L SHAPED BAR DESIGN – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

DESIGNING-L-SHAPED-BARS-TN

How do you design an L shaped bar and what do you need to know?

Commercial bar design guidelines dictate the location of the bar gate depends on the handling and cleaning of bar glassware.


HOW TO DESIGN AN L SHAPED BAR

Architectural drawing of typical L shaped bar
ARCHITECTURAL PLAN OF TYPICAL L SHAPED BAR

Space planning is the first step in commercial bar design, whether the application is for restaurants, hotels, country clubs – you name it. How to design an L shaped bar is more dependent on the available space than any other factor. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The first rule in bar design is that glassware flows from left-to-right, so when standing behind the bar, the bartender will always have clean glasses immediately to his or her left and soiled glasses to the left of that.
  • Drink making, the next step in the process, follows the same clockwise flow. Therefore, the handling and cleaning of bar service glassware is the first step in the flow of glassware.
  • This means that the return leg of the L shaped bar is normally placed at the left end (as the bartender is standing with his or her back to the back bar).


    In the L shaped bar shown here, the bartending process works like this:
Architectural drawing of L shaped bar with hinged gates
L SHAPED BAR WITH HINGED GATES ON RETURN LEG
This will result in a net loss of one seat
  1. The soiled glassware is returned by the wait staff in tubs and accumulated in the under bar glass rack, designated here as ‘R/T.’

  2. As the bartender has time, he/she will remove each tub, set it in the corner drainboard and begin to remove the individual glasses, where they are emptied into the dump sink (designated here as ‘DS’), rinsed and then washed, rinsed and sanitized in the 3-bin sink.
  3. Upon completion, the glasses are placed in racks and stored in other underbar glass racks (designated here as ‘GS’), where they will be available for making the next batch of drinks. 

WHERE TO PLACE THE BAR GATE

For L shaped bars, the bar service gate (or bar opening) should be located at the opposite end of the bar, from the return leg, as shown here. There are other layout options available for how to configure the bar equipment on the return leg:

Architectural drawing of L shaped bar with opening
SKETCH OF L SHAPED BAR WITH OPENING
The opening is normally at the end opposite the return leg
  • Another opening could be placed on the return leg, as shown in this alternate example, but the bar would have to be lengthened by 24” and one seat would be lost; a pair of hinged bar gates is the only viable option for securing that end of the bar.
  • The best option for optimal bar design for the return leg is shown in this second example, where a 45 degree corner creates a unique seating arrangement that so many patrons love.

AUTOMATIC GLASS WASHERS vs 3-BIN SINKS?

In commercial bar design, we normally recommend automatic glass washers (in lieu of 3-bin sinks), as they save at least three feet, are much more efficient and produce much cleaner and safer glassware. For those who already have (or are in the midst of implementing) dishwashing facilities on-premise (such as kitchens), every health department we’ve worked with has allowed us to eliminate the 3-bin sink in favor of the automatic glass washer.

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