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By
Sarah Ward

Bar Setup Ideas: 6 Efficient and Essential Plans

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When you look up bar setup, you'll be sure to find two things you need: efficiency and aesthetics. Efficient bar setup ideas are, as any of the bar books will tell you, half the battle. They make it easier for bar owners and workers to keep restaurant operations moving. They also make the whole bar experience that much more enjoyable for patrons. The aesthetics of a bar setup and layout are equally important for bringing joy to customers and making the bar feel like the place to be. While both aspects are important for your bar setup, setting up for efficiency is the most important for getting your bar started. Starting out by looking into bar organization ideas, bar layout needs, and restaurant bar setup practices will get you off to a great start. 

binwise beverage inventory management demo bar setup

Restaurant Bar Setup

Your overall restaurant bar setup should create a space with great customer satisfaction in restaurant industry settings. Part of this setup will come from making everything feel easy and intuitive. That way, customers don’t have to think about where to go or how to order. No matter what the style of your bar is, making it a comfortable space is key. 

Learning how to arrange a bar can take time. After you’ve gotten set up, you may find things to tweak to make it better. However, making things easy for customers to navigate and efficient for your employees to work with will have you off to a great start. 

Behind The Bar Setup

The behind the bar setup should be visually pleasing, but most importantly, it needs to suit your workers. From bar back organization to your commercial bar setup, having this workspace set up will help with the rest of your bar layout.

When it comes to behind the bar setup, a lot of it will focus on equipment and efficient setups for your workers. The under bar area will include a lot of items, while everything viewable above the bar can focus on aesthetics and efficiency. Before you start, you should know what kind of feel you want, to have a goal in mind for all your bar layout plans. 

Bar Concepts 

Your bar concept gives you the most freedom to design your space. For overall design, you have a lot of options:

  • Themed bars
  • Wine bars
  • Craft breweries
  • Specialty cocktail spaces
  • Outdoor delights
  • Secret speakeasy setups
  • Dive bars

Whatever you choose, you'll be off to a good start with an aesthetic in mind. From there, you can start to design the bar management plan and your bar operations manual around the concept, and learn how to arrange a bar.

Commercial Bar Layout 

A commercial bar layout is where efficiency meets aesthetics. A standard layout gives your bartenders about 25 inches to keep everything organized and efficient. While the commercial bar needs to be visually pleasing, it also needs to be one of the most efficient parts of your bar setup.

That said, the commercial bar layout is a place to keep things moving but not a place to do all the work. From the under bar layout to back bar display ideas, there are other areas you can use to make sure the work gets done. Your commercial bar layout can be a place that adds to the aesthetic of the bar. However, it can't get in the way of your bartenders. 

Pouring Station in a Bar

While every part of a bar setup is important, one truly vital aspect of a successful bar is the pouring station. The pouring station, often found in the under bar area, is the space for beverage dispensing. So, any soda, juices, or anything automated comes from the pouring station. The pouring station in a bar also needs bottle wells and a speed rail. This gives bartenders a convenient place to keep the bottles they’re using most frequently. 

While the pouring station may be away from patrons, it is undoubtedly one of the most important parts of a commercial bar. In terms of efficient bar setup ideas, knowing how to arrange an efficient pouring station is one of the first things to know.

Liquor Cabinet Organization

Your liquor cabinet organization is another area where form and function meet in the middle. Bar bottle and liquor display is all about two things:

  • Making customers want to try out your liquor options (or wine options with unique wine bottle displays).
  • Making it as easy as possible for your bartenders to get what they need as efficiently as possible (with ample liquor storage).

While learning to arrange a bar is mainly about making everything easy for your workers (and for the ease of using your barcode scanner app for inventory), liquor cabinet organization is also about the visuals.

Have you ever walked into a bar and decided to try the most expensive scotch because it was displayed with the right lighting? Have you indulged in your favorite bottle of wine, because it was lined up nice and neat and easy to see? The right liquor cabinet organization can make or break a bar setup. If your cabinets make it easy on your staff while making it the best experience (on par with the best bars) for your guests, you’ll be all set to sell. 

Bar Counter Equipment Layout 

Your bar equipment list layout is all about functionality. This is where all your bar organization ideas will come in handy. Your bartenders need to be able to get everything easily, and you can make that possible by simplifying your bar equipment layout

You’ll want to stock your equipment setup with:

  • An ice bin, this will need to be close to where drinks are made.
  • Sinks, both a hand sink and a larger three-compartment sink.
  • A speed rail, to keep the most often used liquors nearby.
  • Serving equipment, like an electric wine opener.
  • Glassware, in a safe yet easily accessible space.
  • A garnish station, right by the drink-making space.
  • Bar and restaurant cleaning supplies, wherever they can fit and be reached quickly.

How you place all these items will depend on your specific commercial bar layout. However, they’ll need to be in a place where your workers can use them as efficiently as possible. This will keep your bar running smoothly as the customers pour in. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Efficient Bar Setup Ideas

There’s always more you can do with your bar setup to make it more efficient, more aesthetically pleasing, and all-around better for your workers and your patrons. As you get to know your bar and your customers, you’ll find what works best, and these frequently asked questions will guide you as you transform your bar along the way. 

How Can I Make My Bar More Efficient?

You can make your bar more efficient by always looking for the problems, and finding solutions. Even if you plan your bar layout meticulously from the beginning, there will be things that crop up that you can improve. By keeping an eye out, you can keep your bar moving towards the most efficient layout possible. 

What Is The Best Way to Set Up a Bar?

The best way to set up a bar depends on the bar. That said, it’s always a good idea to give your employees plenty of space to work, while keeping your theme and style in mind in every design choice. If you keep those two ideas as the base of every decision, you’ll end up with the best setup for your bar. 

What Should Every Good Bar Have?

Every good bar should have something that makes customers and employees feel comfortable. This means plenty of room, the right lighting, and a people-focused atmosphere. It’s less about tangible items, and more about the care you put into every aspect of your bar design. 

binwise beverage inventory management demo bar setup

Efficient Bar Setup Ideas: Final Touches

The final steps of getting your bar business set up just right might happen right before opening, or they may happen in the first few months. You could even learn more from the oldest bars in America. While you should have the basics of your bar layout all set before you open, you should remain fluid with efficient bar setup ideas. This will keep your bar layout the best it can be.

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