Bars are definitely having a moment, with programs touting top-tier trends such as craft and culinary cocktails, micro-breweries and distilleries, artisan ice, specialty mixers, wine and cocktails on tap, and countless versions of flavored spirits fueling rapid change. With such dramatic program changes also come dramatic new opportunities — and growing bartender demands — for better, more functional bar designs.
Chris Adams, principal at Ellis Adams Group, a hospitality consulting, operations, branding and design firm, agrees, stressing the importance of enabling bartenders to make drinks quickly while still providing hospitality to guests. “This business is all about basic math,” Adams says. “The more drinks that go out, the more money that comes in. If your bar is poorly designed, you inevitably leave money on the table because bartenders can’t move fast enough.”
Regardless of a bar’s concept and anticipated volume, simply walking through the various drink-making processes should inform bar design and setup.
“If I don’t have to take more than one step to get what I need, I can knock a few seconds off of the time it takes to make each drink,” Adams says. “By the end of the night I’ve been able to make 15, 20, 25 more drinks than I would have been able to if I had to leave my station at some point each time to do what I need to do. By the end of the year, that equals a whole lot of money.”
To help facilitate such bottom-line-boosting efficiency, Adams offers a few basic design strategies:
Position a dump sink to the right of each bartender’s station so he or she can simply dump ice from the shaker and quickly move on to the next drink.
Consider installing glass rinsers at each station.
Position soda guns to the left of the bartender, enabling him or her to shave seconds off by pouring liquor with their right hand while simultaneously adding soda with their left.
Consider front-loading, single-door coolers and freezers for expanded glass storage.
Avoid underbar, slide-top coolers for chilled glass or bottle storage. They waste valuable space because nothing can be put on top of them.
Heavy-Duty Portable Bar
The R-8-B Portable Bar is a mobile unit designed for high-volume or dual operation. The server’s side features a corrugated stainless-steel work top, back and side splashes for easy cleaning. Other features include two 11-inch-deep insulated iced bins, two 5-bottle speed rails and an open shelf for glass storage. Two towel rings attached to the countertop provide easy access and convenience. The 12-inch mica laminate bar top with black facade gives the unit a sharp and finished look on the customer side. Heavy-duty casters allow the bar to easily roll where it’s needed. Optional 7-circuit cold plate available.
Eagle Group’s SpecFAB division offers Spec-Bar Select, a customized under-bar design and layout service. Submit a scaled floor plan, number of service stations needed and any additional pertinent working requirements, and designers will provide a plan view layout of the proposed Spec-Bar under-bar equipment. On layout approval, Eagle sends a detailed drawing and a quotation including model numbers, list prices and shipping weights for all components. Suitable for restaurants, hotels, bars, nightclubs and casinos.
ELITE Wine Dispenser
The ELITE wine dispenser by Enomatic is suitable for backbar/staff-operated applications as well as for guest-facing self-service. Features include dual-temperature wine storage, glass touch screens, up to 3 programmable pour sizes, 30-plus days of preservation and adjustable lighting. Constructed of stainless steel, the unit is NSF- and UL- certified. Nationwide service available.
Enomatic Wine Serving Systems
Modular Beverage Station
Modular Beverage Stations by Glastender are available in depths 24 inches to 36 inches and lengths up to 144 inches in half-inch increments. Mix and match 11 configurable modules to meet a variety of applications, including beverage service, food prep, ice cream service and more. Models are all stainless-steel construction and feature 14-gauge 304 work surfaces.
Efficient, Attractive Banquet Bars
The Lion’s Wood Light Bar includes a customizable, decorative facade and backbar grill, which locks after shut-down to keep inventory secure. For higher-volume banquet and event bar needs, the company also offers a double-sided pass-thru backbar, with each side serving a front bar. It includes double-sided refrigerators at the base and pass-thru display shelves above the countertop.
Lion’s Wood Banquet Furniture
Automatic Ice Melt
Auto-Burn Ice Bin has a built-in nozzle that delivers a stream of hot water to automatically melt ice, improving ice-bin safety and sanitation. This product can make ice bin maintenance a regular part of closing side work and may cut the downtime when ice bins are contaminated during service — most notably by glass breakage. The maker’s Auto-Burn Conversion Head mounts to existing ice bins without modifications and delivers a stream of hot, ice-melting water.
Custom BackBar Shelving
Palmer Industries, a manufacturer of vanity sink legs, has expanded its product line to include custom-built shelving. Utilizing proprietary fittings and solid brass tubing, Palmer can fabricate backbars configured and sized to fit individual space and design needs. The tubular metal shelving systems are available in 3 component styles and 14 finishes.
Space-Saving Wine Refrigeration
Perlick’s space-efficient, climate-controlled column refrigeration for wine includes single- and dual-zone models with separate temperature controls and high-capacity storage (94 bottles, single zone; 86 bottles, dual zone). Features include triple-pane bronze-tinted glass that enhances energy efficiency while protecting wine from exposure to UV rays; a PerliQ digital touch screen; and heavy-duty, full-extension, soft-closing shelves that provide vibration and label protection.
Custom Bolt-Down Barstools
Taken Barstools offers custom handcrafted bolt-down cast metal barstools for casual restaurant and bar operations. Choose between two base styles: Seattle Classic (shown, with optional footrest) and Ballard Roman. Choose from seven base colors and three wood seat options: golden oak, fruitwood or dark walnut.