The key to good bar design is efficiency; the fewer steps a bartender has to take, the more drinks he or she can make per hour and the higher the bar’s sales. Proper layout, smart space allocation and incorporating all of the tools and equipment required to run and maintain the bar is critical. Good bar design starts with input from the operations team—especially the bartender—and coordination between the mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineers and the equipment installers.

Here are some tips on how to build a better bar.

• Make sure the drink rail is guest-facing, perforated stainless with a drain. Also arrange bar equipment, including taps and POS (Point-of-Sale) stations, so bartenders face the customers.

• Install LED or other task lighting under the bar to enhance bartenders’ visibility.

• Don’t forget to design areas for waste receptacles.

• All bar equipment should be on legs or have coved bases.

• Floor drains should be installed so the floor can be washed down.

• Include plenty of space to store glassware, with the right racks for your glass types.

• Triple-check that underbar clearance accommodates equipment heights, legs included.

• High-volume bars require a glass-washing machine with rack storage.

• Backbar shelves need to fit the tallest and widest bottles you stock.

• Bar depths should not strain bartenders’ backs.

• Install a glass/shaker rinser by the wells.

• Build in generous space for beer- and soda-line chases, and don’t let the soda gun be installed in a way that it crosses the ice bin.

• Add a small ice well with spacer bars next to the main jockey-box ice well to store fresh garnishes and fruits chilled and within reach. Do not fill the hand sink with ice.

• Create fully equipped work zones to avoid employee crossover (bartenders, servers and bussers).

A NICE TOUCH: Add purse hooks under the front bar top and outlets for phone charging.

Download our Building a Better Bar chart bere.

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