New York, United States — As a former society caterer and restaurateur turned restaurant designer I have spent a lifetime in the industry and maximized my success by assisting bar and restaurant owners in the art of transitioning their establishments from old and tired, to new and exciting by adding creativity and wow-factor to any bar design.
The ongoing evolution of the food and beverage industry precipitated the need for more innovation in the art of bar design. Today’s new generation of restaurant-owners that I deal with are legitimate business people and understand the importance of the additional revenue a bar can bring to their operation.
I always start out by making the point that function is always the first priority of a new design, but function needs the addition of “wow-factor” to create a meaningful impact. My job is to interpret my client’s ideas, and then elevate them into something exciting and memorable. That collaboration with the client is the key to creating great original design that is reflective of the owner’s style with the added ingredient of the “wow-factor” designed to leave an indelible mark on the customer’s psyche.
Here are some bar designs that I hope will provide inspiration to anyone looking to build a new bar or renovate an existing one.
At Fins in Cape May, NJ, I opted for an LED edge-lit poured glass bar top. As a former restaurateur, I knew that when tourists passed by they wouldn’t be unable to resist the allure of this brilliantly illuminated high-end design and my assumption proved to be on point. Fins is busy night and day in the popular oceanside Victorian hamlet and everyone talks about that bar!
FINS Bar & Grille, Cape May, NJ – Edge-lit Glass Bar
In Long Island, NY, my challenge was to rebranded the former Ships Inn into a 7T8 European Fusion restaurant. I stretched my imagination and turned the dated shellacked pine paneling into a stunning wave wall of contemporary gray hues that glide across the wall with recessed LED lit accent coves. In its previous life as The Ships Inn, there was no bar and no space for one, by creating an angled wall I was able tuck a beautiful bar of the appropriate size. The bar was hand-crafted translucent onyx and black granite, and back lighting provided a soft ambient glow.
7T8, Back-lit Onyx Bar
Inspired by the uniqueness of a small-town resort in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, I converted an old deck with picnic tables into a new covered outdoor elevated pavilion bar renamed “Timber Breeze,” that provided the perfect site lines for the stunning views of Butternut Lake. I exploited these amazing views with a contemporary and rustic hybrid design by using local craftsmen, eliciting a sophisticated yet warm and cozy interior.
The interior features a one-of-a-kind patina’d copper topped barter that glistens with oxidized colors of aqua, orange and teal hues. This unique finish is the design highlight of the resort and fawned over by every patron that sits at it facing the lake and enjoying a cocktail and the view.
Timber Breeze, Butternut, WI – Patina Copper Bar
The bar at Cuzins Restaurant in Marlboro is an excellent example of listening to the client and then combining function with wow-factor. It is an indoor linen quartz bar and I designed a custom salt water fish tank which also doubles as a tiered liquor display. The opposite side of the bar opens up to an outdoor patio with a retractable roof. Guests on one side of the bar are enjoying the outdoors and have a view of the action inside the restaurant, while guests at the same bar, indoors are enjoying a cocktail and gazing at the exotic species of fish in the aquarium.
Cuzin’s Linen Quartz Bar with Tiered Liquor Aquarium Display open to Outdoor Patio
Finally, a more whimsical example of interpreting a client’s vision and true to form, elevating it into a signature design element with “wow-factor,” is the bar at the long-established Scarborough Fair, in Sea Girt, NJ. The client originally wanted the same live-edge wood bar top he had previously. I advised the client of the poor function and uncomfortable jagged edge associated with that type of bar top to say nothing of its dated appearance and suggested something new. I weaved the client’s desire for the live-edge wood into the “bar-front” and “bar soffit” instead of the bar-top which created a storybook feel to this castle-like building which has housed this nostalgic restaurant for over 40 years. And for the actual bar-top itself, I used to pour and ground tricolored concrete, which gave it a smooth and fresh new vibe. Needless to say, the client was overjoyed and so are his new bar patrons.
Scarborough Fair, Sea Girt, NJ – Live-edge wood bar-face with tricolored concrete bar-top
If you are looking for a unique bar design idea, or looking for more inspiration, please visit my website. It showcases numerous pictures of custom designed bars with a variety of finishes including metal and marble bars, quartz bars and polished concrete bars, and edge lit glass and sea glass bar-tops. http://www.raymondhaldeman.com/restaurant-design-portfolio
Email: [email protected]