One of the less obvious but no less important aspects of a commercial bar is the bar top. It is what customers come into direct contact with, may remain at for long periods and impacts their interaction with staff. In other words, it is a big part of the overall experience at an establishment.
Materials, Sizes and Trends
Commercial bar top manufacturers produce custom sizes and designs and will offer technical guidance on the specifics.
Although operators may choose from many materials, the most popular options include wood, metal and concrete. With bar top materials, the advantages and disadvantages of each are mainly subjective.
Wood bar tops serve as a classic choice for a traditional bar or pub setting. When looking at types of wood, walnut and oak are most prevalent, due to their durability, appearance and availability. While walnut provides a classic and cool appearance, white oak can take a beating. Both types can be refinished. Natural hardwoods from local states also are available.
Concrete bars straddle the line between traditional and modern, depending on the styling. Metal bar tops range from ultra-modern stainless steel to warmer metals like zinc and brass. Bar tops also can combine materials with multiple surfacing and custom millwork options. Integrated metal supports can float under the counter as decorative elements.
Most bars measure between 24 and 30 inches wide, while lengths are unlimited and vary, depending on the space. The average bar is at least 20 feet long, but sizes can range from 12 feet long to as much as 300 feet or more. Comfort and leg clearance are key factors when sizing a bar top.
The biggest trend centers on metal bar tops, particularly zinc and brass. There also has been an increase in solid metal bar tops combined with decorative edges. This amalgamation results in added durability with a stylish appearance. Applied seamlessly to the metal top, edge details create a unique focal point.