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5 Design Elements Bars Should Consider for Enhanced Performance

The biggest reason bar designs don’t work is because those doing the designing have often never tended bar, let alone in a busy Las Vegas nightclub pumping out hundreds of drinks per hour.

Often bars fail to get the attention they deserve when it comes to the overall design of a restaurant or hotel, and as detailed in a recent article by Nightclub&Bar, this can be detrimental to an operators success, especially considering how bars are popping up in places where we don’t typically expect them, such as the coffee shop by day, cocktail bar by night scenario.

In the article, Nightclub&Bar sat down with Perlick partner, Tobin Ellis, to discuss what design elements are most important, and here is a brief recap of those critical factors:

1) Place the bar in the right location.

This sounds like a no-brainer, especially considering how bars are often the biggest profit center in the entire operation. The physical bar needs to be in the right location to optimize hospitality and maximize profitability.

“Operators will spec things down to their chairs and then just draw in a box where they’ll put the bar,” Ellis said.

In reality, the beverage side of the business should receive the same respect and attention to detail as the food side of the business, perhaps even more because it’s more profitable.

2) Put things where they need to go.

Once the bar is in the right location, the elements of the bar need to be in their ideal spots, too. This is where it’s important to understand the night-by-night routines bartenders must complete. A bar that’s designed with a mis en place philosophy will be organized to maximize a bartenders potential by eliminating processes that are simply wastes of time.

“You don’t build a car from the body inward,” Ellis said. “Design matters.”

3) Display things properly.

More than any other time in history, guests are curious about what they’re drinking and are looking to expand their repertoires. Experimentation and education can be just as important as a well-made drink, as guests are there not just to enjoy themselves, but to learn. Bars need to consider this and create displays featuring new spirits or hot trends.

4) Make space for delivery.

For better or worse, the bar is often the place where people go when they’re looking to pick up that takeout order they called in 30 minutes ago. When the bar is two or three deep at happy hour, the last thing a bartender or operator wants is to take up valuable real estate with drivers from Uber Eats. Bars should account for this growing takeout trend, and plan accordingly.

5) Safety first.

Well, in this case, we’re listing it last, but bartender safety is really one of the most important design trends anyone should consider. Designs should avoid sharp edges or jagged right angles, instead opting for clean, smooth lines that are conducive for leaning and bumping.

“To a bartender, every inch—every millimeter—counts,” said Ellis.

The bottom line is design matters, for both guest enjoyment and staff satisfaction.

That’s precisely why our Perlick team has partnered with Tobin Ellis to take these designs — and many others — to put them into use in bars across the country.

“There is no immersion without people,” Ellis said. A happy team of bar professionals should be a high-performing unit that maximizes profits for the entire operation. See what others have to say about some of these designs in this video testimonial of the Tobin Ellis Signature Cocktail Station.

tobin ellis cocktail station