What is the relationship between bar area and IBC occupant load in bar design?




Discover how bar size and occupancy load correlate and how to size a bar.


HOW TO PLAN A COMMERCIAL BAR DESIGN – WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BAR AREA AND PATRON CAPACITY?

How large should a bar be and what is the right size for a given patron capacity? To clarify, when designing commercial bars,RESTAURANT WITH AN OCCUPANCY OF 100 patron occupancy is governed by building codes. However, this video specifically addresses the spatial relationship between bar size and patron capacity. Let’s begin with this example: how large should a bar be for an occupancy of 100 patrons? When designing commercial bars, I think of bar size in terms of the number of bartender stations – not bar area. There are many ways to make a bar fit within a given space. Many venues staff their schedule for 50 covers per bartender, so for a bar with a total occupancy of 100 translates into a 2-station bar. The primary constraint for many buildings is the physical space allocated for the bar, so this is what dictates its shape. Efficient, well-designed bartender stations is the key to designing commercial bars. Consider the following examples:


1. 2-Station Shotgun Bar – shown here, this bar design is becoming less popular. One bartender is utilized during slow periods and an additional bartender works the other station on busy shifts. The bar shown in this example seats eight, is nearly 24’ L and requires 260 sq.ft. of floor space. This bar could easily become a 3-station bar with a return leg on one end.

2. 2-Station L-Shaped Bar – this bar is a popular bar design because it’s more engaging for patrons. This bar is more compact and therefore more flexible to buildings with limited space. This bar seats six, is about 18’ L and requires 180 sq.ft. of floor space.

3. 3-4 Station Island Bar – this is the most popular bar design, as it enables patrons to interact with people on all sides. This bar is approx. 27’ x 18’ (485 sq.ft.) and will accommodate 28 seats at the bar. 

Bars with wait staff are generally serviced by an additional bartender during peak shifts.

For those who are looking for space allocation numbers for facilities planning, here’s a chart that summarizes the above:

                                                           FACILITIES PLANNING CHART FOR BARS
BAR TYPE

OCCUPANCY (patrons)

BAR FOOTPRINT (sq.ft.) SQ.FT./PATRON
2-STATION SHOTGUN 100 260 2.60
2-STATION L-SHAPE 100 180 1.80
3-STATION L-SHAPE 150 260 1.73
3-STATION ISLAND 150 485 3.23
4-STATION ISLAND 200 485 2.43


If a bar’s occupancy is greater than 250, service bars are an excellent approach to handling peak crowds while minimizing fixturing costs. In terms of seating efficiency, the shotgun bar and L-shaped bar require the largest area of at least 30 sq.ft. per patron, while the island bar requires only 17.

TODAY’S TAKEAWAY:

From an overall perspective, the island bar is the most space-efficient design, the most engaging, most popular and therefore, the best overall design.

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DOWNLOADS FOR THIS POST:

pdfADVANCE_TABCO_ADV500_AMS_AMD_PORTABLE_BARS.pdf

POPULAR DOWNLOADS:

pdf2018_UNIVERSAL_BAR_CLEARANCES_WITH_ADA.pdf

ADA GUIDE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

pdfBAR_AND_RESTAURANT_SEATING_GUIDELINES.pdf

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QUESTION — Have a question about Bar Design, Bar Equipment or Anything Else? Post in comments section of this video!

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