Perfect Bar: Design Essentials for an Engaging Customer Experience

bar interior

Perfect Bar: Design Essentials for an Engaging Customer Experience

A well-designed bar is the centrepiece of a successful establishment in the catering, leisure, or licensed trade sector. Whether you operate a bustling city pub, a stylish cocktail lounge, or a cosy countryside inn, your bar plays a crucial role in enticing customers, fostering a welcoming ambience, and elevating your establishment’s overall appeal. Unlocking the potential of your bar space allows you to craft memorable experiences that will captivate your clientele and keep them coming back time and time again. In this comprehensive blog article, we will explore essential design elements and best practices to help you create the perfect bar atmosphere, offering expert advice and guidance from the experienced professionals at ABM Catering for Leisure.

As a leading provider of design, specification, supply, and installation services for catering equipment, bar fixtures, and contract furniture, ABM Catering for Leisure is well-equipped to help you bring your vision to life. Our in-house workshop ensures the creation of bespoke furniture and upholstery to complement your unique design sensibilities. In this informative guide, we will delve into various aspects of bar design, from layout and furniture choices to lighting and material selections, offering valuable insights and tips that cater to varied styles and establishments.

Establishing an Efficient Bar Layout

A well-thought-out bar layout is fundamental to creating a seamless and enjoyable experience for both your customers and staff. Consider the following factors when planning an efficient and effective bar layout:

1. Workflow: Design your bar with a smooth, logical workflow in mind, ensuring that bartenders can quickly and easily access the necessary ingredients, tools, and glassware. This minimises waiting times for customers and maximises staff productivity.

2. Seating: Arrange seating to provide optimal comfort and accessibility, without impeding the flow of traffic. Factor in a mix of seating options, including bar stools, tables, and comfortable booths, to cater to different customer preferences.

3. Storage: Incorporate ample storage for bottles, glassware, and supplies in the design. Utilise vertical space with wall-mounted shelves or cabinets and strategically place under-counter storage to keep essentials within easy reach.

4. Space Management: Ensure there is sufficient space behind the bar for multiple staff members to work comfortably, while also allowing customers to approach and order drinks without obstruction.

Selecting the Right Furniture and Fixtures

Choosing the right furniture and fixtures can greatly impact your bar’s atmosphere and aesthetic appeal. These tips can help you make informed choices and create a cohesive design:

1. Style: Select furniture and fixtures that complement your bar’s overall theme, be it modern, industrial, classic, or rustic. Consider materials and finishes that align with your desired aesthetic.

2. Comfort: Prioritise comfort when selecting seating. Opt for cushioned bar stools, upholstered banquettes, and well-designed chairs to encourage longer stays and foster a welcoming environment.

3. Durability: Invest in high-quality, long-lasting furniture. This ensures minimal maintenance and replacement costs, as well as a consistently polished appearance for your bar.

4. Customisation: Collaborate with ABM Catering for Leisure’s in-house workshop to create bespoke furniture and upholstery tailored to fit your unique design vision.

Optimising Lighting for Atmosphere and Function

Lighting can transform the ambience of your bar and plays a significant role in creating a welcoming and appealing environment. Consider these factors when designing your bar’s lighting scheme:

1. Mood: Use dimmable lighting and warm-toned bulbs to create a warm, intimate atmosphere. Experiment with lighting levels to achieve the desired mood for your establishment.

2. Function: Ensure that key areas, such as the bar, tables, and any food preparation spaces, are well-lit to facilitate essential tasks. Task lighting can effectively illuminate surfaces without detracting from the overall ambience.

3. Aesthetics: Choose lighting fixtures that complement your bar’s design, enhancing your chosen theme and adding visual interest. Wall sconces, pendant lights, and chandeliers can all contribute to your bar’s distinctive aesthetic.

4. Flexibility: Incorporate a versatile lighting system that can be adjusted for different occasions and events, such as live music or private functions, allowing you to tailor the atmosphere to suit the situation.

Incorporating Unique Design Elements

Cleverly integrated design elements can set your bar apart from the competition and create a memorable experience for customers. Consider these ideas when developing your unique bar concept:

1. Focal Points: Design a striking focal point, such as a distinctive bar counter, a striking back-bar display, or a dramatic lighting installation, that draws customers’ attention and adds drama and visual interest.

2. Architectural Features: Highlight your establishment’s architectural features, such as exposed brick walls, original beams, or high ceilings, to create a unique and intriguing atmosphere.

3. Artwork and Accessories: Showcase eye-catching art and decorative accessories that reflect your bar’s personality and theme. This could include photography, paintings, or even quirky vintage items that spark conversation.

4. Personal Touches: Add personal touches that communicate your story and passions, such as memorabilia or nostalgic items related to your business’s origins. This helps create an authentic and engaging connection with customers.

Partnering with ABM Catering for Leisure for Expert Support

With ABM Catering for Leisure’s comprehensive design, specification, supply, and installation services, creating your dream bar becomes a seamless and satisfying experience. Our in-house workshop produces high-quality, bespoke furniture and upholstery, while our expert team assists you in bringing your unique design concept to life. By combining our industry know-how with your creative vision, we can help you craft an exceptional bar experience that captivates your customers and sets your establishment apart.


Designing the perfect bar requires a harmonious blend of functionality, comfort, style, and stunning visual impact. By focusing on efficient layouts, carefully selected furniture and fixtures, the right lighting, and unique design elements, you can create a commercial kitchen and bar that stand out in a competitive market. Partner with ABM Catering for Leisure to realise your bar’s full potential and elevate your customer experience, ensuring ongoing success and a loyal clientele for your catering, leisure, or licensed trade business.

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