The Bar, My Favorite Topic
I’ve been to a bar or two over the years, but as we put together The Bar Issue, I’m amazed not only at how much I learned, but how much expertise it takes to map out and equip a well-designed bar. Those who do it skillfully pay intense attention to all of the processes bartenders go through to serve drinks, including access to ingredients, equipment and supplies, sanitation and security. According to our experts, a truly well-designed bar can be hard to find. So much can—and often does—go wrong. Kathy Casey, President of Liquid Kitchen, Seattle, says bar design has not changed with the times. Cocktails have evolved with the additions of fresh fruit, herbs and custom mixers, but most bars don’t accommodate these ingredients properly. Casey’s other pet peeve is a bar that requires staff to lock up the liquor every night, but isn’t designed for it. Tired bartenders are tasked with putting stock away at closing and pulling it back out before opening.
Brock Bodart at Dykes Food Equipment and Design, Brentwood, Tenn., wonders why we continue to see equipment legs blocking floor drains and soda guns installed over the ice bin. Why aren’t underbars well lit or fitted with enough outlets? You can argue whether you need a glass washer under the bar or not, but glasses need washing and bartenders should be making drinks. Designers also say bars rarely include adequate glass storage. Spots for trash cans are afterthoughts, too.
We’ve pulled together some of the best design tips we heard in our “Anatomy Of A Well-Designed Bar,” and there are many more bar-related articles in this issue. Our Focus gets into the technical details of wine-on-tap systems, which can have a huge impact on increasing by-the-glass revenues and eliminating bottle waste. New to the market are specialized mixology stations for serious cocktail crafters. We also present a guide to specifying glass washers for bars. The maraschino cherry on top of our bar-centric content is a roundup of the 2015 National Restaurant Association Kitchen Innovations Award recipients; they are remarkable. I hope you enjoy this issue and learn as much as I did.