DESIGNING A BAR – 7 PROBLEMS WITH PLANS AND LAYOUTS

design-problems

What are the 7 biggest problems with designing a bar? For many, bar design is a very frustrating experience.

Today we’ll address the 7 biggest problems with planning commercial bar plans and layouts, dimensions, equipment, finishes and costs.


DESIGNING A BAR – 7 BIGGEST PROBLEMS

Let’s face it, planning a commercial bar is frustrating and time-consuming. To make things easier, let’s talk about the most fundamental planning issues of bar design.

#1: Planning for Area and Capacity

What’s the best shape for a bar and how many patrons are you intending to serve?
Here are a few examples:

Architectural plan of an L-shaped commercial bar
BAR DESIGNERS’ EXAMPLE OF L-SHAPED BAR

1). 2-station shotgun bar

This bar design is becoming less popular. The bar shown in this example seats eight is nearly twenty four foot long and requires 260 square foot of floor space.

2). 2-station L-shaped bar

This bar is more compact and therefore more flexible to buildings with limited space this bar seat six is about 18 feet long and requires 180 square feet 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 approximately 485 sq.ft. and will accommodate 28 seats.

In terms of seating efficiency, the shotgun bar and L-shaped bar require the largest
area of at least 30 square feet per patron, while the island bar is the most efficient at only 17 square feet per patron.

Space allocation numbers for facilities planning here’s a chart that summarizes all the above.

#2: How to Fit a Bar to a Given Space

It can be challenging to fit a bar within the physical space with all proper clearances. Remember that empty space often appears larger than it really is and careful planning is required.

Architectural plan of a large bar into a given space
BAR DESIGNERS’ EXAMPLE OF FITTING A BAR TO A SPACE


#3 How to Plan for Seating and Tables

This is a further refinement of the previous point, which addresses all seating, including tables. Architectural standards need to be applied that take into account human dimension and interior spaces, including server aisles, ADA, customer activity zones, circulation zones and clear access zones between tables. Using these standards were generally put you in good shape with the occupant loads as stipulated by IBC for Assembly Group A-2.

Architectural plan of 2 & 4-top table seating clearances
BAR DESIGNERS’ 2 & 4-TOP TABLE SPACING

#4 How to Design Bar Equipment for Ergonomic Efficiency

Bars are factories which make drinks, so what are the necessary provisions for maximizing ergonomic efficiency and owner profits, while reducing work comp claims?

Architectural section of a commercial bar with all clearances
BAR DESIGNERS’ UNIVERSAL BAR CLEARANCES
(metric in parentheses)


#5 How to Design Bar Finishes

Once the bar layout has been determined, there are a myriad of options for creating the finish. The following is a top 7 list of commercial bar finishing options:

1). Soffits
2). Ceiling treatments
3). Wall coverings
4). Architectural lighting
5). Bar Tops
6). Bar cladding
7). Foot rests.

List of the Top 7 commercial bar finishing options
BAR DESIGNERS’ LIST OF BAR FINISHES

Here’s an expanded version of that list, with all the finishing options. Now here’s a bar design with a combination of finishes, shapes, colors and textures. Bar owners need to invest in design in order to retain their customers.

# 6 How to Design a Draft Beer System

Nearly every commercial bar client we have wants to get in on selling craft beer, but the choices for equipment are numerous and this requires careful planning.

Architectural drawing of a commercial island bar and back bar, shown in two elevations
COMMERCIAL ISLAND BAR & BACK BAR w/DRAFT BEER TOWER

#7 How Much Do Bars Cost?

Every bar needs a myriad of equipment, such as dump sinks, hand sinks, 3-bin sinks, glass washers, drainboards, soda gun holders, ice bins, combination ice bins, speedrails, blender stations, POS stations, coolers, waste baskets, ice machines….the list goes on and on. Some companies, such ‘Easy Ice’ and ‘Ecolab’, help you alleviate the cost of capital outlay, by offering subscriptions.

Here’s a copy of our ‘Bar Equipment Price List’ for your reference.

Commercial bar equipment retail price list
RETAIL PRICE LIST OF MOST COMMON BAR EQUIPMENT

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

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RELATED POSTS:

WHAT IS MY BAR DESIGN REALLY GOING TO COST?

FITTING A BAR TO A GIVEN SPACE

PLANNING BARS & RESTAURANTS FOR SEATING AND TABLES

DESIGNING BAR EQUIPMENT FOR ERGONOMIC EFFICIENCY

HOW DO YOU DESIGN BAR FINISHES?

DESIGNING DRAFT BEER SYSTEMS

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BUILD A BAR?

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MOST POPULAR POSTS:

WHAT ARE THE STANDARD BAR LAYOUT DIMENSIONS FOR DIY?

HOW DO YOU DESIGN COMMERCIAL BARS FOR ADA COMPLIANCE?

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DOWNLOADS FOR THIS POST:

BAR EQUIPMENT PRICE LIST

BAR DESIGNERS’ LIST OF BAR FINISHES

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POPULAR DOWNLOADS:

STANDARD BAR CLEARANCES w/ADA

ADA GUIDE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

BAR AND RESTAURANT SEATING GUIDELINES

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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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