Creating the perfect bar is a lot like creating the perfect cocktail. If the bartender misses an ingredient, it doesn't matter how good the others are—the taste just won't be right. The same goes for the bar's design. Even a well-trained staff using high-end liquor in the right location won't necessarily lead to success if your bar is poorly designed.
The right wall hangings, light fixtures, and other decorations are all important to creating a positive experience, but there are also a number of design aspects that can impact whether or not your bar becomes the favorite go-to spot for your guests.
Here are three of the most important commercial bar design concepts to consider when strategizing how to improve the guest experience:
Leave Enough Space for Your Bartenders
It may be tempting to make the space behind your bar as narrow as legally possible to maximize the guest spaces in front, but this might indirectly lead to a worse experience for your guests.
Bartenders need to have enough space to move freely while making drinks. Make that space too tight, and your staff will move slowly and be bumping into each other, increasing the risk of accidents and the time it takes to serve the guests. For the best service, your bar should leave at least 3 feet between the counter and the bottle display.
Include Multiple Drink Stations
Including multiple drink stations, like allotting enough space behind the counter, is another design principle meant to make your bartenders’ jobs easier, which in turn leads to a better service experience for patrons.
If your bar is going to have multiple bartenders working at once, each should have their own drink preparation stations with everything they need within arm’s reach. These stations should include commonly used glasses, soda guns, garnish centers, ice bins, and other necessary tools.
Consider Your Bar Top Material Carefully
Your choice of bar top material may seem innocuous, but it's actually a very important factor in creating a positive experience. Yes, your bar top should match the overall style of your bar, but that doesn’t mean that its appearance is the only factor to consider when making this important decision. Making the wrong choice will have negative implications on your guests’ experiences, and even your bar’s overall productivity.
Here are some helpful tips to consider when considering your bar top:
- Stone bar tops, while offering a lot of variety in color and pattern, are notoriously unforgiving to glasses. Using them for your bar could result in more frequent breakage, which means added work for your staff, added expenses for you, and added frustration for your guests.
- Stone bar tops do not retain heat well, either, leaving the surface cold and unpleasant to the touch. When your goal is to make your guests feel welcome and comfortable, even a small detail such as a cold bar top can impact their overall perception of your bar.
- Rounded edges might seem like a good choice, depending on the style of your bar, but think carefully before you go this route. A rounded edge might only affect the last inch or so of your bar top, but it can lead to more dropped glasses as guests unintentionally set their drinks down onto the uneven edge, again adding more work, expenses, and frustration