Bar Layout Dimensions for DIY Bar Design

Cabaret Design Group

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).

Bar layout dimensions are affected by the equipment dimensions
FIGURE 1. EXAMPLES OF VARIOUS BAR EQUIPMENT SIZING SYSTEMS
Standard universal bar layout dimensions

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

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.Facilities planning chart for sizing commercial bars

At the core of every bar design layout, we need to make space accommodations for all patrons and staff and each respective allotment must include a factor for comfort; these are collectively referred to as human dimensions for interior spaces.

Clearances for planning an island bar

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.

Use single speed rails when planning bar layouts
STRATEGICALLY-STOCKED SPEED RAIL

 

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.

Architectural drawing of bar layout with double speed rail
FIGURE 3. DOUBLE SPEED RAILS CAUSE BARTENDER BACK STRAIN

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
  • Glastender
  • Krowne Metal
  • Perlick


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:

  • Glastender
  • Krowne Metal
  • Perlick

BAR DESIGN TIP:

Plan your DIY commercial bar layout dimensions as follows:

  1. Allocate 24” for underbar equipment depth
  2. 31” – 37” for aisles
  3. 25” for back bars.

Do this and you’ll be well on your way to a successful bar design!

Glastender logo
Krowne logo
Perlick logo

DOWNLOAD FOR THIS ARTICLE:

UNIVERSAL_BAR DIMENSIONS_WITH_ADA.pdf

 

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


POPULAR DOWNLOADS:


CUSTOM_DRINK_RAIL_DESIGN.pdf

BAR_AND_RESTAURANT_SEATING_GUIDELINES.pdf

DISCLAIMER: The above video and description contains affiliate links. This means that I’ll receive a small commission if you click on one of the product links. This helps support the channel and allows us to continue to make videos like this. Thank you for the support!

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