Your Bar Lighting Primer

Your Bar Lighting Primer

Few things have more of an effect on your bar or nightclub than bar lighting. Whether you are going for the corner pub sort of feel or for a hyper modern LED Bar all done up with modern lighting, you want to make sure that you get your bar lighting just right.

Here then are some important tips for enlisting your bar lighting to help make your establishment a success:

Use Soft Light for Booths and Intimate Spots

A bit of soft lighting with warm oranges or flickering candles creates just the kind of intimacy that you want for your bar or pub. For booths, candles in glass containers can create intimate nooks for young friends or lovers. (Be careful that you don’t overdo it however, unless you don’t mind having all out face sucking going on in the corners of your pub.)

Lounge lights are also best accented with glass wall sconces so the sitting room is bathed in a romantic half-light—an especially good option if you have a lot of dark woods.

Use Flashy, Modern Lighting for Dance Floors and Other Bar Focal Points

For a more upbeat contemporary look in bar lighting, and LED bar schemes give your establishment a hyper-cool, classy vibe. From the LED bar shelves and LED bottle displays in the bar well, to the modern lighting in the dining and drinking area, the LED bar exudes wealth and class. The combination of Tivoli accents along floor boards and the shimmering reflections from the liquor display are worth an extra dollar or two for drinks in themselves.

Bar Lighting

Photo Courtesy of Emmanuel Raab (via Wiki Commons)

LED lighted bars are especially popular in the lobbies of high end hotels or in the business district, but keeping up this kind of ambience will require more than just a bit of modern lighting. An LED bar requires accompanying service at the same level. For more LED ideas see LED Lighting for Your Bar or Nightclub .

Match Your Bar Lighting to Promotional Night Themes

Being able to control your bar lighting is also important for your various promotional nights. Ideally you want to have enough control over you bar lighting in order to create a bright young atmosphere for your Hawaiian night and a dark, dungeon like atmosphere for your Goth night.

In addition, whether you have an LED bar with a dance floor or a corner bar that goes in more for lounge lighting than LED bottle displays, you want to be sure that you have all of your lights on dimmers. Dimmers let you turn the lights up or down as need be. Dimmers are important because they let you turn up the lights to indicate that everybody should leave at closing time (and to help your bar crew be able to see well enough to clean up) and because when you go from dinner service to dance club, you want to be able to indicate the change by dimming the lights. (For more on controlling lighting effects see: How to Use a DMX Lighting Controller in your Bar or Nightclub .

Beware of Spillover and Harsh Transitions

There are also several practical considerations when it comes to bar lighting, not the least of which is spillover lighting. Since you generally want your back bar service areas like the kitchen, bathroom and storage rooms to be better lit so your workers can function properly, you want to be careful not to place the doors to these areas right next to intimate booths or intentionally dark spots. No matter how well layered your lounge lights, the opening door to a kitchen is likely to ruin the mood for those clients who occupy that spot.

Similarly, you want to be sure to have transitional lighting in hallways leading outside or to bathrooms, so that clients are not shocked by the sudden change in light.

Use Bar Lighting to Promote Safety

In addition, it is important to make sure that all safety exits and hazards are properly lit. That means placing neon sign indicating exits, recessed lighting beneath stairs and lighting up fire extinguishers wherever necessary.

Use Bar Lighting to Promote Your Drinks

Finally, your bar lighting can be used to help push drink sales. You can do this in various ways.

  • First, present your liquor display attractively with LED bar shelves illuminating your more expensive spirits.
  • Second, in addition to your LED bottle displays, buy glass lamp shades that advertise drinks you would like to push and fit them onto pendant lights or wall mountings.
  • Third, get neon (or LED) window decorations with liquor logos on them.

All of this is to say, that even if you don’t have a dance floor or a stage for live music, your bar lighting is an important feature of your establishment for both practical and aesthetic reasons. (Though actually, in the bar business aesthetics are hard to separate from practical concerns since so much of success in this business has to do with the vibe that you create via lighting and other such features.)

So it is definitely worth considering how well you are able to pull off the sleek modern lighting you are going for or whether it is better just to stick with lounge lights and a nice liquor display.

Filed Under: Bar / Nightclub DesignBar / Nightclub Lighting

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