How much does bar equipment cost to build a bar in 2022? Discover the equipment needed to build a bar and the cost of equipment for a typical bar cocktail station.
HOW MUCH DOES BAR EQUIPMENT COST TO BUILD A BAR?
The world of bar equipment is overwhelming to the average person. If you’ve ever looked behind a bar and studied the equipment (I do this all the time!), you’ll notice that the possible configurations are nearly limitless. People have many reasons for the equipment they select for their bars, and some of these reasons don’t make much sense. Bad decisions lead to bartender inefficiency and lost profits. Ergonomics is the core of our bar equipment design process (reference below).
PRICE LIST OF THE COMMONLY SPECIFIED EQUPMENT IN BAR DESIGN
For this discussion, I address the cost of the most common bar equipment used in commercial bar design, along with accompanying pictures (refer to the video above):
- Dump sinks, used for discarding residue from used drink glasses, as shown in Figure 1 (below).
- Hand sinks, used for hand-washing, refer to Figure 2 (below).
- 3-bin sinks, most typically used for washing bar glassware, as seen in Figure 3 (below).
- Glass washers, used in lieu of 3-bin sinks (see Figure 4, below).
- Drainboards, which are used as a staging area for freshly-washed glassware (as shown in Figure 5).
- Soda gun holder, used for catching soda gun drippage (shown in Figure 6).
- Ice bins, which hold ice and normally include a cold plate for accommodating multiple soda lines for cold drink preparation, shown in Figure 7 with a single speed rail.
- Liquor displays, which are stainless steel racks used to hold the fastest-moving liquor, as seen in Figure 8.
- Blender stations, where frozen drinks are blended, as shown in Figure 9.
- POS (point-of-sale) podiums, shown in Figure 10, are custom-designed for maximum bartender efficiency.
- Drink rails, for preparing drinks, as shown in Figure 11.
- Back bar coolers, used for storing beer and wine, as shown in Figure 12.
- Slide-top coolers, which can be placed under the bar or back bar, as seen in Figure 13.
- Waste receptacles, seen in Figure 14.
- Ice machines, typically stored back-of-the-house, as shown in Figure 15.
WHAT HEALTH DEPARTMENTS SAY ABOUT 3 COMPARTMENT SINKS
Very few bar owners prefer a multi-compartment sink over a wash glassware. Ironically, many believe multi-compartment sinks are required. In reality, health departments require a 3 compartment sink OR an automatic glass washer. A minimum of one dump sink and one hand sink are required by local health codes. Bar equipment cost is definitely affected by the ultimate choice.
THE REAL FACTS ABOUT GLASS WASHING
Here’s what you really need to know about 3 compartment sinks:
- The 4-compartment sink is actually a dump sink and a 3-compartment sink housed in a single unit.
- If other dish washing facilities exist on-premise, i.e., commercial kitchens, most U.S. health departments accept an automatic glass washer in lieu of a 3-compartment sink.
- There is an effective “work-around” for using a glass washer (while maintaining compliance).
- Given the above, have your local health department review your bar plans before you order equipment.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
A 4 compartment sink is a 3 compartment sink with a built-in dump sink. Every bar has to have one dump sink.
Every bar has to have dishwashing equipment on-premise. If a given venue has a commercial kitchen (such as hotels), most U.S. health departments accept an automatic glass washer at the bar in lieu of a 3 compartment sink
HOW MUCH DOES BAR EQUIPMENT COST?
Depending on sizes, features and make, there can be a great disparity in bar equipment cost. The big names in stainless bar equipment are Glastender, Perlick, Krowne Metal and True Mfg. For underbar and backbar equipment, I am most familiar with Glastender pricing, as it’s the brand I like best.
