5 Examples of Killer Bar Menu Design Ideas

By: Sarah Johnson

5 Minute Read

Dec 08, 2017

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Need new bar menu ideas?

Last week, we published a post on drink menu design tips for bars and restaurants that are trying to optimize their bar menu.

Now, we're taking a step back and focusing on some more general bar menu ideas for your bar or restaurant.

So if you're just getting started on your bar, check out these tips and design examples to make your idea a reality.

Designing a bar menu may seem easy, but there are a few tricks to keep in mind when designing it. As a former bar manager, I know there are a few important things to take into consideration.

  • How often you change your drink options?
  • How many drink options are you offering?
  • What kind of drink options do you have to offer?

You want your bar menu to fit in with the theme of your bar, be easy to read and understand for your guests, but also allow you to sell your most profitable options. You also want to make sure your bar menu offerings are easily accessible for employees in the bar POS system.

1. Separate Your Bar Menu From Your Food Menu

Keep your bar menu small physically. The menu should take up very little space on a table or bar so it’s easily left behind after guests order food. You want people to be inclined to order another. Consider a standing menu or a table tent. Even if you have too many menu items for a small standing menu, get creative in keeping the physical size small.


Large font will entice guests to look into what options you offer. Remember to also accentuate your most profitable items also through menu engineering. You can italicize or bold these items, but to make your menu more interesting, try using a different font all together.

2. Choose the Right Material to Make Your Bar Menu

If you change your drink options often, the material you use should be cheap and easy to change out when updated. Use paper that is not too expensive, but not basic and cheap like copy paper.

Card stock is likely the best option - especially when pinned or wrapped to a harder surface like below. But consider all options, and remember to recycle!

cardstock menu.jpg

Also, make sure that the menus are easy to clean!

This is super important because no one like a menu that has leftover ketchup on it or, well, you know what happens when some patrons order too many drinks.

Don’t let guests think you’re sloppy. If the restaurant is small, consider a large menu on a wall that is easily visible from everywhere. Use chalk or some other erasable ink so the menu is easily changed and never gets dirty, and make sure you're using a bar POS with a quick edit mode so your staff can keep up with the changes to the bar menu.

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Fitting Your Bar Menu With the Theme of Your Bar

A bar can be virtually any theme. Make sure that your bar menu (and the rest of your menu also) fits in with the theme so your guest experience is more consistent and memorable.

Let's look at some noteworthy examples.

Example #1: Notable and Foldable

For a first example, let's look at a pretty nifty Japanese sushi restaurant's drink menu.

origami menu.jpg

Why not have your bar menu be an easily unfoldable origami or if your drink menu is small enough, fold it into an origami fortune teller. That’s a pretty unforgettable and interesting way to entertain your guests while also enticing them into ordering another drink.

Example #2: Blast From the Past

Running a bar that has some sort of historical essence to it?

newspaper menu.jpg

Consider a menu designed as a newspaper! Newspapers are interesting for guests to look at, and also offer easy ways to make your most profitable items stand out by putting photos. Make the date of the newspaper the date that your drink menu was launched, the day the restaurant was came to fruition, or today's date if you change your menu often enough!

Example #3: Hanging Happy Hour

Tiki Bar or any bar that exists al fresco?

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A menu that stays in place and is easily visible from wherever guests are sitting is a good option. Having menus that can blow around in the wind isn’t the most reasonable when running a bar that is open to the elements. Anything and everything can be your canvas, and it doesn’t have to be expensive, like driftwood or old surfboards at a beach bar.

Quick Bar Menu Fixes for Bar Menu Success

Designing your bar menu for profitability is not easy, but there are a few quick fixes you need to take into account no matter how you’ve decided to set it up.

First thing's first: know which menu items are more profitable and more popular than others, using sales reports from your bar POS system. This helps when it comes to pricing, placement, and more.

From there, here are a few tips and tricks to design to sell those profitable offerings:

  • Don’t use the same color for every item listed. You want your most profitable drinks to be highlighted, so consider a drastically different color from the rest of your menu.
  • Have your revenue drivers up top. People read menus from the top right to the bottom left, so place your stars as the first items guests will read.
  • Bring attention to your stars. Highlight “best sellers” by putting them inside of boxes.
  • Be creative! Try bolding or italicizing certain menu items, use different size fonts, or different fonts all together.

Want more unique menu ideas? Click below to learn how to build a better menu!


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