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The floor plan of a bar should be accessible to all guests and give customers plenty of space. Many states require you to submit blueprints for building permits, making a restaurant floor plan both crucial and necessary.
Use this guide to create a space for your community to gather and celebrate.
What is a Bar Floor Plan?
A bar floor plan is a map of the physical space of the whole bar – the dining room, ordering queue, bathroom, kitchen, dish station, prep areas, storage, and any outdoor space. The floor plan will let you visualize how all the spaces of your bar will fit together.
Floor plans require a little bit of creativity and research – the floor plan must balance your vision for the restaurant with the accessibility of the space. How your guests and servers will navigate the space is just as important as the ambiance and experience.
A bar floor plan should include:
- A full bar
- Prep areas
- The kitchen
- Dining and seating areas
- The entrance
- Outdoor seating areas
- Entertainment area
- Staff areas, offices, and break rooms
- Your restaurant POS system and cashier stations
- A dish area
- Emergency exits
- Accurate measurements of the space
Options for Creating a Bar Floor Plan
Another option is working with an interior design studio to help bring your vision to life. The right designer will be able to create a focused aesthetic for the space and collaborate with you on honing the guest’s experience.
Go into the design process with an idea of what areas of your bar will be used for what functions – where will the kitchen be? The dining area? Where will guests enter and place orders? Does the layout help guests to navigate the space?
Accessibility Requirements for Bar Floor Plans
States and municipalities all have building codes that public buildings must adhere to. Complying with building codes ensures that your bar is accessible to all guests. But adhering to building codes is the bare minimum. Think about how you might design a space that works for everyone, not just “the average customer.”
When designing your bar’s floor plan, take inspiration from the people that will use the space. Employing the principles of human-centered design not only results in beautiful, usable restaurant spaces but can also lead to more engagement from customers. As you start designing, answer this question – how can you engage all of your community with the design of your bar? How do you want the community to use the space you create?
How to Create a Bar Blueprint and Floor Plan
Whether you’re working with a design team or doing it all in-house, this guide will give you an idea of what goes into creating nightclub blueprints and floorplans.Then, zoom in and build detailed plans for seating, open space, the stage, and decor.
Use floor plan design software to create a map of each of the spaces in your bar. Then, build detailed pictures of the seating, open space, decor, and flow of traffic in each space.
Floor Plan Design Best Practices:
Design accessible spaces with the people that will use them in mind. Consider customers’ and employees' needs as well as local building codes, when designing floor plans for all of your bar’s spaces.
Create space for your guests to stand in line if your bar is counter service, or a waiting area if it’s table service.
Create an intuitive flow of service, so that customers don’t have to guess about where to go or what to do.
Factor in where your employees will take orders and use POS systems to conduct transactions and communicate with the kitchen.
Consider how the floor plan works for the theme and ambiance of your bar.
Full Bar Floor Plan
Design the wet bar so that it’s intuitive – you may want to consult with actual bartenders for feedback. Industry experts know how the flow of bar service works best – no reason to reinvent the wheel.
Your menu and processes should inform the layout of the wet bar. Consider what stations are near each other, how many bartenders will be working on a shift, and the service capacity of your bar.
Also, consider the space where your guests or servers interact with bartenders. Be sure that a pickup counter is accessible. How will your nightclub let customers know where to go? Consider training your staff to guide guests through a seamless experience.
Bar Kitchen Floor Plan
Bar kitchens likely have limited operation, but shouldn’t be an afterthought. Plan carefully to make the most of the space you have. Leave enough room for equipment storage, and for your cooks to prep and plate food.
Cooking in a cramped kitchen creates a bad experience for everyone. Plan your kitchen carefully so that your cooks have the space to work.
Staff Area Floor Plan
Staff areas such as offices and break rooms should be included in your floor plans. Be sure to set aside some of the back-of-house space for your managers to complete administrative tasks and for all of your staff to relax on breaks. Designating an area for staff can help keep your bar organized, by providing a central place to post schedules or announcements.
Bar Seating Floor Plan
There are a lot of creative ways to arrange bar seating. The industry standard, according to Total Food Service, is 60/40. 40% of the space is used for prep, the bar, and the kitchen, and 60% for guests and seating.
Another critical step is calculating the maximum occupancy of your space depending on local building codes. SeatingExpert.com suggests the following to create enough space for each guest:
- 18 inches between each occupied chair
- 42-60 inches between each square table
- 24-30 inches between corners of diagonal tables
Spacing tables further apart and creating wide lanes for traffic is a great way to make your bar accessible to people with disabilities. Additionally, a study by Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration found that guests are more generous with their spending if they have more personal space.
Offering different styles and kinds of seating such as booths, tables, and bar stools will ensure that there’s an option that everyone is comfortable with. And different seating options open up more design opportunities.
Entrance Floor Plan
The entrance is the first impression your guests will get of your bar. Craft an entrance space that invites guests in and provides them with crucial information about how to navigate the establishment. Use signs or architecture to encourage them to move in the right direction.
Entertainment Area Floor Plans
Do you plan on hiring local bands to perform, or hosting open mic nights? Reserve a space for a stage as well as sound and lighting equipment.
Outdoor Seating Floor Plan
If you have the luxury of outdoor space, design a floor plan that ensures that it’s easy to access. If it’s out of the way or hard to find, service will be slow and no one will want to use it.
A nice patio can attract a different niche of customers to your bar and drive additional sales and profits.
Restroom Floor Plan
Believe it or not, restrooms are a deciding factor in many people’s choice of restaurants, according to a survey by Zogby International. Design restrooms that are big enough for guests to navigate, and easy to access from dining areas. Avoid requiring guests to wander through staff areas to reach the restroom.
Cashier and POS Station Floor Plan
You’ll likely establish a cashier station (or a few) along your bar, and more around the seating dining area. Plan to place POS stations where they can reduce the legwork required by your employees. Or, you might use handheld POS devices that your servers and bartenders can take to your guests, to save everyone time.
Emergency Exits Floor Plan
Nightlcub floor plans must consider emergencies – use the design software of your choice to map emergency exit routes. Be sure to communicate those routes to your staff and clearly mark external exits for customers.
Executing Your Bar’s Floor Plan
Once you craft detailed blueprints and floor plans, it's time to start making your bar a reality. Plumbers, architects, electricians, designers, artists and your staff can help you to build the best bar possible.
Achieve the specific ambiance and experience you seek by consulting an interior designer. They can help you to paint, decorate, and purchase furniture that’s both functional and beautiful.
Installing light fixtures in a commercial space should probably be done by an electrician to be sure it’s up to code – the same goes for plumbing and any structural changes you want to make. Trade professionals can ensure your bar is up to standards and safe for operation.
It’s also important to work with city, county, and state officials for all the proper permits for building and blueprinting. If possible, maintain good working relationships with the employees in the permit office – they’ll be sure that your blueprints and any changes get approved on time.
And don’t forget to have fun and be creative! Designing and executing the plans you carefully made for your bar is exciting – put all of your passion into the design process and your customers will feel it.