar.

Deciding on decor for your bar design

When selecting bar decor, decide on a theme and ensure that the decor matches your brand. Some helpful tips to aid in this element of bar design include the following:

  • Choose the right lighting. Lighting is crucial, so try experimenting with different dimmers and styles of lighting. Bars are typically dimly lit, but in seating areas, overhead lighting should be present above the tables.
  • Acquire sturdy and attractive furniture and tabletops. If there is room in your budget, invest in stain-resistant tabletops and chairs to protect against spills. Additionally, make sure that the furniture matches the theme of the bar and that it fits in the space.
  • Include suitable wall art. Whatever theme you want for your establishment – be it casual or something more high-end – the decor will help achieve it.
  • Install aesthetic decor and fixtures. Aesthetic decor and wall art can help establish a visually appealing bar. Customers will be more inclined to take photos and post them on social media if your space has a nice design.
  • Choose a type of bar glassware. What you use will depend on the cocktails you plan on serving. Beer and ciders, for example, are typically served in beer drinking glasses. In addition, Moscow mules usually come in a copper cup.

Must-have bar equipment

There are some customary pieces of bar equipment that need to be readily available:

  • Ice bin: Tuck an under-bar ice bin underneath the bar and place it at an ideal height to scoop out of. Make sure it isn’t too low.
  • Glassware: Glassware residing on the back-bar shelf should not exceed 72” or 6’ in height. Shelves used for stocking can be higher, but remember that anything above 6’ loses functionality.
  • Sink: Have a hand sink and a three-compartment sink nearby. While the hand sink does not have to be front-and-center, the three-compartment sink must be.
  • Speed rail: Fill this apparatus with popular liquors. A bottle that is not used at least three times per shift shouldn’t be included.
  • Garnish station: The garnish station needs to be at the same height level as the tops of the bottles in the speed rail. Specifically, at around hand level. To achieve this, install the speed rail in front of the three-compartment sink.

Final thoughts on bar design

There is a lot of ground to cover in bar design projects and it may seem intimidating at first. However, when it all comes together, the final product will be worth it. For additional design consultation services, contact our Toronto construction location. Also, if you want to learn about designing restaurant bars, check out How to Design and Build a Bar for a Restaurant.