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Bar Design with Profits in Mind

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Bar Design with Profits in Mind. Tony Abou-Ganim –Moderator Dale DeGroff, Doug Frost, and Stephan Beaumont. Efficient Bar Design. Ice, Ice and more Ice. How about that Soda Gun?. Glassware. Well Thought Out?. Properly Cleaned?.

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bar design with profits in mind

Bar Design with Profits in Mind

Tony Abou-Ganim –Moderator

Dale DeGroff, Doug Frost, and Stephan Beaumont


Well Thought Out?

Properly Cleaned?

In a perfect beer world, the bar is built from the back to the front, as was done in the creation of Brouwer’s Café in Seattle. Proprietors Matt Bonney and Matthew Vandenberghe, also owners of the city’s Bottleworks beer store, knew they wanted to build the ultimate beer café, so they started where all beer service ultimately begins: At the delivery dock.
Bottle and keg delivery at Brouwer’s takes place through a dedicated loading dock that feeds directly into the beer fridge. No hauling kegs through the kitchen or restaurant during service.
Empty kegs are stored until pick-up in a secure area outside of the bar, but all beer is immediately and continually refrigerated.
The metal plate on the wall covers the conduit through which Brouwer’s has bulk CO2 delivered. Like all great beer bars, Brouwer’s pushes its draft with a mix of CO2 and nitrogen, commonly called beer gas, which is blended separately for regular drafts and so-called “smooth flow” nitro-keg brands.
The plastic sheeting allows the refrigerator to hold two different temperatures: A cellar temperature of 52 degrees for stronger ales like barleywines and Belgian abbey ales; and a cooler 42 degrees for pilsners, pale ales and other, more conventional beers.
Draft lines are kept very short, never exceeding 15 or 16 feet, and rather than cleaned, are regularly replaced! (Bars with longer, less accessible lines, should be scheduling regular weekly cleanings.) Fittings and taps are regularly sanitized.
On the service side, before pouring, every glass is thoroughly rinsed by a sprayer. With 64 taps, Brouwer’s averages about one rinser per 10 handles.
After filling, each glass is given a dunk in a cold water bath to remove excess foam and spillover from the side of the glass.
Water for both the rinsers and the bath is first filtered and then run through piping in the beer fridge, so that it emerges at the exact same temperature as the beer.
Taps are arrayed across the back of the bar so there are no barriers between the bartender and customer. Glassware is kept close at hand, and any specialty glassware stored as near as possible to the tap pouring the brand for which it was designed.
Bottles are stored in glass-fronted, rear-filled fridges above the taps, allowing the customers to peruse the bottles offerings even if they have not a beer menu at hand, and completing the impressive, beer-focused aesthetics of Brouwer’s Café.
wine in the bar design

Wine in the Bar Design

Sorry….we ran out of space

the first consideration are the wines sound
The first consideration: are the wines sound?
  • Transportation of the wines
  • Don't buy from a crappy vendor
  • Wines should be checked when they’re checked in
  • Immediate and proper storage of the wines is paramount
wine storage
Wine Storage:

Sparkling wine storage -

a. Bars should have coolers in which Champagnes and sparkling wines can be easily recognized and retrieved.

b. Inventories should be moved and rotated so that labels are not damaged by condensation and abrasions.

c. Sparkling wine by the glass selections should be in a space where the bottles can sit upright.

d. Open bottles of bubbly should have the proper temporary closures available. These should be replaced frequently and washed even more frequently.

wine storage1
Wine Storage:

White wine storage - few bars consider how storage space and lack of temperature control creates insurmountable obstacles for proper wine service.

a. Most bars have insufficient wine cooler space.

b. Wine cooler space is usually dedicated to wines by the glass offerings and perhaps a few bottles of sparkling wine.

c. Wine coolers are usually designed for beer, and are too cold for many white wines.

wine storage2
Wine Storage:

Red wine storage –it's the rare bar that has proper red wine storage

  • Red wine storage is often a series of boxes or shells above the bar, and are ten or twenty degrees higher than proper storage
  • Red wine by the glass bottles are often sitting on the warmest part of the bar with a shredded cork for a closure.
  • Ideal red wine serving temperatures are completely unavailable at most bars.
wine storage3
Wine Storage:

Dessert and Fortified wine storage - this is actually a joke. There are no bars with proper fortified or dessert wine storage. If they existed:

  • There would be racking that allowed the many weirdly shaped and sized dessert bottles to be easily recognized and accessible.
  • There would be proper storage for dessert wines by the glass. Doug noted that he had often been told a particular dessert wine wasn't available at the moment because, "we can't find it.”
  • There would be appropriate equipment and space for Vintage Ports to be properly decanted.
wine storage4
Wine Storage:

Dessert and Fortified wine storage - this is actually a joke. There are no bars with proper fortified or dessert wine storage. If they existed:

