How do you design a rolling library ladder for a commercial bar?
Learn the secret to implementing a rolling library ladder for rum bars and whiskey bars.
HOW TO DESIGN A ROLLING LIBRARY LADDER FOR A COMMERCIAL BAR
Many specialty bars, such as rum bars and whiskey bars, have the need to display 300 or more bottles of expensive alcohol. Because many of these bars also serve other types of liquor, it’s virtually impossible to feature this quantity of bottles on most back bar walls – not without making full use of every square inch of the back bar wall. High-volume storage such as this normally results in storing numerous bottles above 72” (1.83m); according to ergonomic bar design standards, this is the highest recommended reachable shelf (reference our “Standard Universal Bar Clearances,” available in the downloadable section).
STEP STOOLS & STEP LADDERS ARE DANGEROUS FOR BARS
To further clarify, effective bar design requires that all back bar bottle displays should be stored above the back bar countertop. Given all the above, what are one’s options for accessing the upper bottles? Certainly, some bar owners might employ a step stool or step ladder, but either would be a risky way of operating. Beyond that, neither of these options would be very fashionable. After all, if you’re going to build a specialty bar, the only viable option, in my opinion, would be to incorporate a rolling library ladder. This is the safest, most practical and most fashionable design solution. I’ve spent a fair amount of time researching the rolling ladder and the one I like best is manufactured by CSH. As you’ll see in the downloadable brochure, the CSH rolling library ladders are available in numerous finishes and mounting options.
HOW TO PLAN A ROLLING LIBRARY LADDER
When planning a rolling library ladder in a commercial bar design, there are four critical factors:
- Horizontal projection from the support wall to the floor wheels.
- The bearing surface at the upper end of the ladder.
- An adequate quantity of rail supports.
- Adequate clearance between the ladder and the bar.
CLEARANCES ARE CRITICAL
In the drawing at right you’ll see a side view of the actual ladder we designed for a recent project. Here are the highlights:
- The CSH ladder requires the maximum horizontal projection not to exceed 31” (.790m). Closer examination at the top end of the ladder shows that the horizontal projection is referenced from the bearing point (the soffit) – not the wall below it!
- For this bar I designed the bearing surface to be a built-up beam consisting of a series of three LVL beams. This enabled me to gain proper clearance for the upper end of the ladder, while ensuring that the lateral forces from the ladder itself would not be imposed on the shelving system.
- Lastly, the rail supports are placed not greater than 32” (.81m) on center. As for the clearance between the ladder and the bar, I recommend at least 12” (.30m) when the ladder is in its maximum extended position. However, for space-challenged conditions, a nice feature of the CSH ladder is that it’s capable of lateral adjustment, so it can be positioned to be operated in narrow spaces.
HOW MUCH DO LIBRARY LADDERS COST?
The library ladder we used for this particular project (129.5,” in red oak) costs approximately US$1,712 and is shipped unassembled. CSH rolling library ladders are manufactured in Wisconsin and can be purchased directly or through Home Depot.
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