Start Designing a Bar
How do you start designing a bar?

The prospect of designing a brand-new bar from scratch can be a somewhat daunting task – where do you even begin? Fortunately, there are a handful of core principles to consider when it comes to good bar design, and so by starting with these you are sure to design a bar of excellent calibre.


The aesthetic of the bar is naturally of the most crucial elements of the entire process. A bar needs to look good to entice customers, but it also needs to work with its surroundings to ensure they will want to return. Colour schemes and décor can have a big impact but lighting and selection of materials will all make up your final look so there is more to consider here than you may initially realise.


The feel or atmosphere of the bar itself is another key element which is a little harder to pin down but, furniture and lighting can play a big part. You want to create the perfect ambience in which customers will enjoy their visit, feel relaxed and, most importantly, want to come back to. Steer away from lighting that is too harsh and bright – this will immediately put customers off on entering. Dimmed down, mood lighting tends to work best - something as simple as candles positioned in key locations can really help to set the atmosphere in any venue.


Although the look and feel of the bar is obviously of paramount importance, ultimately it’s the operational layout that can impact the speed and success of service. This makes the practicalities of design, such as use of space, inclusion of speed rails and layout of bottles of the utmost importance. Get it wrong and even if your bar looks the part to the casual observer, the service will be underwhelming or slow, leading to a poor overall impression.

The ‘one step’ approach is the best way to go about designing a bar – ensuring that the bar tender has everything they need to hand within one step, therefore guaranteeing super speed of service and good customer retention.

Walk the customer journey

Details are vitally important in bar design, and the best way to see how well a bar design will work has got to be by walking the customer journey.

Start by thinking about entering the bar, ordering drinks and then leaving after having a great time. You will want to consider how well the space works, how the bar flows and how the back of house and furniture works within the operation. Every single detail makes a huge difference to the customer experience, retention and ultimately, your profit.


Budget will undoubtedly be one of the most important factors when you are designing your new bar. The key here is research – there is no point beginning the designing process to find out that many of the elements you are looking for are simply out of your price range. Get to grips with your venue in its entirety in order to better understand the potential pressures the bar will face, the number of drinks it will feasibly need to serve per hour and the type of menu to be accommodated.

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