  • They would chill all Sherries: Finos would be cold, and amontillados and olorosos would be cool.
  • Ports would be served cool, not room temperature.
  • Open bottles would be dated and controlled properly:
    • Vintage Ports would be used for cooking three to five days after the bottles were opened
    • All Fino Sherries would be consumed within a few days after opening.
storage generalities
Storage generalities:
  • Light destroys wines, unless the bottles are very dark, such as with Port wines.
  • Temperature variance shortens the life of wines.
  • Vibrations from compressors and other machines shorten the life of wines.
  • Corks in wine bottles stored in refrigerators for more than a few months will begin to show signs of deterioration. After six months, the corks may crack from the dry environment.
  • Wines stored in properly humid cellars will have unsightly mold on the corks and even capsules and labels. Be prepared to clean those off before serving them to customers.
serving temperatures
Serving temperatures:

White, roses and sparkling wines – 45-55 degrees Fahrenheit

Red wines – 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit

Dessert and fortified wines – it depends

Cellar storage – recommended between 52-56 degrees Fahrenheit

other issues

Other Issues

Like Glassware…


a. Glassware is exposed to smells, odors, dirt, grime and sometimes smoke. Then wine is poured into that glass and somebody has to pony up $12 or more. That glassware ought to have been polished before each shift.

b. While it's unrealistic to have Riedel glassware available throughout most restaurants, it's odd, if not insulting, for a bar or restaurant to bring a nice glass to the table for an expensive bottle and a cheap one for a less expensive bottle or glass of wine.

c. As the shift proceeds, glassware is often pulled straight from the washer to be utilized without being polished or cooling off. Hot glasses equals hot wines.

d. The only way to clean glass properly is to use steam and a clean serviette. Are those available?

communications and logistics1
Communications and Logistics
  • Wines should be easily inventoried and replaced, especially during the middle of the shift.
  • Wine sales and movement within the bar should be controlled and reported in such a way that theft is unlikely to occur.
  • A busy wine bar has lots of glass trash; it's easier to remove bins of empty wine bottles without clanking cacophony if they're in small bins and the task is frequently scheduled.
  • Out of stocks and vintage changes need to be constantly updated at the site where servers are collecting those wines. Bartenders rarely have the time or information required to complete that task.
  • Extra waiters' trays should be available. Napkins should be everywhere anyone can imagine needing them.
communications and logistics2
Communications and Logistics

a. Wine openers and cork retrieving equipment should be available to anyone who needs it during the shift. Most of the time you'd have to beg for something like that.

i. Screwpulls

ii. Ah-so's

iii. Waiter's corkscrews

iv. Coasters and underliners

v. Three-pronged cork retrievers

vi. Decanting funnels and cheesecloth squares

vii. Are each of these clean and freshly washed?

b. Leftover corks and screwcaps should be kept to the end of the shift, in case customers request them.

c. The bar is often a site where slammed servers might frantically seek a wine list. Are there plenty of (updated) copies there? And, perhaps more importantly, are they clean??

other service equipment
Other Service Equipment
  • Decanters (clean, properly cleaned and ideally shaped for each style of wine)
  • Wine cradles
  • Decanting candles
  • Ashtrays (for matches)
  • Wine coolers
  • Ice buckets
  • Napkins
  • B&B's.

Servers should not have to go to two or three

different places to collect service tools such as

cradles, decanters, ice buckets, bucket stands

and especially, napkins.

is your bar designed for a cutting edge beverage program
Is your bar designed for a cutting edge beverage program?

To stay competitive in today’s marketplace, producing “culinary cocktails” is a necessity.

There is still the perception that booze sells itself… that it’s as simple as pouring liquid into a glass.

Not so!Smart operators have begun to design bars like kitchens; with the the end product driving the driving the design .

The Culinary Cocktail employs ingredients from the kitchen and requires storage never needed in a standard bar.
implementing a cutting edge beverage program
Implementing a Cutting Edge Beverage Program

Take a new approach to work stations

More space and refrigeration for additional garnishes

Refrigerated drawers

Sushi bar style refrigerated rails

Sub-zero glass chillers


Well designed drink stations that function.

Plenty of speed rail

Two section ice bit crushed and cubed

Cold juice storage

Cold garnish storage

Reach-ins behind station should be adjacent to refrigerated drawers


Install a sink drainage system that can accommodate muddled fruit bits, mint, citrus hulls and all the refuse common with today's new culinary style cocktails.

Sink at each station with drain boards on either side (not glass washing sink)

implementing a fresh juice program
Implementing a fresh juice program

Volume will determine necessary equipment

Staff Training



implementing a fresh juice program1
Implementing a fresh juice program

Proper handling of fruit

Juice room temperature fruit only

Determine procedures for juicing

Who juices and when?

How to properly store juice

All juice from juicer to guest must be under refrigeration.