“Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name…” as the famous theme song goes. Truly, few things are as cherished in communities as the local neighborhood bar where everyone can gather over a beer and unwind after a nauseatingly long day. While the days in which people can congregate en masse in a tight, enclosed space seems far behind us, rest assured that the pandemic will calm down soon enough, and the bar as an important community center of sorts will make a huge comeback. People miss it, and realize now how much they took it for granted, and nostalgia will drive people in droves to your bar as soon as they feel safe.
Till then, you might as well take advantage of the current slow period if you have the capacity to do so, and up your bar’s design game. If you were struggling to get a group of regulars to call your bar home before things went down, then you might need to look into changing the interiors a bit. The following are a few ideas that can help.
Choose a Theme
This is the first and perhaps most obvious point, but if your bar does not have a distinct character, then you might already have made a huge miss with locals. The good thing is that it’s never too late to rebrand and change things. While a strong overarching theme can be just as off-putting – very few people would be excited about going to, say, a medieval times themed bar – it does have to have a strong identity. Whether it’s a small sports bar announcing pride for its local teams, or a simple rock and roll bar with minimal decor beyond band posters, then that’s really all you need to get people to come by and discover your place. The decor needs to be inviting yet distinct enough for people to feel comfortable and want to come by again and again. If your bar looks like an arid space you will find in the middle of an airport terminal, then you might not get a bunch of people flocking to happy hour.
Now that we have that major point out of the way, we can get down to the nitty-gritty. One detail that is incredibly important to a bar’s design is where people will sit. If you want to encourage people to hang out, talk, laugh, and nurse a pint or two well into the evening, then the seating needs to look comfortable and unique. There are some ideas, such as classic commercial bar stools that will never go out of style, or a comfy booth that allows for some privacy. There are dozens of Pinterest boards to look to for inspiration, from art nouveau to speakeasy design, to stools that evoke more of a 1950s rockabilly vibe. It all depends on the atmosphere you’re going for, and you’re bound to find something perfect for you and the clientele you want to attract.
The Color Scheme
You can get creative here and change things up according to the province in which you live – for example, if your bar is by the lake, then maybe a nautical theme would be nice – or do something really crazy. Color is arguably the first thing that patrons will notice, besides the music. If you want a more down-home affair, then a simple and cozy color scheme of rich mahoganies may be right for you.
Or, perhaps you want the bar to evoke something a bit more upscale, thereby golden or rich blue and green colors are usually recommended, alongside minimalist artwork. Depending on the atmosphere you’re going for, the color scheme can be used to communicate all that and more to people who walk in.
Tiki bars are having a moment, and people really enjoy them. Who can blame them, especially if they live in a cold climate year-round, a tiki bar seems like a lovely escape. Again, you don’t have to go whole hog on the thematic schemes, but you can indulge a bit in small flourishes that can evoke a different place or even time, making your bar an enjoyable place people would want to visit and huddle in year-round. You can get some tropical decor or a few fun works of art that can add a bit of personality to the space, and let your customers know that your bar isn’t stuffy and doesn’t take itself too seriously. You should also be taking a cue from the drinks menu here, and if there’s a specific vibe a cocktail brings to the imagination, then feel free to telegraph it in some way through the bar’s interiors. Make your event unforgettable with professional mobile bar hire services, offering a wide selection of drinks and expert bartenders to cater to your guests.
Change the Lighting
Lighting is absolutely key when it comes to making people feel comfortable in a bar. If you want people to hunker down in deep conversation, private reflection, or encourage them to goof off and have a ball, then lighting can affect pretty much all of that – not just the aesthetics. There are all kinds of models, from wall sconces that provide light but can also add creative flourishes, to industrial lights that have proven to be especially popular these days and are typically hung from the ceiling.
If you’re going for more of a 1920s speakeasy vibe, or really want to make a statement, then a crystal chandelier is one decorative idea that can really knock it out of the park and make your space extremely memorable. Regardless of what you’re looking for, technology has changed so much that you are bound to find a unique lighting scheme perfect for you.
In these uncertain times, it might seem a bit strange to try to plan and change the atmosphere of a gathering space whose current survival seems a bit unknown. But, the reality is that a bar is one of those enchanted places that people have flocked to for centuries in one form or another. It is key to fostering a sense of community and brings people together in ways that few other spaces can. The most important thing to take care of, if you can, till things change, is to brighten up your bar and make sure it is welcoming – it’s going to be one of the first places people will flock to as soon as they are able.