Bar Design for commercial premises presents several unique challenges. Getting it wrong can result in empty seats and an empty till...

When designing a bar there are many decisions to make based on the number and budget of the clientele, and the general atmosphere you want to create. Deciding between luxurious, homey or high tech gloss bar design is a matter of personal taste, but also a matter of what has succeeded in the past in any given area. Before doing anything, a prospective bar owner should tour all the bars in the area, to see what seems to draw a crowd. Pay attention to the bar design, overall décor and atmosphere. Observe which bars are empty and which ones are full. Try to figure out why. Different locations have different preferences, so scope out the competition before opening a bar.

Colors, Textures and Lighting

Most people prefer soft lighting in bars. It should be bright enough for people to see their way to the rest room, and dark enough to feel cozy. Soft warm textures and colors are usually preferred, unless you want a high tech feel to your bar. High Tech bar designers keep the theme of sleek uncomplicated lines. The high tech bar design is best achieved by using black, just a little white and one primary color, such as red, or blue.

No matter which look you choose for bar design, avoid unnecessary clutter by hanging glassware, and arranging bottles neatly in one area. The countertop of the bar should have a glossy surface, so that it always looks clean, and neat. This means choosing a durable material, which wipes clean easily, and doesn’t circle.


Durability is a major concern in a bar. Be sure the bar stools and any other seating are heavy enough not to tip over easily when people get up. They should also be strong enough to hold 500 pounds without breaking. Heavy people drink too. Sometimes bar stools wear as they get older. Be sure to check the furniture before opening each night to make sure the furniture isn’t splintering. The bar itself should be easily wiped clean and resistant to stains, gouges, and scratches. Stone countertops such as marble or granite are an excellent choice for that reason. Wood counters are also beautiful, but may not hold up as well. Metal is cold, and not in a good way. Cool marble or granite may cost more upfront, but are well worth it. Synthetic marble or even Formica can be used, but Formica will need to be replaced eventually. Natural stone is forever. Floor coverings should not be slippery. A dark colored carpet that is easily cleaned is ideal.

Traffic Patterns and Open Spaces

Even though in some establishments square footage is limited, avoid the temptation to overcrowd seating. Overcrowding furniture is a huge mistake in a bar design. Be sure to leave walking room and standing room, especially behind the seats at the bar. Nothing is more annoying that sitting at a bar and getting shoved in the back by everyone walking by.

Bars should always be comfortable. Seating should be comfortable, and the atmosphere should be inviting. Color should be used to attract the eye, but not over used. Neutral colors, especially black and wood tones lend well to bar décor. Decorations should be kept genre specific and to a minimum. A great clock with a beer company logo is nice. Ten of them would probably be too much. Bar design should be kept simple.

Author's Bio: 

Astore-Harrison have been at the fore-front of Bar Design for over 25 years.