What are the standard bar layout dimensions?
BAR EQUIPMENT IS MANUFACTURED IN MULTIPLE SIZING SYSTEMS
Attempting to layout the equipment for a commercial bar can be a bit intimidating. Every piece of under bar stainless equipment is available in numerous widths and two standard depths. This leads to a great deal of confusion to many bar designers. As an example, consider the drainboards shown in Figure 1. Not all bar equipment manufacturers use the same sizing platform. Given all the above, how does one proceed to designing a bar? What standard dimensions should DIY bar designers use?
WHAT ARE THE STANDARD BAR LAYOUT DIMENSONS?
For starters, let’s review a simple sketch shown in Figure 2 (downloadable below). This provides the basic bar dimension layout criteria for any bar layout (metric dimensions in parentheses).
What's the Perfect Bar Top Size?
Learn how to achieve the perfect bar top size!
WHAT ARE THE BEST DIY BAR LAYOUT DIMENSIONS?
Many bar equipment manufacturers use the 19″ and 24″ sizing platform. However, some manufacturers use the 18″ and 21″ platform. The standard dimensions DIY bar designers need to get started are as follows:
- The bar base (“bar die”) is nominally 4″ or 6″ deep.
- Standard depth of 24” for bar equipment.
- Stainless under bar equipment is commonly available from 12″ – 48″ wide, in 6″ increments.
- The bartender’s aisle should be 31” – 37”.
- Bar tops range from 24″ to 30″ in depth. This includes a standard 4″ drink rail.
- The bar top should overhang the inside face of the bar die by 11″.
- Standard back bar depth should be 24” – 29”.
- Under bar stainless bar equipment is normally 30” high. This is the working surface height for the bartender.
BAR DESIGN TIP:
The most critical bar design dimension is the inside bar top overhang (11″). This will ensure easy bartender access to the ice bins. It will also reduce bartender back strain.
Frequently asked questions
What is a good size for a bar?
In terms of seating efficiency, the shotgun bar and L-shaped bar require the largest area of at least 30 square feet per patron. The island bar is the most efficient at only 17 square feet per patron. The following chart summarizes all the above.
What is the typical depth of a bar top?
WHAT’S THE BEST HEIGHT FOR A BAR?
Bar layout dimensions are derived from architectural standards for ergonomics. Many believe that bars should be 42″H, but that’s only partially true. According to architectural standards, the ideal height ranges from 42″ – 45″.
WHAT METHODS ARE USED TO SUPPORT BAR TOPS?
When it comes to the bar top support, the two most popular choices are the wood stud pony wall (known as the “bar die”), or the manufactured metal stud modular wall (referred to as the “modular bar die”). I almost exclusively specify the latter, because of its numerous benefits.
My favorite modular bar die are manufactured by Glastender and Krowne. As I’ve written before, these are two of the three preeminent manufacturers of commercial bar equipment. The modular bar die these companies offer are 41″H, as shown in the illustration below.
HOW THE 41″ MODULAR BAR DIE CAME ABOUT
For the record, 41″ was the standard both companies settled at when they first offered the modular bar die because most bars at that time were using 5/4 solid wood slabs for bar tops.
HOW DO BAR TOPS AFFECT THE HEIGHT OF THE BAR?
When using a 3cm quartz bar top (the most popular choice I see nowadays), the bar top will finish just under 43″H. On the other end of the extreme, I also see clients who desire 3″ wood slabs. This leads to a bar height of 44 3/4″, and this is entirely acceptable! Don’t be misled.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CORRECT BAR STOOL HEIGHT
Finally, it’s important to note that the height difference between the seat of the bar stool and bar top should be 12″. Therefore, make sure you take this into consideration when ordering bar stools.
PROPERLY-MANAGED SPEED RAILS LEAD TO HIGH PROFITS
To accomplish a better bar design, you need to know about the significance of speed rails:
- The speed rail is the most essential equipment to achieve successful bar layouts.
- Speed rails should be stocked with the top 20% of a bar’s fastest-moving liquor.
- The majority of bartender movements are subsequently streamlined side-to-side.
- Single speed rails are 5″ and are intended for 19” equipment.
- We only specify speed rails with 19” drainboards, ice bins and 3-bin sinks.
BAR DESIGN TIP:
Use 24″ bar equipment in order to maintain consistent aisle widths.
AVOID THE USE OF DOUBLE SPEED RAILS
Never use double speed rails. A second speed rail adds 5″ to the bartender’s reach. This leads to bartender back strain (refer to Figure 3). That may not seem like much. However, many workman’s compensation claims arise from poor working conditions. Simply put, strenuous, repetitive movements should be eliminated. Also know that a double speed rail adds 5″ to the bar layout dimensions of the bartender aisle. This is why we rarely, specify double speed rails.
BACK BAR LAYOUT DIMENSIONS AND EQUIPMENT
The majority of back bar coolers are available in 24” and 29” depths. Traditional kegerators are 29″ deep. 24” back bar coolers are only available from these manufacturers:
- Beverage Air
- Krowne Metal
BAR DESIGN TIP:
Not every back bar cooler offered is 24” deep. I only specify 24″ back bar coolers.
HOW TO COMMENCE PLANNING A COMMERCIAL BAR DESIGN
Given the above, how does one commence to plan their own commercial bar layout? Firstly, limit the equipment selections to one manufacturer. Secondly, visit the websites of the equipment manufacturers (listed below). Ensure they can provide the desired equipment. Many companies manufacture bar equipment. However, only a few have comprehensive product lines:
- Krowne Metal
BAR DESIGN TIP:
Plan your DIY commercial bar layout dimensions as follows:
- Allocate 24” for underbar equipment depth
- 31” – 37” for aisles
- 25” for back bars.
Do this and you’ll be well on your way to a successful bar design!
DOWNLOAD FOR THIS ARTICLE:
My favorite reference book for architectural standards:
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