Underbar Layout & Equipment Guide
While the front of the house and the back bar of your establishment have both presentable flare and functionality, the nitty gritty work takes place under the bar. This is the most important part of your bar set up as it is directly linked to your bar setup. A poorly equipped under bar leads to inefficiency and loss in sales.
Essential Underbar Equipment
Every under bar needs a sink to pour out excess beverages, clean glasses and to rinse blender units. Choose between one, two, three and four compartment sinks depending upon the length of your bar. Bar sinks are shorter, narrower and not as deep as regular compartment sinks, which allows them to fit in smaller spaces.
Also grab some upright glass washers for the inside of your sink so that you can wash glasses as quick as they come off the bar. If you buy a sink with drain boards on the side, you can let your glasses drip dry on them.
The three standard sink sizes are 18", 21" and 24" from the backsplash to your walkway. Be sure you have the correct measurements for your sink space before buying.
Storage CabinetsSome storage cabinets have drainboard tops. A great place for these units is right beside the sink because glasses washed in the sink can go immediately on the drainboards to drip dry.
If you have a small bar with little space, consider a cabinet with a sink top in lieu of a larger compartment sink. If you have a larger bar that needs an additional sink, you can use one of these units to supply you with another sink as well as cabinet space.
Cocktail Units and WorkstationsIf your bar serves cocktails, then you need at least one of these units. Cocktail units are small, while workstations include drain boards and blender stations. The center compartments are great for holding ice, while the side rails are for holding mixers for drinks. Some allow for a speed rail to fit along the front for holding your most used liquor bottles. Choose between a cold plate or standard cocktail units and workstations.
Cold plate unitsHave circuits underneath them that are kept cold by the ice in the center bin. If you are serving fountain drinks, use a cold plate unit, as you can run the lines underneath to cool the soda so it won't foam is it goes into the glass. Both and come in cold plate models.
Standard unitsUse foamed-in insulation to help keep the ice cold. These units are significantly less expensive than cold plate units. However, they are not practical if you are using a soda gun. Use this as an extra cocktail unit or workstation in addition to a cold plate unit. You can use a standard unit if your bar serves canned or bottled soda in lieu of fountain drinks. Both and come in standard models.
Blender StationsFor making frozen cocktails, you will need both a blender, and a blender station. These stations are large enough to hold both the blender and your glass as well as the bottles you are using.
If your bar only uses a blender every so often, then any commercial blender will work. For bars that serve blended drinks constantly, we recommend a more heavy duty blender such as the Waring Xtreme Series Blender MX1000XT. Blenders that are not designed for heavy duty use will have to be replaced in 4-6 months, costing you more money in the long run.
Direct Draw Beer DispensersThese direct draw beer dispenser units are easily tucked underneath the bar, leaving the refrigerated unit out of site while the tap displaying the name of the beer is on top for all of your customers to see.
If serving high volumes of a specific beer, consider having it on tap. Not only does it taste better than bottled beer, it saves you money, as beer on tap is less expensive per volume than beer by the bottle.
Ice Safety SuppliesStock up on ice safety supplies. When transporting ice from the ice bin to the cocktail units or workstations, use NSF approved buckets and totes. Only plastic buckets are NSF approved. Stainless totes are great for ice housing, but not for holding serving ice. Never use an empty bucket that is not designed for ice carrying.
Keep at least one scoop in a holder near your ice bin and your cocktail unit. Discourage your bartenders from scooping with glassware, as it makes the glasses prone to breaking, and if they do break, the clear glass is difficult to find in the ice.
GlasswashersLot of different types of glasses are used in a short period of time in a busy bar. It is important to clean them quickly and efficiently. Place a glasswasher under your bar so that your glasses can be washed promptly and put back into service.
Speed RailsSpeed rails help your bartenders get the liquor they need quickly. They are essential for an under bar area. Keep the most used liquor bottles in these speed rails for easy access. When purchasing these items, decide whether or not you want to attach them to your under bar with screws or slings.
Bar GlasswareIn order to serve a beer or proper cocktail, the correct glassware is needed. Decide what types of glasses to buy and how many of each to keep on hand.