The following is an itemized list of bar equipment items typically specified in commercial bar design. These are the current average retail prices associated with each component:
ITEMIZED BAR EQUIPMENT PRICING
|1.||12" x 24" dump sink, Glastender SWB-12||$900|
|2.||12" x 24" hand sink, Glastender HSB-12||900|
|3.||3-compartment sink, 60" x 24" w/2 drainboards, Glastender TSB-60-S||1,825|
|4.||Glasswasher (automatic), rack type, Moyer Diebel 601HRG||7,800|
|5.||Drainboard glassrack, 24" x 24", Glasatender DBGR-24||1,000|
|6.||Soda gun holder, Glastender SHA-4||345|
|7.||Ice bin combo cocktail station w/10-circuit cold plate, 36" x 19", Glastender CBA-36R-CP10||2,715|
|8.||Speed rail (single), 40", Glastender SSR-40||140|
|9.||Liquor steps, Glastender LDA-24-S||940|
|10.||Drainboard blender station, 12" x 24", Glastender DBSA-12 (note: only for bars that make blended drinks)||860|
|11.||POS station, 24" x 24" x 36" custom-built, laminate (see above photo)||1,000|
|12.||Back bar cooler, 60" x 24", stainless w/glass doors (shown in Figure 12., above), Glastender C1FB60||4,880|
|13.||Slide top cooler, 48" x 24", black clad, stainless interior, Glastender ST48-B||2,180|
|14.||Waste receptacle, 11" x 20" x 30", Rubbermaid "Slim Jim" S-9971||30|
|15.||Ice machine (cuber), Hoshizaki IM-500SAB (air-cooled)||4,220|
|16.||Ice machine storage bin, Hoshizaki IM-700SF (added to the above)||1,400|
|17.||Drop-in drain pan, Glastender DI-DP 18X24 (flush-mounted into the bar top)||340|
Vertical Back Bar Coolers: the Perfect Design Alternative
Stumped for a design solution for your back bar? The vertical back bar cooler offers unique advantages not found with traditional back bar refrigeration. Looking for pricing? This product was just released in February 2023 and pricing will be published here as soon as it’s available. Stay tuned!
BUDGET PRICING FOR A SINGLE BARTENDER STATION
To put all this into perspective, in early 2022, the average cost for underbar stainless steel bar equipment is about $900 per linear foot. You’ll have to add for the glass washer, back bar coolers and ice machine. The cost of a 25′ 2-station bar with stainless steel drink rail, one glass washer and one ice machine is about $47,000. Nowadays I budget $2,000 per linear foot for bar equipment. Draft beer systems is a subject unto itself which requires much discussion and many decisions. I cover draft beer systems in a separate blog post, listed below. The above price list can be downloaded below.
THE WORST THING THAT CAN HURT YOUR BAR BUSINESS: FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH ADA REQUIREMENTS
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (‘ADA’), has found its way into bar design. Bars are now required to provide built-in accommodations for the handicapped to sit at every bar. In spite of what anyone says to the contrary, this is federal law and it supersedes all other building codes. Be sure to read my article to learn how to compute and design bars for ADA compliance. The frightening thing going on recently are what is known as “Drive-By ADA Lawsuits,” where bar owners everywhere are mercilessly thrown under the bus, irrespective of “Grandfather” status! I’ve written about ADA drive-by lawsuits here. This is a must-read!
BAR DESIGN TIP
Many bar owners still request mug frosters. I find this surprising, given that most bars are selling a significant level of craft beer. Why do I say this? Consider the following:
- Craft beer needs to be served at 38F and frozen glassware distorts the beer’s characteristics.
- According to the CDC, ice is classified as food; therefore, glass frosters require tedious, regular cleaning; most bar owners don’t have the qualified staff to perform this complex procedure.
- Glass frosters start at $1,500 and consume at least 24″ of underbar space.
The better alternative to the mug froster is the Innoveco glass chiller. This unit delivers instant frosted mugs, operates with liquid CO2 and clamps to the edge of the bar top. You can purchase the Innoveco glass chiller on Amazon for around $400!
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