TOP 5 DESIGN IDEAS ABOUT BAR COUNTERTOPS

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What are the top 5 design ideas about bar countertops? Today we’ll discuss the most popular countertops in bar design, including purchasing tipspricing and installation methods.

We live in an age where we have an abundance of choices for countertop materials; we can thank the custom home industry for this. It’s great to have many choices, but the downside to this is information overload for the consumer – making the correct choice is more complicated than ever. Although this is not a complete list, this one constitutes the majority of the possibilities for countertop considerations of our clientele:

  • Granite
  • Quartz
  • Marble
  • Corian
  • Wood
  • Laminates

There are, indeed, many choices to consider when purchasing countertops for nightclubs and bars. Today I’m going to discuss the design information, including features and costs you need to consider when purchasing countertops for your nightclub or bar:

WHAT ARE THE MOST POPULAR COUNTERTOPS FOR NIGHTCLUB AND BAR DESIGN?

When talking about the top 5 design ideas about bar countertops, here’s a rundown of the most popular choices:

  • Granite
Photo of nightclub lobby desk with a granite countertop
RECEPTION DESK WITH GRANITE COUNTERTOP
A very popular selection
  1. Advantages: for pure aesthetics, granite is difficult to beat; since it is a natural product, no two patterns are identical; some high-end patterns are quite spectacular; because of the random nature of most patterns, repair can often be un-noticeable; many patterns have coordinating floor tile.
  2. Disadvantages: cost; porous surface makes it susceptible to staining; limitation to specific cleaning agents; must be periodically resealed.
  • Quartz
Photo of LED backlit bar with quartz bar top
QUARTZ BAR TOP
  1. Advantages: non-porous and therefore excellent in a food environment; some patterns have a likeness to granite; certain patterns interact nicely with club lighting.
  2. Disadvantages: costlier than granite; doesn’t have the same sheen as granite; because it is a solid, manmade product, it can be difficult to make unnoticeable repairs; for stone purists, this is not a natural product; most commercial dealers do not sell coordinating floor tile.
  • Marble
  1. Advantages: similar to those of granite; standard patterns are priced similar to granite.
  2. Disadvantages: this material is soft and porous, which requires higher maintenance; like granite, higher-end patterns can be twice as costly as quartz.
  • Corian
  1. Advantages: since this is categorized as “solid surface,” its color is constant, making for simple repairs; seamless appearance; some patterns have movement similar to that of granite.
  2. Disadvantages: scratches easily; looks less natural than stone.
  • Wood
Photo of wood bar top
WOOD BAR TOP
  1. Advantages: available as green-certified; unique appearance – no two pieces are alike; high lustre.
  2. Disadvantages: soft and porous and absorbs odors – liquids can cause staining; the periodic maintenance (sanding and refinishing) is costly, time-consuming and messy.


  • Laminates
Photo of nightclub lobby with granite countertop
RECEPTION DESK WITH LAMINATED COUNTERTOP
  1. Advantages: most affordable; seamless appearance.
  2. Disadvantages: scratches and chips are visible; durability; edge seams are visible; edge banding susceptible to constant maintenance.


WHAT IS THE BEST COUNTERTOP FOR NIGHTCLUBS AND BARS?

While each material has its own merits, the most popular choices are granite and quartz. My personal favorite is granite. Say what you like, but to me, nothing is better for nightclub and bar design than granite. The combination of lustre and the unique beautiful patterns that Mother Nature gives us with stone, granite is the best. In fact, granite far outsells quartz. According to Monica MacKay of Buffalo Granite & Marble in Buffalo, NY, quartz represents only 30% of their business; it is specified most commonly by design professionals for businesses with multiple locations (such as auto dealerships). The reason? In order to maintain the consistent appearance that only a manufactured product like quartz provides.

WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT COUNTERTOPS?

A word of advice about quartz: if you are considering quartz for your nightclub, the only way to adequately understand the appeal of any sample is to take a large piece (at least 12” x 12”) back to your club and evaluate it under club lighting. Because some quartz has somewhat of a translucent nature, judging these quartz samples under studio or office lighting will not yield a correct evaluation.

There are numerous edge treatments for countertops. One of lesser-known (and my personal favorite) is the laminated edge, wherein additional material is cut and adhered to the visible edges, such as the 3” edge shown in the above photo. This is a great, masculine look!

HOW MUCH DO COUNTERTOPS COST?

According to D’Andre Craig of Athenian Marble in Oklahoma City, OK, the current starting cost (including installation) for granite and marble is $50 per square foot, while that of quartz is $52 per square foot, while pricing for their Corian-like patterns begins at $40 per square foot. Remodelingexpense.com reports that wood countertops begin at $40 per square foot. Homewyse.com estimates that laminate countertops begin at $17 per square foot.

WHAT ARE THE BEST TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL COUNTERTOP INSTALLATIONS?

The tenets of construction apply with countertop installation: preparation is the key success:

  • Ensure that all supporting structure is plumb, level and square and properly anchored.
  • Proper underlayment is the next most-important factor. For instance, for granite bar tops I always recommend one layer of ¾” marine grade plywood (for granite footrests I recommend ½” Durock® cement board, or equivalent).
  • Install the underlayment continuously and set-back not more than 3” from each edge of the countertop footprint, i.e., 18” of support for 24” deep countertops, 24” of support for 30” deep countertops, etc.
  • For those who prefer two layers of underlayment, each layer needs to be installed cross-grained with respect to the other (the second layer is installed perpendicular to the first layer), and the entire assembly is glued and fastened with countersunk screws.
  • Use a belt sander and bondo on joints that aren’t level.

Oh yeah, a word to the wise: do yourself a big favor and leave the installation of the countertops to the experts.

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Call Us For Your Next Design Project

Our standard bar design service includes all construction plans and equipment layouts. We would be happy to assist any bar owner who would like to incorporate time-proven design ideas into your venue. Please feel free to contact us.


Seven Questions Commonly Asked About Bar Design 101:

1.      What Professional Bar Design Services Do You Provide and How Much Do They Cost?

2.      How Can My Bar Be Designed for Maximum Efficiency and Profits?

3.      What Does Bar Equipment Cost?

4.      Designing and Building Commercial Bars

5.      Best Lighting Products for Bars

6.      What Are The Best Countertops for Bars? (this article)

7.      The Best Furniture for Bars

To learn more about Bar Design 101 click here

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