Outstanding Spaces: Inviting Bar Design

Designing a great bar for guests to gather around is essential to drive business to your beverage program.

But, the art of designing a great bar can be elusive for some. Lucky for us, we have a talented designer who works closely with our team to develop, design, and build spaces within the successful, farmer-owned Washington, D.C. metro area concept of restaurants for VSAG client, Farmers Restaurant Group. As FRG Creative Director, Leah Browning Frankl collaborates with our team to design functional, beautiful bar spaces where guests want to congregate over some great food and drink.

When Leah’s work for Farmers Restaurant Group’s Founding Farmers Tysons restaurant bar (*see below image), located in Tysons, VA, was featured in an Interior Design magazine, the industry’s leading interior design authority, article entitled, 14 Simply Amazing Bars, we were inspired to sit down with Leah to get her expert take on designing inviting bar spaces.

Here is Leah’s take on the process of designing a great bar. 

FUNCTION: A great bar design starts with function. How many seats will you need? How much bottle space will you need? Is there enough room for a back bar to handle overflow or do you want to display additional bottles and bar supplies on, for example, hanging shelves? Solving for functional needs first, will allow you and your design team to develop the foundation of a great bar.

ENERGYWith Farmers Restaurant Group, for example, we create what we call a “community bar” – designed in the shape of a large “U” – with seating wrapping around the outside of the bar. This design strategy allows guests to see across the center of the bar, creating a lively, social energy, with the theater of fashioning handmade cocktails and collections of craft spirits on full display.

MATERIALS: Choose materials that speak to your overall aesthetic and branding. For Farmers Restaurant Group design, that means adhering to sustainable practices, like using reclaimed and recycled materials, to communicate their story as a farmer-owned, sustainably committed brand. As such, the Founding Farmers Tysons bar, featured in Interior Design magazine, is housed under the dramatic arches of a solid wood pillar reclaimed from a barn frame. While the Moooi pendant above the bar is a modern nod to traditional, industrial steel farming equipment.

Cheers to Leah for her insight in achieving beautiful bar areas designed to welcome guests for years to come.