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How To Design A Sports Bar: 10 Sports Bar Design Ideas


Tessa ZuluagaAuthor

Sports bars are all about the experience: the love for the game, the cold beer, and the comradery. The environment that you create around your flat-screens and drafts determines if fans will choose your restaurant or not on game day. To help you out, we put together this list of sports bar design ideas to set the stage for every game. 

In this article about sports bar design, we’ll walk you through

  • Real examples of sports bar design ideas 
  • How to use ideas successfully 
  • Best practices to gain repeat customers

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10 best sports bar design tips you need to know

1. Bar seating is crucial

This one should come as no surprise! When looking at decor ideas for your sports bar, you probably see many options for seating. It’s important you consider your bar’s aesthetic and the comfort of your guests. The more comfortable they are, the longer they’ll stay, leading to bigger tabs. Sit in your own bar seats to make sure they’re nice and padded!  

South Boston’s Shenannigan’s Bar was renovated a few years ago and added these stunning blue bar seats to bring a pop of modern color to a classic Southie bar. 

2. Choose a theme

Choosing a theme is one of the most important aspects of your bar. You’ll design around your theme and consider it when making bar purchases. In your business plan, you need a bigger theme than just a “sports bar”. For some concept inspo, check out this article.

Pub Royale in Chicago goes beyond your typical bar grub with an extensive menu featuring loads of delicious Indian-style food. 

3. Lighting (or lack of) is key

No one wants to look at a TV with a giant reflection bouncing off of it. The lighting in your sports bar can affect your guest’s experience. Make sure you have blinds on any and all windows. Depending on how the sun hits your building, carefully place your TVs and windows accordingly. 

Mercury Bar located in New York City keeps its bar lighting low for optimal sports game watching.  

4. Incorporate interactive options

Unfortunately, there’s not always a championship game on ESPN. To keep your guests entertained in the off-season, provide a few other forms of entertainment. Some of the most classic sports bars have billiards tables, dart boards, arcade games, and more to add a fun touch to their bar.

5. Create brand loyalty (where everyone knows your name) 

Personal sentiments can go a long way. Some bars let their guests tape dollar bills to the walls, others allow sharpie art directly on the bar top. Another decor idea your regulars will love is a mini photo wall of them enjoying their time at your bar. Capture those memories and decorate your bar with them. 

Cheers in Boston doesn’t need an introduction…its concept of brand loyalty still inspires many bars today. 

6. Consider your bar

Naturally, your bar should be the center of your floor plan. Focus on designing the right bar for your concept. Some bar decor ideas for 2022 are:

  • Display your spirits
  • Have stylish bathrooms
  • Design a unique bar top
  • Install unique lighting

Blue Dog Beer Tavern keeps the people of Sherman Oaks, CA well-fed and entertained at this cool sports bar with a familiar ambiance. 


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7. TV placement is crucial 

It’s crucial that guests can see the big screens! Carefully place your TVs in different spots at different angles throughout your bar. Then, do a practice round…sit in each seat in your space and make sure you can see the TVs without having to move. Make your guest experience the best it can be! 

8. Pay attention to your location

Don’t put Jets gear in a Giants bar…things could get ugly. Pay attention to where your bar is located and do some research to make sure you know the favorite team in that area. Once your bar gains the reputation of being the place for a specific team’s fans, you can consistently bring them in each week.  

Yankee Tavern in New York City is the place to be for away games! The entire bar is Yankee themed and game days are incredible here. 

9. Design your bar for upsells 

Always design your bar with upsells in mind. Show off your most expensive spirits, display your cocktails in an irresistible presentation, and have the right lighting behind your bar. Your specialty cocktails will most likely sell better if they’re written out on a menu behind your bar. 

This way, guests read them and want something more expensive than a "well" vodka soda. 

With beautiful lighting, bottles, and bar-placement Barstool Scottsdale makes an attractive display to increase upsells. 

10. Details matter

Last but certainly not least, what makes a bar a great bar are the little details. Take the extra time to make your space a little more welcoming. Consider the LED beer signs on your walls, the cleanliness of your bathrooms, and your menu design. Add those twinkle lights to your ceiling. Go the extra mile to make your space a great one. 

Legend’s Corner in Nashville has the coolest bar top with vinyl pasted underneath. Details matter!

Keep ‘em coming back for every season 

If you follow these simple tips you’re bound to have repeat customers coming back for every game day. So make sure you have the proper bar technology to optimize your steps of service. Use a modern POS system, especially one that allows you to pre-authorize cards to avoid walk-outs. Nothing beats great beer, a good game, and a lively atmosphere. 

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