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Ergonomic Bar Design for Maximum Bartender Efficiency and Profits

How does ergonomic bar design create maximum bar profitability?

Ergonomic design in bar equipment plans increases bartender efficiency and maximum bar profits.


As I’ve written before, bars are factories that make drinks. Manufacturing companies invest heavily in making their factoriesIMAGE OF ASSEMBLY LINE efficient and this includes implementing the principles of ergonomic design (as seen in the Photo at right). Ergonomics is the study of workers and their environment. When you incorporate ergonomic guidelines to maximize worker efficiency, you give yourself a chance to succeed in maximizing profitability. With ergonomic design standards implemented into your bar layout, your bartenders will have far less strain and fatigue, leading you to maximum bar profits. I’ve put together a downloadable sketch for you to see the ideal bar clearances for ergonomic design. Here’s a summary of these design standards:

  • Bar height should be 42” – 45” (1067mm – 1143mm). STANDARD UNIVERSAL BAR CLEARANCES
  • The bar top should be 30” – 36” (762mm – 914mm).
  • The inside edge of the bar top should overhang the bar die by 11” (279mm).
  • The width of the aisle should be 31” – 37” (787mm – 940mm).
  • The height of the highest reachable shelf of the backbar should be 69” – 72” (1753mm – 1829mm). Other stocking shelves can be higher, but these are not functional for bartending – only for stocking, and you should maintain 18” (457mm) from the shelf below.
  • 2-shelf backbar liquor displays should be 9” – 10”W (229mm – 254mm) and each step should be 4” – 5”H (102mm – 127mm).
  • Allow for 18" - 24" (457mm - 610mm) for patrons sitting at the bar (referenced from the outside edge of the bar top).
  • Aisle space directly behind the bar patrons should be 30" (462mm).
  • Drink rails should be 10" - 12" deep (254mm - 305mm) and should be set at the same height as the bar top.
  • Allow for 18" (457mm) standing room in front of a drink rail and 24" (610mm) if bar stools are used.
  • The overall distance between the edge of the bar and the adjacent wall should be 76" - 90" (1930mm - 2286mm).

In terms of aisle sizes, I’ve seen just about everything. Bars designed for small rooms present different challenges, and I’ll be the first guy to tell you not to pass-up an opportunity. Sometimes you have to work with what you've inherited. For the best operating bar, it is imperative to maintain a 36” aisle, especially for bars that utilize barbacks. 

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4.      How Do You Design and Build a Commercial Bar?

5.      What Are The Best Lighting Products for Bars?

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7.      What Is The Best Furniture for Bars?


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