Service, decor, drinks selection and food items, or at least snacks for bar patrons, all contribute to make a good bar but within these broad categories, there is many small factors which make an excellent bar. What follows is something of an overview.
Warm welcome at the entrance instead of “You’re no longer on our list. You’re not coming in mate”.
Ideally every guest at the best bar near me should be greeted and made feel at home as they enter.
It’s difficult to engage in conversations with the people seated at a bar. Hence, there was a Savoy’s American Bar Peter Dorelli used to introduce guests to each other to stimulate conversation between them.
Friendly, efficient table service makes a bar stand out. A professional server can tell when glasses are empty and, after recollecting what the guests previously ordered is asking if they’d like another. In the same way, they should observe that a guest is not drinking and ask if it is suitable for them.
Toilets should be cleaned and regularly checked. Hot water and hand towels are an expected part. Toilet attendants who are waiting to hit you with a splash of soap and a towel to return tips should be avoided.
Bars that are well-designed and stylish get better with time but, at the same time, it’s telling when bars need to be redesigned every few years.
Simplistic or clutter-free
Simple interiors can look fantastic but bars with a lot of clutter generally feel more cozy and have walls covered with pictures or other items that are arouse interest especially for those who drink alone.
Great bars emit a warm glow about them with no shining bulbs.
The floor of a bar does not have to only appear attractive, but it also has to be robust enough to withstand spills and high heels. Hardwood floors with thick planks are the best choice for flooring.
The best designed, practical and well laid out bartender station areas are vital. Bartenders need everything they require at arm’s length without having to move.
People like to sit at bars, therefore great bars are stocked with counter space. Bar stools should be comfortable with backs, arm and foot rests. The ideal height for a bar counter is 43 3/4 inches/ 110 cm. The counter should have enough overhang (at least 10 inches / 25 1/2 centimeters) to properly accommodate guests legs to allow them to be close to the bar. Particularly important for eating at the bar.
Hooks for coats
Each restaurant should provide hooks at regular intervals under the counter to hang handbags and jackets. If there’s no toilet service, then there should be enough hooks for coats at the table’s edge.
Chairs and seating
Chairs should be comfortable and not too low that they are difficult to remove from. A table or ledge to rest food and drinks should be at the reach of each chair.
Good ventilation is essential especially in areas where smoking is still allowed.
The temperature should be maintained at a moderate level – not too hot nor too cold. In the bathroom, too.
The ambiguity of gendered signs on toilets could be a humiliating that guests must pass. They should be simple and clearly illustrated to be understood by various languages.
Space that is empty
A good atmosphere is the most difficult thing you can achieve. Difficult to pin down however bars have either it, or they do not. Really great bars manage to do this while attracting a few people. Empty space kills atmosphere and islands are a fantastic way to split up the space and make even the quietest bars appear more atmospheric. False walls that are able to be opened up to reveal more space during busy times are extremely effective.
See design above. Light that is bright does not make for atmospheric.
The music should be appropriate to the mood and be at the right level.
The crowd is friendly and varied, but not too busy.
Fruit flies are a no-no and are a sign of a dirty bar.
Drinks and snacks available
* The best bars will have more than 20 beers available on draught and 100s by the bottle However, even if just three beer options are available, the choices should be varied that includes different styles, rather than bland Euro beers.
* Beers should be served appropriate, clean cold glassware – ideally specific to that beer. Never from the bottle.
* It’s great to see an alcohol menu that includes tasting notes, or perhaps food matching recommendations.
* Beer is best offered by knowledgeable and experienced staff members who provide tastings of the draught beer they serve.
* The most excellent bars have wine lists to shame 3-Star Michelin restaurants. However, twelve wines can be considered a worthy selection. The list should comprise intriguing bins that have a variety of grape varieties and styles. Blends should go beyond two grape varieties.
• The list of wines must be well-designed, with brief tasting notes and food match recommendations.
* Wines should be handled by knowledgeable staff who can provide recommendations.
It is recommended to have a good selection of wines available by the glass with a Enomatic system or secularised to ensure that wine is served at their best.
* Truly great bars offer an extensive selection of top liquor brands in every category – not just gin.
* Good selections include some unusual spirits, as well in more well-known must-haves.
* All bottles, except those bottles that are the fastest moving should be sealed to stop the evaporation of water and contamination. Pour spouts do not ensure the seal of the bottle.
* The top bars have cocktails menus, with tasting notes, along with suggestions for aperitifs as well as after-dinner drinks.
* Every “cocktail bar” that claims to be a ‘cocktail bar’ should provide great drinks that taste great and are well-balanced using freshly squeezed juices.
Great bars come with great ice with drinks preferably served with moulded or carved the ice. (I prefer shaking and stirring using inch cubes.)
* Cocktails should be served in elegant, clean and chilled glassware. Don’t use Z-shaped stemmed Martini glasses or big Martini glasses (5 to 7oz max).
It is better to create several perfect cocktails instead of presenting a list of 100 mostly badly made ones. Many of the world’s best bars offer less than a dozen cocktails that they offer.
* A assortment of modern and classic cocktails, including at most one signature cocktail from the house.
Cocktail menus should not contain any mention of “sour mix”, “grenadine” and local laws that permit “sugar”.
Menus should contain drinks that bartenders are proficient and confident in making. “Our trained bartenders can create any drink you request” is a ridiculous claim to put on a menu. Have you noticed the amount of cocktails offered on this website?
The best signature cocktails can enhance the name of a bar. Examples include the Pisco Punch in San Francisco’s legendary Bank Exchange Bar, the Bellini at Harry’s Bar, Venice, the Bloody Mary at Harry’s Bar, Paris, the Singapore Sling at Raffle’s Hotel, Singapore, the Daiquiri at El Floridita, Cuba, Tommy’s Margarita at Tommy’s in San Francisco.
Be aware of the three key factors that affect cocktail bartending: 1. Ice & dilution – size of cubes, long distance of shake or stir. 2. Accuracy of measure – difficult to “free-pour” a small fraction of an inch. 3. The quality of the ingredients (particularly juices and syrups made from sugar).
Alcohol-free drinks and cocktails should be available for pregnant women, drivers, youngsters… as well as those who just thirsty.
A good bar must offer excellent coffee.
Each bar should serve iced drinks for free along with alcohol-based drinks, particularly in short cocktails and spirits.
A must-have accompaniment
Many of us believe that food is an integral component in the responsible consumption of alcohol and in a lot of cities, like Portland, Oregon it is mandatory for bars to serve food.
People stay for longer durations at bars with food, rather than going to seek food elsewhere.
Simple and easy to follow
Simple foods like the club sandwich, cheese selections and charcuterie boards made of great bread are enough.
Snacks at the bar should simple and not require knives and forks.
Dips and chips
Every bar should serve Chips (fries) or dips.
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