If you ever have a moment to catch a breath one night in your bar, take a look around. People from all walks of life are there, dancing and chatting the night away. Some are there to celebrate, some to unwind, and others to forget. But one thing they share in common is that they all want to be there. And you provided the environment to make it happen. That’s a wonderful revelation of being a bar owner and that alone washes away the stress of running the place.
The bar crowd is a fickle bunch though so you always have the challenge of keeping the bar trendy enough to attract new patrons. That means constantly innovating with happy hour specials, exciting events, and renovation facelifts. Now you can go full out with slick dance floors, lasers, and black lights all you want. But sooner or later, your patrons will go get drinks and the bar counter is where you want the main attraction to be.
Whatever style you want to project, you can incorporate these universal tips to design a trendy bar counter:
Bar counter workflow
No matter how trendy a bar is, it won’t last long if service is slow. As a bar owner, your most important goal is to keep the drinks flowing. For that, you need an efficient workflow for your bartenders. They get bombarded by hundreds of different drink orders throughout the night. Help them out by making sure everything they need to make drinks are well within reach. Try to cluster the taps, sinks, coolers, and liquor shelves close to the drink preparation area. Your bartenders shouldn’t have to move more than a step to get ingredients. They’ll be happy and your bar patrons will absolutely be happy.
If you have space, set up your bar counter so that it has at least three sides patrons can approach. This will maximise patron seating capacity around the counter. Plus, it’ll help spread out the line-ups for drinks and still leave room for customers to hang out at the counter. On the bartenders’ side, it’ll give them a larger workspace so that they don’t have to get in one another’s way all the time. One more checkmark next to the bar owner’s ultimate goal of fast drinks for patrons.
It’s hard to imagine a nightlife-pumping bar without LED backlights. They’re a fantastic and energy-saving way to use intimate, ambient lighting. LED backlighting will also make your bar counter stand out to become the focal point. LED-backlit liquor shelves are very eye-catching. But LED backlights are most breath-taking when paired with onyx countertops. The natural translucency of onyx gives it a glowing effect when it’s backlit. It’s almost as if Nature designed onyx with backlighting in mind. Onyx also comes in a variety of colours and patterns. This allows you to experiment with different LED lighting colours to create your own unique glow. Onyx is prone scratches though so you’ll have to regularly refinish the surface of the countertop. If you prefer a low-maintenance countertop material, go with quartz. Its stain-resistant and durable surface can handle all that drink-slinging activity. The uniform solid-colour options of quartz also work very well in trendy, contemporary bars.
Bar stools and pendant lights
Your bar stools also play a key role in the look and feel of the counter. The frame of the stools should match the counter design. You can also upholster the seats to highlight a certain colour if you’ve got a theme going throughout the bar. Equally as important is the placement of the stools around the counter. Leave just enough space between stools for someone to slip in to order drinks. You want them to still be able to comfortably chat with the people sitting at the counter. It’s these spontaneous bar-counter conversations that patrons often cherish the most. Install soft pendant lights above the bar counter to cinch the feeling of intimacy.
Liquor shelves and feature wall
Liquor shelves were mentioned earlier as good places for LED backlights. If you want to go for the ultra-modern look, use floating acrylic shelves. Acrylic shelves are becoming more and more popular because of their easy maintenance while still retaining the look of glass. You can also put up custom shelving units for creative liquor displays. Finally, every trendy bar needs a feature decorative wall that marquees its individual style. Why not make it the back wall behind the bar counter? It’ll draw attention to the bar counter for sure. The exception would be if you already have a custom liquor shelving unit in mind that’ll make the bar counter pop. In that case, you can put the feature wall at the other end of the bar, which creates a nice anchoring effect.
That’s it. Pour yourself a drink – you’ve earned it. Here’s to purveyors of life!