Design Buzz

A blog site for those interested in today's bar and nightclub design trends, including interviews and product reviews

Productive Nightclub Design: Multiple Bars for Maximum Profits

How many bars does a nightclub need? Today we'll discuss how multiple bars, service bars and strategic locations can be crucial to maximizing bar profits.

Whoever said that a nightclub or sportsbar needs just one bar? Do old-fashioned “shotgun” bars work? Sure, if your building space is limited and you’re locked-in on your layout, one bar might make sense, but as facilities approach occupancies of 200-300, you may be placing a choke-hold on your ability to maximize profits if you only have a single bar. This edition of Design Buzz addresses the issue of why larger nightclubs and sports bars need multiple bars – and for many reasons that may not seem apparent.

Consider the Basics of Nightclub Bar Design

Nightclubs and sportsbars with occupancies exceeding 200-300 begin to experience inefficiencies in their ability to serve the LED Bar 1needs of their patrons with a single bar. Sure, we can design a single bar to accommodate three efficient bartending stations, but the efficiency bottleneck moves downstream, as your ability get the drinks to the customers can become compromised as the distance to serve them and the crowd size increases. A much more efficient solution might be to split your bar or create another. Although this could mean increasing your capital outlay, the benefits could be far greater.  

Crowd Flow Is Crucial to Maximizing Bar Profits

The first rule of successful bar design is the same as successful nightclub design: effective crowd flow. The line-of-sight is the first critical element. That is, you don’t want patrons to have the ability to clearly see all the way through as they enter your nightclub or sportsbar. By making it difficult to see through the building, we create a sense of pressure which induces adventure, which, in turn, creates flow. People who go to nightclubs and sportsbars are there to meet and make new connections, and this cannot be fully achieved if we allow them to get stuck in one spot. Introducing a second bar to the design gives night club owners the chance for greater profits because it increases the odds for patrons to connect – and thereby stay longer!

WHAT ARE THE MOST Strategic Bar Locations for Successful Nightclubs?

For larger nightclubs, the primary bar should be to the right of the club’s main entrance, as most people gravitate to their right when walking. However, you want them to walk into the facility – so don’t place the first bar right near the front door, or shy people might have an early exit strategy. And remember this, friends: your bar needs to have “WOW-factor” in order to make your patrons feel excited about staying, such as our color-shifting LEDBar, shown above, right. I’ve discussed the need for exciting bar design in an earlier edition of Design Buzz (refer below). As for locations of your second (or third) bar, a really good strategic place is adjacent to your restrooms. How many people do you think want to have a cat-bird seat next near the restrooms so they can check-out the evening’s talent?! If I owned a nightclub, I would definitely design a secondary bar near the restrooms. The next most popular location would be near the DJ booth. The reality is that some people need a dose of “liquid courage” in order for them to make connections. By providing your patrons a place where they can get comfortable – and loose – can help maximize their experience.

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Service bars are necessary in larger clubs for overflow conditions. You might be able to efficientlyPhoto of Rick Uzubell with Smartender serve your customers’ needs with your primary bars during non-peak hours, but if you have a special event or a band on weekends, for instance, you may need a service bar to kick your production and profits into high-gear. Service bars can consist of the following:

·    Small permanently-fixtured bars, often located in the corners of busy areas of the club

·    A portable Smartender bar

·    Back-of-the-house bars

The small permanently-fixtured service bar has been a long-time industry favorite. This type of bar requires permanent plumbing as well as a part-time bartender. The Smartender (shown in the photo above, right) is the immensely-popular new way to address overflow needs, which in the form of a self-contained, portable cart. Because of this, the Smartender, which has an onboard computer / POS with hundreds of preprogrammed drinks, offers the option of having your wait staff enter their orders at any house POS terminal and then make their own drinks by the push of a button. Of Smartender’s many features and benefits I wrote about in a recent edition of Design Buzz (refer below) is its portability. Back-of-the-house bars can be extremely beneficial for many reasons, not the least of which is the reduction in decorative finishing, but also because they alleviate the traffic of the wait staff from the front-house bars. In other words, a club owner could have a back-of-the-house bar designed near the kitchen with a separate pickup window.

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