Top Bar Lighting Ideas and Tips

Photo of custom iron back bar using architectural bar design by Cabaret Design Group

What are the top bar lighting ideas and tips? This article answers the most popular questions about architectural and LED lighting.

MOST COMMON FIXTURES FOR TOP BAR LIGHTING IDEAS

There’s no shortage of possibilities when considering bar lighting ideas. Here’s a list of the most common lighting types used in commercial bar design:

  • Functional recessed lighting – house lighting.
  • Architectural recessed lighting with decorative trims.
  • Indirect lighting, including:
    • Lightboxes
    • Cove lighting
    • Backlit signage
  • Surface-mounted lighting:
    • Wall sconces
    • Ceiling lighting
    • Pendant lighting
  • Track lighting: designed for flexible lighting placement.
  • Accent lighting:
    • Step lighting
    • Under bar lighting
    • LED strip lighting
  • Flat light technology, which is illuminated tape utilized in interior and exterior applications.
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ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING FOR BARS

LAMP SELECTION

Most of the lighting types listed above are available in a variety of lamps. This includes:

  • Low voltage
  • Line voltage
  • Incandescent
  • Metal halide
  • Fluorescent
  • LED

LED lighting is the top choice because it has the longest lamp life and lowest operating cost.

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BAR WITH VARIETY OF LED LIGHTING

HOW THE ENERGY CODE APPLIES TO BAR LIGHTING

According to Ron Lindquist of Midwest Lighting Sales, in 2007 the United States energy codes changed. The new mandate requires all states to either have their own energy code or to adopt one of the two accepted energy codes[1] . The resulting change imposes new design standards for anyone pulling a building permit:

  • Existing buildings under 5,000 sq.ft. must comply with a lighting level, rated at Watts/sq.ft.
  • Buildings over 5,000 sq.ft. must have programmable lighting controllers.

THE NEW ENERGY CODE IMPACTS "GRANDFATHERING"

Existing buildings are exempt from immediate compliance with the new energy code. Compliance is enforced with the issuance of new building permits.

One tricky loophole may ultimately may beneficial. Nightclubs and theaters are exempt from the new energy code if they have portable equipment.

THE TOP REASON WHY BARS NEED LED LIGHTING

LED lighting is twice as efficient as incandescent lighting. Because of the new energy mandate, implementation of LED lighting is the easiest way to maintain compliance. LED lighting costs half as much to operate and you may never have to replace a single lamp! The lowest rating of an LED lamp is 50,000 hours. This equates to 8.6 years of continuous operation at 16 hours a day.

Photo of bar with a variety of lighting
BAR WITH THOROUGH USE OF LED LIGHTING

WHAT IS THE BEST ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING FOR BARS?

For the best architectural bar lighting ideas you need LED. The first thing to know about LED lighting is that it’s directional. Therefore, without proper selection, glare can be an issue. LED lighting is most effective when the selected fixtures disperse it in the most favorable direction. This includes chandeliers, up-lighting and recessed can lighting. The best application for LED is with track lighting and edge lighting. Here’s some design criteria to consider:

  • Architectural lighting is intended for mood.
  • There are many lamps options.
  • For down lighting, the ideal lamp should deliver about 20 footcandles at the table top, bar top, etc.
  • Use a mid-range color (4,000K).
  • LED lamp rating is based without dimming. For instance, a rating of 100,000 hours of operation can result in 300,000 hours with a dimmer.
  • Dimming will enable you to adjust for proper mood.

BAR DESIGN TIP:

THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN RECEIVE A GOVERNMENT REBATE FOR PURCHASING LED LIGHTING IS IF IT CARRIES A ‘DLC-APPROVAL’ RATING!

THE BEST LIGHTING TIP FOR BAR OWNERS

Here’s some bar lighting ideas that could save you lots of money! Be sure to use continuous edge LED lighting across the leading edge of all steps. ‘Slip-and fall’ accidents are the source of many lawsuits. Therefore, never purchase “hockey puck” lighting. Hockey puck lighting doesn’t create consistent illumination across the stair. Invest in LED edge lighting for your stairs (see the gallery below). The LEDTread by Tube Lighting Products in the attached LEDTread Brochure, below.

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HOCKEY PUCK LIGHT
Cabaret Design Group
LED TREAD LIGHT

BAR DESIGN TIP:

Here’s my million-dollar tip of the day: be responsible to yourself, your business, your family and employees and invest in LEDTread lighting today! 

Downloadable:

LEDTread Brochure

 

[1] International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) or ASHRAE 90.1

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