After talking to more than 50 owners of craft beer bars across the nation and having visited many more bars and breweries throughout the last five years, three bar layout design elements were clear to me as must-haves:
- Easy to clean
- Functional for the team
- Comfortable and intentional for the guests
It seems like an obvious trifecta, but so often they get de-prioritized or entirely overlooked. Style comes first or maximizing the square footage of sale space. I wasn’t going to let that happen with this beer bar.
I understand that cleanliness sends a signal of care and intention. It’s also just best practice. To make it work, however, I’ve had to be mindful of the surfaces I use, appliances I purchase and even the legs of the bar chairs. (Truly, the list is endless.)
Functionality is just as important for the staff. I remember bartending at a local brewery taproom and coming home after a shift wondering why my ribs were aching. Turns out they were bruised from leaning over the bar top to reach glassware and clean up. It’s the little things … and they matter.
Lastly, it’s about the guests who will enter the door. I’ve had to design so it’s not a cluster when more than five people are in line or when a woman sits on a chair while wearing a dress and her legs don’t stick to the seat or freeze because they’re touching metal.
Once a beer bar design idea makes it through that trifecta of a ringer the battle ensues between creativity and spec. It’s the most troublesome part of the process. Great ideas die and banality starts to show up because something has to meet health code or building code or some other code that takes too much time to fight.
That being said, choices are still being wisely made to convey a look of colonial home meets cabin, contemporary beckons nature inside, a Scandinavian cafe switches from coffee to beer–ultimately, a bright, social and well-intentioned space that invites you to leave with more than you entered.
See you soon.