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Design Buzz

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

Top 5 Design Ideas about Purchasing Countertops for Nightclubs and Bars

How much do bar tops cost? Today we'll discuss the most popular countertops for bar and nightclub design, purchasing tips, pricing and installation methods.

We live in an age where we have an abundance of choices for countertop materials; we can thank the custom home industry for this. It’s great to have many choices, but the downside to this is information overload for the consumer – making the correct choice is more complicated than ever. Although this is not a complete list, this one constitutes the majority of the possibilities for countertop considerations of our clientele:

  • Granite
  • Quartz
  • Marble
  • Corian
  • Wood
  • Laminates

There are, indeed, many choices to consider when purchasing countertops for nightclubs and bars. Today I’m going to discuss the design information, including features and costs you need to consider when purchasing countertops for your nightclub or bar:

What are the Most Common Countertops for Nightclub and Bar Design?

Here’s a rundown of the most popular choices:

  • GraniteReception Desk with Granite Countertop
    1. Advantages: for pure aesthetics, granite is difficult to beat; since it is a natural product, no two patterns are identical; some high-end patterns are quite spectacular; because of the random nature of most patterns, repair can often be un-noticeable; many patterns have coordinating floor tile.

    2. Disadvantages: cost; porous surface makes it susceptible to staining; limitation to specific cleaning agents; must be periodically resealed.
  • QuartzBar Top with Quartz Countertop
    1. Advantages: non-porous and therefore excellent in a food environment; some patterns have a likeness to granite; certain patterns interact nicely with club lighting.

    2. Disadvantages: costlier than granite; doesn’t have the same sheen as granite; because it is a solid, manmade product, it can be difficult to make unnoticeable repairs; for stone purists, this is not a natural product; most commercial dealers do not sell coordinating floor tile.
  • Marble
    1. Advantages: similar to those of granite; standard patterns are priced similar to granite.

    2. Disadvantages: this material is soft and porous, which requires higher maintenance; like granite, higher-end patterns can be twice as costly as quartz.
  • Corian
    1. Advantages: since this is categorized as “solid surface,” its color is constant, making for simple repairs; seamless appearance; some patterns have movement similar to that of granite.

    2. Disadvantages: scratches easily; looks less natural than stone.
  • WoodWood Bar Top With Wood Edge
    1. Advantages: available as green-certified; unique appearance – no two pieces are alike; high lustre.

    2. Disadvantages: soft and porous and absorbs odors – liquids can cause staining; the periodic maintenance (sanding and refinishing) is costly, time-consuming and messy.
  • Laminates
    1. Advantages: most affordable; seamless appearance.Reception Desk with Laminated Countertop

    2. Disadvantages: scratches and chips are visible; durability; edge seams are visible; edge banding susceptible to constant maintenance.


What is the Best Countertop for Nightclubs and Bars?

While each material has its own merits, the most popular choices are granite and quartz. My personal favorite is granite. Say what you like, but to me, nothing is better for nightclub and bar design than granite. The combination of lustre and the unique beautiful patterns that Mother Nature gives us with stone, granite is the best. In fact, granite far outsells quartz. According to Monica MacKay of Buffalo Granite & Marble in Buffalo, NY, quartz represents only 30% of their business; it is specified most commonly by design professionals for businesses with multiple locations (such as auto dealerships). The reason? In order to maintain the consistent appearance that only a manufactured product like quartz provides.

What Else Do I Need to Know about Countertops?

A word of advice about quartz: if you are considering quartz for your nightclub, the only way to adequately understand the appeal of any sample is to take a large piece (at least 12” x 12”) back to your club and evaluate it under club lighting. Because some quartz has somewhat of a translucent nature, judging these quartz samples under studio or office lighting will not yield a correct evaluation.

There are numerous edge treatments for countertops. One of lesser-known (and my personal favorite) is the laminated edge, wherein additional material is cut and adhered to the visible edges, such as the 3” edge shown in the above photo. This is a great, masculine look!

How Much Do Countertops Cost?

According to D’Andre Craig of Athenian Marble in Oklahoma City, OK, the current starting cost (including installation) for granite and marble is $50 per square foot, while that of quartz is $52 per square foot, while pricing for their Corian-like patterns begins at $40 per square foot. Remodelingexpense.com reports that wood countertops begin at $40 per square foot. Homewyse.com estimates that laminate countertops begin at $17 per square foot.

What Are the Best Tips for Successful Countertop Installations?

The tenets of construction apply with countertop installation: preparation is the key success:

  • Ensure that all supporting structure is plumb, level and square and properly anchored.

  • Proper underlayment is the next most-important factor. For instance, for granite bar tops I always recommend two layers of ¾” CDX plywood (for granite footrests I recommend ½” Durock® cement board, or equivalent).

  • Install the underlayment continuously and set-back not more than 3” from each edge of the countertop footprint, i.e., 18” of support for 24” deep countertops, 24” of support for 30” deep countertops, etc.

  • Each layer needs to be installed cross-grained with respect to the other (the second layer is installed perpendicular to the first layer), and the entire assembly is glued and fastened with countersunk screws.

  • Use a belt sander and bondo on joints that aren’t level.

Oh yeah, a word to the wise: do yourself a big favor and leave the installation of the countertops to the experts.

We Work International Customers

If your bar or nightclub application is outside the U.S., we'd be delighted to work with you! We're familiar with the metric system and can furnish you with the appropriate plans and specifications for construction. With our web-conferencing and Basecamp 24 x 7 project management system, we're fully capable of servicing your needs. Please click here to learn more about our methods.

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Call Us For Your Next Design Project

Our standard bar design service includes all construction plans and equipment layouts. We would be happy to assist any stripclubnight club, or bar owner who would like to incorporate time-proven design ideas into your venue. Please feel free to contact us.


Seven Questions Commonly Asked About Bar Design 101:

1.      What Professional Bar Design Services Do You Provide and How Much Do They Cost?

2.      How Can My Bar Be Designed for Maximum Efficiency and Profits?

3.      How Much Does Bar Equipment Cost?

4.      How Do You Design and Build a Commercial Bar?

5.      What Are The Best Lighting Products for Bars?

6.      What Are The Best Countertops for Bars?

7.      What Is The Best Furniture for Bars?

To learn more about Bar Design 101 click here

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