A packed to the gills bar lives and dies by the speed of its bartenders. This requires a well-designed bar that the bartender can quickly and efficiently navigate. An integral part of any bar is a speed rail or speed rack. This inconspicuous piece of equipment is involved in the creation of most drinks made with spirits. It houses and organizes the most commonly used alcohols in a convenient, easily accessible area so that bartenders can pour drinks in one place. Because of its importance, there are a few things to take into consideration when choosing a speed rail that will help a bar achieve its potential for fast and convenient service.
The first thing to consider when purchasing a speed rail is location. Where a speed rail can be placed will determine its size because all speed racks must be mounted to another piece of equipment, they are the leeches of the bar equipment world. Thankfully, most bar back equipment can accommodate a speed rail. The most common pieces of equipment for speed rail placement are cocktail stations, cocktail units and bar sinks.
- A cocktail station typically includes an ice bin, cold storage for mixers, an area for making cocktails and sometimes a sink. These units are intended to have speed rails mounted on them to create one stop shops for boozy creations.
- A cocktail unit generally represents a small piece of what makes up a cocktail station.
- Bar sinks are designed with long flat fronts that are perfect for mounting speed racks.
The purpose of a speed rail is to increase efficiency, so virtually any other piece of bar equipment can serve as a mount for a speed rail. The other major factor when choosing the location of a speed rail is proximity to the soda gun. For the most efficient set up, look to install your speed rail as close as possible to the soda gun.
As stated earlier, the size of a speed rail will be determined by the piece of equipment that it is placed on. So the size ranges of speed rails match the different sizes of bar equipment. In most cases it’s best to purchase a speed rail that is the same width as the equipment it’s going to be mounted on. Bartenders never complain about there being too much storage space behind the bar. If the piece of equipment is fairly narrow, there are double tier speed rails that provide two rows of storage.
If a plain old speed rail seems a little bland, feel free to dress it up with these accessories. Hanger straps are a great option if the piece of equipment that is to play host to the speed rail does not have a side wall or cannot be punctured with screws. For hotels, restaurants and bars that want a little added security there are speed rail covers. These covers fit over the speed rail and lock the bottles in place, protecting them from theft and breakage.