A primary challenge many bars face is optimizing service efficiency within tight space restrictions. This is where the right underbar equipment comes into play. Not all bar layouts are created equal and not every need is the same. However, underbar equipment makes it easy to fit in additional work and storage space by fitting neatly underneath countertops to optimize your layout.
Underbar Equipment Essentials
Enhance efficiency with an organized layout that won’t restrict bartender movement with these underbar necessities.
Commercial underbar sinks promote frequent handwashing practices in tight spaces. Models are available with one to three compartments for bartenders to clean and sanitize glassware by hand. Many opt for an underbar sink with drainboards to allow glassware to air dry after they’re washed.
In addition to an underbar compartment or hand sink, you may also want a good glasswasher designed to scrub glasses for a thorough clean. Manual and electric submersible glasswashers are available.
The drawback to manual glasswashers is they require time and labor. This isn’t ideal during high volume rushes where you need to get glasses cleaned and back into circulation quickly before you run out. If high volumes demand it, you may be better off installing a commercial undercounter glasswasher that can wash and sanitize glassware in bulk, in a short amount of time (some units boast 90-second cycles!), and with very minimal effort.
If you opt for a commercial undercounter glasswasher, you’ll want to make sure you acquire the right sized glass dish rack to accommodate your specific glassware height and diameter.
Learn more about undercounter glasswashers in our Glassware Buying Guide.
Keeping ice readily on hand is necessary for quick service of chilled beverages and is especially important if your menu includes frozen cocktails. Underbar ice bins differ from traditional ice storage bins in their size, capacity, construction, and installation. Most underbar ice bins are made of stainless steel and hold a smaller capacity than the commercial ice bin in the kitchen. In fact, you’ll use the ice bin in the kitchen to continually refill the ice bin out in the bar. Their stainless steel construction insulates the ice to ensure it doesn’t melt.
Underbar ice bins will need emptied at the end of the night, but fortunately most include a drain at the bottom to make this process quick and hassle free. Most models are freestanding which make them a breeze to install and maneuver where needed.
In a fast-paced bar, you can never have enough prep space. Opting for a blender station or standard workstation provides a stainless steel top to prepare drinks. Stainless steel is preferred to work on due to its durability, low maintenance requirements, and ease of cleaning. Installing an underbar workstation helps to keep the top of the bar clean and clear for your guests to enjoy.
A blender station provides ample room to keep your bar blender and ingredients for frozen concoctions organized and in one place for an efficient flow of service. Blender stations are also sometimes referred to as mixology stations because they allow enough space for skilled bartenders to quickly whip up their signature creations.
Many workstations combine the best of all worlds, keeping everything together to perfectly optimize the limited space behind the bar. Some include sinks for quick dishwashing, ice bins for convenience, a spot for a blender, prep space, bottle troughs, and storage for glassware. We offer many sizes on our website, but several manufacturers can also customize units to fit perfectly in your bar layout. We can help you get started with this process.
It’s important to think strategically about glass storage. Glasses break and your replacement costs can keep rising if proper glass maintenance is neglected. One common reason glasses break is due to improper storage. Many glasses are designed for stacking, which helps with storage, but some should never be stacked.
Many workstations include areas for glass storage underneath the unit. This is a great place to store beer and mixing glasses. However, for stemmed glassware, such as wine glasses, we recommend installing a glass rack underneath wall mounted cabinets.
You can also install a glass chiller to store and quickly cool beer glasses for more refreshing pours.
Liquor displays and bottle troughs, sometimes referred to as speed rails, provide storage space for liquor bottles. Many operations like to keep their liquor assortment visible to guests so they can readily see what their options are. Bottle troughs come in various sizes, tiers, and configurations. Some are freestanding whereas others can be added on to existing workstations. They’re designed to increase convenience and speed of service by keeping essential liquors and cocktail mixing supplies readily on hand and near the prep area.
Krowne Metal raises the bar, producing industry-renowned lines of underbar equipment – most notably their Royal 1800 and 2100 underbar series. The key difference between these two series is the backsplash depth and height. One isn’t necessarily better than the other – it all comes down to personal requirements. However, it is recommended that you be consistent and use equipment from the same series throughout your bar.
This spec sheet from the Krowne Metal Royal Mixing Series outlines the key differences.
Glastender specializes in bar fabrication, with many customizable underbar units available to design unique workstations that cater to specific layouts. Get started with your design by connecting with one of our foodservice product experts.
Chase joined Central Restaurant Products in February 2016 as a Content Specialist, bringing to the role years of various foodservice experience, including front-of-house service (slingin’ chicken wings and libations with a smile on his face) and back-of-house food prep using heavy-duty commercial cooking equipment to prepare for peak dining hours at his university’s dining hall.
He puts this experience to use writing for Central’s Resource Center, website, and print catalog. ServSafe certified, he enjoys educating on food safety in the commercial setting, researching new dining room and tabletop trends, and sharing innovative solutions to enhance operational efficiencies. He also enjoys (in no specific order) long hikes with his dog, bingeing 90s sitcoms, red wine, and live music.