WHAT IS THE BEST BAR SHAPE FOR A COMMERCIAL BAR?

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What’s the best bar shape for a commercial bar?

In bar design, learn what is the best bar shape for a commercial bar and why the island bar helps owners maximize profits.

In this post I’ll discuss how to build a better bar and by using real-life examples, demonstrate what is the best shape for a commercial bar.


WHAT IS THE BEST BAR SHAPE FOR A COMMERCIAL BAR?

Photo of L-shaped bar, which is the best bar shape for smaller spaces
PHOTO OF L-SHAPED BAR
A popular design for limited space

There are numerous opinions about what is the best bar shape for a commercial bar.

  • Some owners prefer a linear bar, maintaining that it enables an unobstructed view of the patrons and direct interaction between patron and bartender.
  • L-shaped bars are also popular and have been in the American mainstream for many years.
  • Others love curved bars, but standard underbar equipment isn’t easily adaptable for this purpose, and if the bar equipment plan has a few extra feet added here and there, this could impact bartender productivity and fatigue – and reduced owner’s profits – over the long haul.

COMMERCIAL BAR DESIGN IS ABOUT EFFICIENCY

However, in commercial bar design, our goal is not only to maximize efficiency – but to also maximize the customer’s satisfaction and enjoyment. Let’s not forget that the bar should be the central focus of the front of the house and should therefore dominate the interior design. The large hotel operators are beginning to realize the merits of a beautiful, dominant and engaging bar. In CNBC’s “Hotel, Behind Closed Doors at Marriott,” which originally aired December 6, 2012 (and can be seen in its entirety on Hulu), it was disclosed that Marriott’s largest profit center – far and away – is food and beverage. Walk into any Marriott nowadays, and you’ll immediately notice a large, beautiful, front of the house bar.


SOME EXAMPLES OF POPULAR BAR DESIGNS

Architectural drawing of a free-standing island-shaped bar
PLAN OF A HOTEL ISLAND BAR
An emerging design for hotel bars

In your quest for the best bar shape for your establishment, consider the examples of some of our clients. A client was originally considering the L-shaped bar, similar to the one shown in the above photo. Their goal was to have a bar that could have a large presence for patrons entering the hotel’s lobby. Next, consider the island bar shown at right. If you’re unable to see the difference in the merits of each, let me elaborate:

  1. The island bar enables a circular traffic pattern for customer interaction; the L-shaped bar doesn’t.
  2. The island bar enables at least four places for unique seating.
  3. The island bar promotes customer interaction for those who are seated at the bar; in an L-shaped bar, patrons are forced to look at the wall.
  4. From an efficiency perspective, this island bar features three bartender stations; none of the bartenders would have to walk more than three steps in any direction and to further enhance bartender efficiency, the POS stations and fastest-moving liquor are strategically placed along the front bar.

WHAT IS THE MOST-REQUESTED BAR DESIGN?

The best bar shape for a commercial bar is a well-designed free-standing island bar, which will make a powerful statement and maximize owner profits and customer satisfaction. The island bar is the most commonly-requested bar among our clients.

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