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.
Metal Bar Finishes
Rigidized Metals Corporation offers textured metals for bar fronts and bar backs. The texture provides aesthetic qualities that can give any bar a unique appearance and aesthetic. The metals come in more than 25 textures, a variety of finishes and micro-textures that designers can combine with deep textures for customized effects. Choose from stainless steel, aluminum, titanium, copper or other alloys.
Rigidized Metals Corporation
Wine-by-the-Glass Made Easy
Wineemotion’s QUATTRO+4 is an eight-bottle, automated portion-control dispensing and preservation system. This model features dual temperature zones for storing white and red wines at a temperature range of 42 degrees F to 70 degrees F. Operators can configure this system for behind-the-bar use or position it out front for self-service use by guests. The unit measures 39.44 inches wide, by 25 inches high, by 14 inches deep.
Signature Draft Cocktail System
The line of Tobin Ellis Signature Draft Cocktail Dispensing products allows bar operators to take advantage of the efficiencies and portion control associated with pre-mixing batches of high-volume, house specialty cocktails. To keep ingredients from separating or settling before dispensing them for customers, this line features a circulation system. The circulation system includes an NSF-approved circulating pump and specially designed Cornelius keg featuring extra ports for hooking up dedicated circulation beverage lines. Blending drinks from the first drink to the last helps maintain product quality.
Modular Bar Die Systems
Advance Tabco Modular Die Systems feature a stainless-steel front and a stainless or galvanized side wall, which includes pre-defined spaces for plumbing, electric, beer and soda lines. The die walls can be sealed to the floor for ease of cleaning and to prevent liquid flow. Panels are supplied where buyout equipment is located. Die wall systems can be modified with recessed GFI outlets and LED lights. System offers enclosed casing for beer towers or soda gun outlets.
Beverage Station Innovation
The Omni-Rinse Model 1 helps bartenders and baristas rinse their tools while making drinks. Omni-Rinse automatically rinses the inner and outer surfaces of a pair of mixing tins, mixing glasses, jiggers, strainers, milk-frothing pitchers, wine portioning carafes and more. While warm water rinses the tools, users can start their next task.
Modular, Scalable Craft Brewer
PicoBrew’s Z Series is a professional-grade, all-grain brewing appliance line. The Z Series’ fluid distribution and heating components work together with stackable chassis components to create scalable brewing solutions. Brewers can use the Wi-Fi-connected appliances to create recipes that run brewing cycles with precise control over temperature, fluid flow and timing, or brewers can download and run existing recipes. The series gives brewers the capability to produce 1 to 10 gallons of beer at a time, with each model increasing the output by 2.5 gallons.
Custom Bottle Storage Solutions
Weimann Metalcraft offers custom metal crafting services. Solutions range from custom wine towers and glass racks to space-saving bar “hats” created from aluminum, copper and acrylic with integral lighting.