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Bar design and interior design, including planning and commercial bar design for those opening or remodeling restaurants or hotels by Cabaret Design Group

How to Plan ADA Seating for Bars and Restaurants

How to Plan ADA Seating for Bars and Restaurants

How do you plan bar and restaurant seating for ADA compliance?

Learn the real facts about ADA compliance for bar and restaurant seating, how to calculate IBC occupancy load and ADA seating.

How to Plan ADA Seating for Bars and Restaurants

Does this image look familiar (below, top)? How about this one (below, center)? If this one (below, bottom) looks less-familiar, this is how we accommodate wheelchairs at bars nowadays and it's something that every bar should have and I'm going to explain why. From your parking lot to your bathrooms and all parts in between, all portions of your commercial building are governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act, also known as ADA.

FAMILIAR IMAGE OF ADA PARKING SPACES

FAMILIAR IMAGE OF ADA RESTROOM SIGNAGE

IMAGE OF ADA ACCOMMODATION FOR COMMERCIAL BARS

When it comes to planning for ADA seating, we have to be aware of what the code says and that it's very specific about the percentage of seating and tables and so forth, that we must dedicate to those who are handicapped.

In the plan shown at right, we'll see that there are a total of three bars, a restaurant and nightclub seating. According to myVARIOUS TYPES OF ADA SEATING IN A NIGHTCLUB RESTAURANT good friend and industry expert, Hank Falstad of Access Technologies Services, the two documents that serve as code for ADA are:

  • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
  • ADA Amendments Act of 2008

these are federal statutes and therefore supersede IBC, ANSI and all local codes. Hank is an architect with many years experience and is a principle of Access, which is a compliance litigation management firm, as it relates to federal statutes with ADA. He also provides plan check services, consulting, auditing, reporting and expert witness testimony, among other things. Hank is really the "Go-To Guy" in this space.

In order to comply with ADA, we need to understand that we have to have accommodations for the handicapped in all areas of this club, including the restaurant and the bar - this is not optional.

When it comes to ADA code, code requires that we have a minimum of one, but not less than 5% of the surfaces dedicatedADA CALCULATION FOR RESTAURANT SEATING to ADA seating. Now in this restaurant, we have 14 tables. 5% of 14 is still less than one, but we have to have a minimum of one table. In this instance, we've exceeded the code by providing two accommodations at these tables over here, and at these tables, we have an area for the wheelchair in the dotted line and a companion seat, which is to the inside, along the bench seat.

Here you'll see the website called 'Tablebases.com,' which has a very thoughtful presentation on ADA seating, as it appliesADA TABLE ACCOMMODATION COURTESY TABLEBASES.jpg to tables. You'll notice that the ADA patron has a 48-inch space that they are allocated and 19 inches of the leg space goes underneath the table. By statute they have to be given a three-foot clearance aisle behind them so that people can pass through the area of the restaurant, what have you, and that these clearances do not overlap. If you look at it in elevation, it looks like this: the ADA patron sits at the table and their legs are underneath it and then the three-foot aisle would be
behind them.

Now with respect to the nightclub seating, here are the tables - we have a total of 22 tables. We only need to have oneADA CALCULATION FOR NIGHTCLUB SEATING accommodation - which is five percent of the surface anyway, and as a matter of fact, we actually have two - we have a 4-top table over here, where two people could sit in wheelchairs, along with two companion seats.

 


When it comes to seating at bars, ADA is very specific that bar seating is to be calculated separately from table seating,ADA CALCULATION FOR BARS even though we have proper accommodations at tables, bars are yet a different type of surface and so the thought is is that the to discriminate against those who are handicapped by putting them at a table, when we have people who are enjoying the experience 
who are sitting at the bar itself. So, the ADA Code requires that bar surfaces are calculated similar to the table surfaces, in that we have a minimum of one accommodation and a maximum of five percent. So, as we see in this particular layout, we have three bars: one has 12 seats, one has five seats and the other has seven - that's a total of 24 seats. According to the calculation, that still only equates to one ADA accommodation.
Now when I laid this seating out for the ADA accommodation on this particular bar (club), I have one that's designated at this L-shaped bar - at the short end. Now you say, well what if two people come in in a wheelchair - now what do you do? Now what a thoughtful bar owner would have probably an extra one, even though one is only required, because in today's litigious society, you know, someone's going to say well why didn't you have two? Look at the size of this place - you have three bars.

Well, a thoughtful and considerate bar owner would have two accommodations for ADA, and one thing that you need toFACTS ABOUT ADA DISCRIMINATION LAWSUITS know the following:

  • ADA is a federal statute - as I mentioned before - and these cases are tried in Federal Courts by federal judges;
  • Plaintiff's legal fees and professional fees are paid for by ADA;
  • Most juries are sympathetic to ADA discrimination lawsuits;
  • Due to the above, bar owners and their architects have no chance of winning these cases.

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DISCLAIMER: This video and description contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support the channel and allows us to continue to make videos like this. Thank you for the support!

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POPULAR DOWNLOADS:

STANDARD BAR CLEARANCES w/ADA:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/6pnjarjnonq0d7t/UNIVERSAL%20BAR%20CLEARANCES%20w_ADA.pdf?dl=0

ADA GUIDE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/a5rldodql5fjq4s/ADA%20GUIDE%20FOR%20SMALL%20BUSINESSES.pdf?dl=0

BAR AND RESTAURANT SEATING GUIDELINES:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/lwni53dohpc4hbd/BAR%20AND%20RESTAURANT%20SEATING%20GUIDELINES.jpg?dl=0

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