How Much Does it Cost to Build a Commercial Bar?

Bar architecture and design by Cabaret Design Group

How much does it cost to build a bar?

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Discover the array of bar finishes for effective bar design and the cost to build a bar for restaurants and hotels.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BUILD A BAR?

From my previous post (referenced below), we priced a single bartender station (about 18’ 6”) of underbar equipment, at $6,075. That breaks down to about $328 per lineal foot. That was in 2014. By late 2021, this price has skyrocketed to nearly $900 per lineal foot! But remember, this represents the necessary capital to purchase just a single bartender station – and that there are additional equipment costs that need to be included.

HOW MUCH DOES BAR CONSTRUCTION COST IN 2021?

To further extrapolate, let’s say that we’re going to add four beer bottle coolers ($2,600 ea. in 2014). As of late 2021 the same back bar coolers cost $4,900 ea. For clarification, I’m pricing the Glastender BB60 stainless steel coolers with glass doors, as shown in the photo below and described in the previous post (referenced below). We always want to place beer coolers on the back bar, so as to not interrupt the efficient production of alcohol-based drinks on the front bar, and, besides, this provides the added advantage of visual merchandising. Friends, your bar should be treated as an attractive billboard! Make your patrons excited to be brought into your experience and your brand.

Photo of commercial bar equipment
PHOTO OF COMMERCIAL BAR EQUIPMENT

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WHAT BAR EQUIPMENT IS OPTIONAL?

Back to the budget, our investment has now climbed to $16,475, or $890 per lineal foot, for a single bartender station. However, we still need an ice machine, and what about other big-ticket items? Ice machines are more of a necessity, but don’t worry, because there’s Easy Ice, a great service for bar owners that enables them to save their precious operating capital, which I covered in a previous post, referenced below. Glass washing equipment is optional equipment for most single-station bars. Glass washers become a necessity in multiple bartender stations. Draft beer systems offer many options. Adding a draft beer system can add at least $5,000 – $15,000, which could potentially double the investment used in this example (see post below).

Photo of custom draft beer tower
PHOTO OF CUSTOM DRAFT BEER TOWER

What are the other costs related to bar construction budget? These are the likely cost categories incurred with commercial bars:

Photo of commercial bar with island back bar
PHOTO OF COMMERCIAL BAR WITH ISLAND BACK BAR

PRIMARY BUDGET ITEMS FOR BUILDING A BAR

  • Plumbing – installation of drains and vents, water lines and equipment hook-up.
  • Electrical – such as wiring, switches and outlets, and lighting.
  • Equipment installation – the bar equipment itself.
  • Bar die – the construction of the bar itself.
  • Finish bar design – as discussed in an earlier post.

In 2021 a good budget for constructing a basic bar that encompasses all the above related construction costs $3,000 per lineal foot. Always add at least 10% for contingency, which is a necessary fund to include in every construction project. This budget would also include a granite bar top and a moderately-priced material to finish the bar facing, such as the one shown in this photo.

My favorite reference book for architectural standards:
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My favorite glass chiller:
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