Bar Design Seating Guidelines for Bars & Restaurants

Seating guidelines for bar and restaurant design

What are the bar design seating guidelines and dimensions for restaurant chair and tables?  In commercial restaurant bar design we need to plan for proper seating and aisle clearances.


SEATING DIMENSIONS FOR RESTAURANT CHAIR AND TABLES

Confused about how many seats and tables your bar or restaurant can accommodate? How wide should the aisles be? These are common questions in bar and restaurant design. As you’ll see later in this story, there are many possibilities. Here’s an example of a bar with an adjacent area designed for casual dining and general entertainment. The focus of this discussion concerns the area to the right of the bar, and the question is how many dining seats that space can yield.

TWO APPROACHES FOR LAYING-OUT RESTAURANT TABLES

Architectural plan of dining area with seating for 22
ARCHITECTURAL PLAN OF DINING AREA WITH SEATING FOR 22

To illustrate the issue, I’m going to demonstrate two approaches. The first concept features two tables of six seats each and one table of ten seats, yielding a total of 22 seats. An alternate seating arrangement, shown here, features seven 3’ x 3’ tables with four seats each, yielding a total of 28. On the other side of the bar we’re showing three two-tops along the wall, which yields dining for six. Another way of utilizing that 22’ long space would be as a drink rail for 10, but this wouldn’t be conducive for dining. The same holds true for the banquette seating along the opposite wall, which can seat 14-16. The long banquette and drink rail are great complements to the bar. You may decide to choose one or both, but just realize their limitations.

DESIGN TIP:
When planning for comfortable dining seating, allocate 15 square feet per person.

HOW TO PLAN FOR PROPER RESTAURANT TABLE SEATING

 

To achieve the goal of planning 15 square feet per person, architectural standards are the key to planning bar and restaurant seating. When space-planning, we need to use the following architectural standards referenced in the sketch shown at the right (downloadable below):

  • 2-top table planning: 66” – 78” depth x 24” – 30” width.
  • 4-top table planning: 66” – 78” depth x 48” – 54” width.
  • Access aisles: 18” of space is needed from the backs of chairs on adjacent tables.
  • Customer activity zone: 30” from bar edge on all sides of the bar and 10” from the edge of dining tables.
  • Service aisles: 36” aisles for wait staff and ADA.
Architectural plan of bar and restaurant seating guidelines
ARCHITECTURAL STANDARDS FOR BAR AND RESTAURANT SEATING

My favorite reference book for architectural standards:
https://amzn.to/38q3piJ

 

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