Purchasing Bar and Nightclub Furniture – Top 5 Tips

Cabaret Design Group

What are the top ideas and tips for purchasing bar and nightclub furniture? This article answers the most popular questions about furniture pricing and advice.

WHAT IS THE BEST FURNITURE FOR NIGHTCLUBS: MODULAR OR CUSTOM-BUILT?

There is no correct choice here, folks – it’s what is best for you and your budget. Each is a good selection for various reasons. Let’s consider the pros and cons of each:

  • Modular furniture is manufactured offshore and imported by distributors in large quantities. So it can be sold quickly, it’s available in limited sizes, shapes and colors and works best in open spaces.
  • Because of the significant pricing and availability mentioned above, a club or bar with a limited budget can be set-up quickly and inexpensively.
  • The overall appearance is clean.
  • There is very little opportunity to customize.
  • The color selection is reasonable.
  • Bonded leather (genuine leather) is the standard fabric.
  • While some may find these factors too limiting, others are entirely accepting.
Photo of Modern Line Modular Furniture
EXAMPLE OF MODERN LINE FURNITURE

CUSTOM-BUILT FURNITURE FOR THE DISCERNING

  • Because it’s manufactured to suit your specific needs, custom-built furniture offers you the ability to fit it to the room in exactly the size, shape, detail and fabric that you desire.
  • I feel that the durability is generally superior; according to Ken Bowman, owner of Houston-based KG Furniture, he has many clients whose furniture has lasted 10 years.
  • Reupholstering is generally more successful because the fabric can usually be matched to that of the original order.
  • To get it the way you want it you pay a premium and lead times are longer. Most furniture orders from KG Furniture are built in about four weeks.
Photo of custom-made nightclub sofas
PHOTO OF CUSTOM NIGHTCLUB SOFAS

THE FLAME CERTIFICATION DOCUMENT

Whenever ordering club furnishings, always request the flame certification document – this is required to be on-file by your local fire marshal during inspections. All fabrics must be in compliance with the standards set forth by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) or similar governing authority. Some municipalities require the certification to be in a specific format, so be aware of the specific certification required by your local fire marshal.

HOW MUCH DOES NIGHTCLUB AND BAR FURNITURE COST?

According to Bowman, the current starting cost for plain sofas is $84 per-lineal-foot, which is for “high-end, commercially-viable fabrics and velvets.” The majority of his sofas exceed $140 per-lineal foot. On the other hand, Modern Line Furniture, a popular quick-ship reseller of offshore club furniture, the starting price for sofas (button-tufted bonded leather) is $120 per-lineal-foot.

Bowman says that vinyl’s are becoming the most popular choice in nightclub furniture. Over the years the development of vinyl for commercial furniture has become much more sophisticated. The durability and texture of some vinyl products is outstanding. Woven fabrics are warmer but don’t clean as easily as vinyl. For the best long-term investment, genuine leather is king. The latest and greatest vinyl product KG offers is Canadian vinyl-producer Morbern (the photo at the top features this product). According to Bowman, is favorite collection Morbern offers is “Mellohides“, which has a double-knit backing. If you’re looking for a really nice, high-quality fabric, my personal favorite is the ‘Bromley Microsuede’ series by Microfibres.

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What Fabric is Better: Leather vs. Vinyl

SHOULD I REUPHOLSTER MY NIGHTCLUB FURNITURE OR BUY NEW?

Reupholstering sounds like a logical choice. However, when you send your furniture out for reupholstering, there is only one guy who really knows about the exact work that is performed. We all want to save a buck, but sometimes we shoot ourselves in the foot in the process.

I’ve seen owners time and again send their furniture out to their favorite local upholstery guy, which somehow always ends-up being some guy who hangs-out at their bar. Let’s face it, folks, whether you trust this guy or not, he’s going to take the easy way out, which is to add a thin layer of foam on top of the existing upolstered cushion and then re-wrap it with the new fabric.

THE NOTORIOUS “WRAP AROUND”

This is what’s referred to as a “wrap-around.” This is garbage. folks! The old foam, which is the part of your furniture that breaks-down, is left inside the cushion. The effort required to truly reupholster furniture (using new foam) exceeds the value of the furniture. Unless you are making a simple repair, do yourself a major favor and avoid reupholstering – purchase new furniture!

HOW TO INCREASE SEATING CAPACITY: BACKLESS CHAIRS AND ARMLESS CHAIRS

If you’re looking to maximize your seating efficiency, you should consider using backless chairs for your bar (as shown in the photo at right) and hi-top table seating and armless club chairs for your club tables. Backless chairs can save up to one foot of floor space, while armless club chairs are about 35% narrower than chairs with arms; both are popular choices.

HIGH-QUALITY BAR STOOLS

When purchasing bar and nightclub furniture, shopping for bar stools can be frustrating, especially if you’re looking for something that is high-quality and unique. MTS Seating offers a several moderately-priced, high-quality bar stools. GAR Products has a broad selection of upscale bar stools. Many companies offer bar stools, but nothing that really moves me. Here are some of my favorite bar stools:
 

  • Model 919-30-ES, by MTS. This is a plain, backless stool, as shown in the photo below left. What I really like about this stool is that it is heavy-duty, has clean lines – and you can specify the fabric and finish, to give you a customized-look. You can download the cut sheet below.
  • Model 901-30, by MTS (below center). This bar stool has a wrap around style and is available in numerous fabrics. You can download the cut sheet below.
  • GAR Matteo BSOUHB (below right) is appropriate for upscale restaurants.

Downloadables: 

MTS Seating Model 919-30-ES Backless Bar Stool Cut Sheet

MTS 902-30 Bar Stool Cut Sheet

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