When planning your back bar design, you should be sure to spend some time making a list of all the bar equipment and bar products necessary for your establishment. This list should not only assess what you may already have in the bar well but what you know you still need. Eventually this list will become like an inventory of all the equipment that you have—the kind of list you would want should your place burn down in a fire. So here is a little bit of help. Here is a list of the essential back bar equipment and bar products you will probably need in order to get your bar up and going.
This list will cover everything from large fixed equipment like refrigerators to minor accessories like napkins and straws. So here is the basic list of essentials:
This section covers all the appliances and fixtures that are necessary for a properly functioning bar (FOR MORE ON PRACTICAL BAR DESIGN SEE OUR ARTICLE):
Coolers: Most bars employ at least two coolers–one for back-up storage in the rear/private area and one at the bar to keep bottles and/or garnishes ready for individual shifts. These expensive bar products can be further subdivided into different kinds. The back coolers can either be walk-ins or regular sized coolers. The bar coolers can either be beer coolers, under bar or over bar coolers. FOR MORE ON COOLERS, SEE OUR COOLERS ARTICLE.
Kegerators: For bars that want tap beer but do not have either a walk-in or and under bar cellar to keep kegs cool, the under bar kegerator may be the solution. (For more on the bar products, SEE OUR KEGERATOR ARTICLE.) Be aware, however, however that many establishments do not have this type of bar equipment.
Glass Washer: A dishwasher especially made to handle bar glasses, this is a must have in terms of bar products since it is both faster than the sink and because it frees hands for other tasks. You will also need specialized washing trays for stemware and for pint glasses.
Bar Sinks: The bar sink—especially the triple sink—is an essential bit of bar equipment, even if you have a glass washer and is often required by health department.
Beer and Wine Dispensers: Liquor dispensers—also known as beer and wine guns—are very helpful as well.
Ice Maker: For the rocks.
Cash Register: For the dough.
Overhead TV: For the eyeballs.
Bar Supplies: Glassware
Of course, the most important of bar supplies are glassware bar products since these are what you will serve your customers with. Here are some basics. For a fuller consideration, SEE OUR GLASSWARE POST.
Beer Glasses: Pints and pilsners glasses for everything from Guinness to German Beers.
Wine Glasses: You will need both white and red wine glasses in most cases and to know the difference. FOR MORE ON WINE GLASSES SEE OUR POST
Shot Glasses: For both measuring and serving hard liquor. (FOR A COOL TAKE ON USING SHOT GLASSES, SEE OUR POST ON TEST TUBE GLASSES.)
Martini Glasses: For mixed drinks.
There are also some essential bartending tools you should have as part of the bar. (FOR A FULLER DISCUSSION OF BARTENDING TOOLS, SEE OUR POST.)
Bar mats and service mats: Plastic counter top mats for mixing drinks.
Openers: Bottle openers and corkscrews, possibly wall mounted.
Ice Bucket: If the ice machine is not handy for the bartender.Cocktail Mixers: If you are going to do cocktails you will need a series of different bar products including cocktail shakers, strainers, pourers, muddlers and jiggers. Also a bar spoon for the actual mixing.
Cocktail Rail: A cocktail rail, sometimes called a speed rail, holds the common cocktail mixers for quick access.
Rimmer: For making the perfect margarita—one of the essential bar accessories if you intend on having margaritas.
Cutting Board: For cocktails with fresh garnishes.
Essential Bar Accessories
It seems like an oxymoron to call something an “essential accessory,” and yet that is exactly how you should think of these items—as add-ons that you really can’t live without.
Garnishes: For cocktails and to spruce up regular drinks.
Napkins and Coasters: You can either provide both or have the napkin do double duty.
Straws: Both for stirring and drinking. (FOR MORE ON THE USES OF STRAWS IN YOUR BAR, SEE OUR POST.)
Garnish CaddyTo help with organization and ease of transportation, you should have caddies for the garnishes. The best kind will also be book-ended with holsters for both straws and napkins.
Cleaning Items: Of course, you will also need hand towels and various cleaning products as you would expect in any such drinking establishments.
With these essential bar products, you should be able to get going. Of course, individual bars will require slightly different bar equipment and have other kinds of essentials. But this should give you sense of your overall needs.
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