BAR LIGHTING FOR BAR DESIGN AND WHERE TO PURCHASE

BAR-LIGHTING-IDEAS

What are the top bar lighting products for bar design? Today we’ll discuss the most popular lighting for bar design and recommendations where to purchase them.


Are you a bar owner in search of some new lighting ideas? There are so many lighting products it can be overwhelming. What about that LED lighting everyone is talking about? You see LED lighting all over the internet, but where does one begin to figure it all out?

Photo depicting architectural pendant lighting and LED lighting for liquor bottle displays
PHOTO OF BAR WITH TWO TYPES OF LIGHTING

I don’t know that there’s a clear-cut winner, in terms of brand, but in terms of category I would have to say that LED lighting is the most popular. Most people think of LED lighting as the narrow strips of tiny colored bulbs (called ‘lamps’) frequently seen along soffit edges, under bar tops, etc. Nowadays, however, it seems that nearly every type of fixture has been adapted for an LED lamp, a trend that has emerged over the past five years. There are several reasons for this:

  • The efficiency of LED lighting makes it extremely attractive for bars.
  • As the demand for LED lighting has increased the price has decreased.
  • With increased demand, lighting manufacturers are offering a wider range of products.

LED LIGHTING OFFERS A MAINTENANCE ADVANTAGE

Most bars aren’t set-up with maintenance staffs, so it’s appealing to purchase products that have exceptional durability. For instance, the lowest-rated LED lamps are typically rated at 50,000 hours. This means that an average LED can be operated 16 hours per day for 8.6 years! As I mentioned in a previous edition of Design Buzz (which can be read here), in 2007 the U.S. Energy Code mandated a higher standard that will ultimately require compliancy, which typically occurs when building permits are pulled.

In spite of the appeal of LED lamps, other types of lamps are still commercially available.

TOP 5 LIGHTING PICKS FOR BAR DESIGN

Photo of pendant accent lighting, perfect above bar tops
Pendant lighting is perfect above bar tops

There are a ton of choices when selecting bar lighting, and they all fall into the class known as commercial lighting. It’s important to note that the term commercial lighting means different things to different people.

HOW ENGINEERS SPECIFY LIGHTING PRODUCTS

Among the engineering and architectural community, commercial lighting is a class whose specifications are very sophisticated: every aspect of a typical fixture, including trim, finish and lamp, is specified. This is true architectural lighting and the cost of an average fixture can be several hundred dollars, which is unattractive to most bar owners.

QUALITY COMMERCIAL LIGHTING WITHOUT THE FRILLS

Given the high cost and tedious nature of the above, an intermediate class of architectural lighting was developed for the consumer in mind, which combines styling with limited options, and is manufactured offshore. This type of lighting is much more affordable and to the untrained eye it appears very similar to the aforementioned. Because of the limited options, fixtures in this class can be shipped on fairly short notice, and at a fraction of the price.

MY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR INTERMEDIATE COMMERCIAL LIGHTING

Two companies who do quite an excellent job with this class are Liton Lighting and Con-Tech Lighting. I’m familiar with the product offerings of both companies and specify them frequently. The following are my top picks for bar design, broken down by area:

TOP 5 BAR LIGHTING PICKS

ItemDescriptionManufacturer
 
1.House lightingLiton Lighting
2.Pendant lighting (above the bar top)Con-Tech Lighting
3.Recessed can lighting (above the bar top)Con-Tech Lighting
4.Task lighting (underbar, above equipment)SuperBrightLEDS.com
5.Accent lighting (bar fronts, soffits)SuperBrightLEDS.com

PURCHASING LED LIGHTING PRODUCTS FOR BARS

The lighting listed in the first three categories above is sold exclusively through commercial factory reps and distributors. In fact, this is how many commercial products are marketed. I’m all for saving a buck, but unless you have a thorough knowledge of commercial lighting you will do yourself a huge injustice by attempting to do this on your own, and the manufacturers know this. Even though the products offered by Liton and Con-Tech have a more narrow specification range than true architectural lighting offered by other companies, there is still a great deal to know. So when you are ready to purchase commercial lighting and eventually referred to a distributor, you will receive numerous benefits, such as:

  • The expertise of a true industry lighting professional with years of experience and is willing to share it with you.
  • You will have a greater awareness of the various product options and limitations.
  • Your order will be prepared for you.

A BREAKDOWN OF THE TYPICAL COMMERCIAL LIGHTING PRODUCTS

Photo of 6" recessed LED lighting fixture typically used for house lighting
6″ recessed LED lighting fixture by Liton typically used for house lighting
  • House lighting
  • When I talk about house lighting, I’m referring to lights used by staff before and after working hours. Recessed lighting consists of two components: 1). The housing and 2). The trim. Liton’s 6” LED lighting is very cost-effective. The housing I always specify is known as a remodeling housing, which is a housing that doesn’t have to be mounted to overhead structure. This alleviates you from making a minor mistake in the light’s ultimate location.
  • Pendant lighting
  • Although Liton offers a series of pendant lighting, Con-Tech’s product line is vast, with a large variety of finishes, shapes and sizes, as seen in the above downloadable cut sheets.
Photo of 2" recessed can light by Con-Tech typically used for accent lighting on back bars
Con-Tech’s 2″ recessed can light
  • Recessed can lighting
  • Con-Tech Lighting again leads the way, with a large variety of sizes and trims. In fact, Con-Tech offers recessed cans as small as 2”, as shown in the photo at right.
  • Task lighting
  • If there’s one area where a consumer is fairly safe to purchase commercial lighting without the guidance of a lighting distributor, I think it’s in the arena of LED strip lighting. SuperBrightLEDS.com makes it super-easy for consumers to shop their site. For underbar lighting, white light is what you need, i.e., RGB LED lighting will not provide you with the adequate lighting in this application. Also, SuperBrightLEDS takes it a step further, by offering mounting brackets (you’ll find these under the accessories tab of each product).
Photo of KLUS LED mounting strip, perfect for front bar lighting
KLUS 45-ALU LED mounting strip
  • Accent lighting
  • Again, SuperBrightLEDS.com is a very reputable source for quality LED lighting products. The RGB LED product I specified above is really great for mounting to soffits. If you want to wash the face of your bar front, simply purchase the Klus 45-ALU Strip Channel (shown in photo at right) and mount it to the bottom of your bar top, about 3” inward. 

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT ORDERING COMMERCIAL LIGHTING

Even though intermediate commercial lighting is far simpler, make full use of the lighting distributor. When soliciting a quote for bar lighting from a distributor, he/she will list every piece of hardware that it takes to complete your order. For instance, a typical order for track lighting can include upwards of 20 individual parts! In short, your commercial lighting distributor brings a great deal of knowledge and assistance to the table.

Related Blog Posts:

Bar Remodeling Projects, Design Ideas & Tips 

Wallpaper Picks & Tips for Bar & Nightclub Design


Call Us for Your Next Design Project

Our standard bar design service includes all construction plans and equipment layouts. We would be happy to assist any bar owner who would like to incorporate time-proven design ideas into your venue. Please feel free to contact us.


Seven Questions Commonly Asked About Bar Design 101:

  1. 1.      Which Professional Bar Design Services Do You Provide and How Much Do They Cost?
  1. 2.      How to Design Bars for Maximum Efficiency and Profits?
  1. 3.      What Does Bar Equipment Cost?
  1. 4.      The Secrets of Designing and Building a Commercial Bar
  1. 5.      What Are The Best Lighting Products for Bars? (this article)
  1. 6.      What’s The Best Countertops for Bars?
  1. 7.      Best Furniture for Bars


To learn more about Bar Design 101 click here

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