How to design a professional bar area

Updated: Dec 21, 2020


Bar or countertop dining areas can be a great addition to the restaurant floor plan. If you haven’t considered one, you should if space allows. It’s a more profitable use of space than a large waiting area since the customers can order drinks while they wait and this will help the income of your clients. Plus it creates small-footprint dining space for diners expecting not to seat at a table especially when they are by themselves.

For placement, a bar or countertop that shares its back wall with the kitchen works very well, especially in small spaces. That lets you tie into the existing plumbing for bar sinks, plus you can add a pass-through window to the kitchen for a diner, cafe-style coffee house, or bistro restaurant concept.

To maximize your client’s restaurant profit designing the bar area is really important. Remember drinks first always! They will entertain your client’s customers while they are preparing their food in the kichen.



The set-up of a restaurant bar depends on obviously according to the restaurant’s size, theme, and the liquor license of your client. If they are only serving beer and wine, a small service bar is more than adequate for their needs. Remember some bars are service only, meaning they don't serve customers directly. Instead, the staff will order and pick up drinks for the customers. Other full-service bars offer drinks as well as a limited or full food menu.

Remember your bar should also be functional for the restaurant since it is where waiters order and pick up drinks for their tables.

Figure out how much space your client has in his restaurant.The size of the available bar area may also dictate what type of bar service your client wants to offer. Ideally, 70 centimeters of space between bar stools is a good rule of thumb to accommodate guests. So if your client wants eight seats at the bar, you'll need about 6 meters bar. You could design as well a standing-room bar where customers wait for tables and reservations.

If your clients are planning to have a full-service bar in the restaurant, where customers can sit at for just for drinks you will have to consider a type of counter top, generally between 25/35 cm. If your clients are planning to sit their customers at the bar for a meal, you will have to consider a type of wider counter top, generally between 45/55 cm in order to adapt confortably the customers’ knees under the bar counter top.

The bar should also be functional for the restaurant, as it is where servers place and pick up drink orders for their tables. So in this case you need to have a specific area for this where you will not have stools in front of the bar top and you will need to consider a back counter glass washing area.

As a matter of fact you need to design a bar area that is a perfectly independent working area. Nothing will come from the kitchen since all the drinks will need a proper refrigerated counters. The back refrigerated counters will have glass doors in order to let customers have a look at the selection of drinks while we suggest to put neutral counters in front bar and refrigerated counters with stainless steel drawers or doors according to your clients requests or concept needs.

Decide where are you going to put your client’s bar according to his or her needs and the type of food & drink concept they will want to open.Consider the sort of gathering place where you want the bar to be a focal point of attraction and a functional location for the staff and the clients. Bars placed in the front of restaurants often do double duty as waiting areas and service counters. Not all restaurants have the space to designate the waiting area so a bar placed at the entrance can help. Those do have space may opt to keep it separate, while others incorporate it into a bar area. Bar Counters placed in the back of a restaurant tend to be more intimate, away from the front-of-house hustle and bustle but if your clients want to sell drinks they have to be visible and accessible.

Coolers should be big enough to hold bottled beer, white and blush wines, as well as backups of juice, milk and other beverages, used to mix drinks. A restaurant bar also needs a beer tower and a place to keep kegs cold. Also in a professional bar we suggest to put all the motors of refrigeration outside in a separate room. This will give you extra space for storage and optimize the consumption of the AC since they produce heat and a bit of noise. Also, you do not want an engineer in the middle of the dining service, in case of a problem, to fix it in front of your customers.

You may have to run beer lines from the walk-in cooler if your bar doesn’t have enough space for kegs. Cover the floors of the bar with rubber floor mats for employee comfort and safety. Use a raised dais between the front and the back bar counter in order to pass all the plumbing and drainage and electric cables in order to save costs in building works.

Remember to suggest a nice coffee machine at the main entrance and provide a technical service counter for it. Nowadays people are fond of hot drinks especially cappuccinos and espressos and place it close to the main entrance since it can boosts breakfast in the mor