How to Start a Bar: What to Look for When Buying Bar Stools

How to Start a Bar: What to Look for When Buying Bar Stools

How to start a bar

Are you thinking about opening your own bar? Are you wondering what you'll need to get started?

The atmosphere of your establishment is one of the most important elements that will make it successful. And the bar stools, as well as the make of the bar itself, will go a long way toward making a positive impression on your customers.

If you're thinking about how to start a bar, you'll need to know how to choose the right barstools. 

Here's how you can start looking.

Consider Counter Height

Whether you're shopping for a home or commercial bar, it's critical to choose stools with the right bar height. 

Shorter bar stools are popular for home kitchen bars. There should be between twenty-three and twenty-eight inches from the ceiling to the seat.

When choosing stools for restaurants, however, you'll want to measure from the top of the counter to the floor, and then subtract twelve inches from your table or counter height.

Counter-height bar stools are becoming increasingly popular in restaurants. You'll want to measure the length of your bar and be certain that you have room to space your bar stools comfortably.

Be sure that the seats of your bar stools fall at least a foot below the countertop. You don't want folks bumping into the counter each time they move closer in to eat. 

Under normal circumstances, bar stools should be spaced about a foot and a half apart. With current social distancing restrictions, however, you'll want to make sure the way you space your bar stools is in keeping with local regulations.

Bar Stool Style

Think about the style of your bar before choosing stools. If, for example, your bar is in a western style, you won't want darkly stained stools that appear more formal.

Industrial-stye bar stools are popular in outdoor restaurants. If you're looking for wood bar stools to use outside you'll need a denser wood, such as eucalyptus or acacia. You don't want the wood to warp if customers are sitting outside in damp weather.

Classic leather-and-wood styles work well in restaurants like steakhouses and bistros. You'll want your bar stools to match the ambiance of your establishment. You won't, however, want to be using these heavier materials if they don't match your bar's aesthetic.

Some bar stools come in wood stains and others are made in durable metal. If you have customers that tend to stay for a while, stools with backs may be a great option for you. Armrests are also a great way to make people comfortable and encourage them to stick around.

Special Features

Swivel stools can help guests to avoid getting up to go back and forth to the counter. They are a great option if your bar is a popular place for socializing on the weekends.

Upholstered styles add more sophistication to your bar. Your guests will be more comfortable on leather seats.

Some bar stools also come with footrests. These will give them a place to keep their feet, and even give your less tall customers a boost getting into their seats!

Think Practically

Make sure your bar stools are built to withstand the wear and tear from regular customers. Barstool legs should be stable and not squeak or tilt when customers stand up or sit down.

You'll want to choose a fabric that's high quality, and make sure the coating is stain-resistant. Remember that your customers could spill their food and drink on the seats. Choose furniture that's easy to wipe down and doesn't require excessive cleaning. 

Available Warranties

Stools in bars and restaurants are not likely to be lightly used. There will be adults of all shapes and sizes sitting, drinking, and eating on them. Folks will be jumping up off of them for a quick bite, and kids will be climbing up on their parents' laps.

Make sure you choose a company that will stand behind their product by offering a year warranty and take advantage of it. 

Finding the Right Distributor

You'll want to ask around before choosing a distributor to purchase your restaurant furniture from. Talk to other local business owners about who they've found reliable.

Make sure you get at least three different estimates for your bar or restaurant's needs. You'll want to be certain that the price you'll be paying is reasonable for the product you choose, as well as your geographical area.

Call up distributing companies and make sure folks seem knowledgeable and able to answer your questions. They should always treat you with courtesy and professionalism. 

If you can't get any personal references for distributors, search up companies online. Don't be afraid to read online reviews so you know about former clients' experiences.

You may see the same comments recurring, such as everyone loving the funny owner or the sturdiness of the furniture. Or you may see negative comments about a lack of reliable service.

Remember that anyone can get a bad review once in a while. If, however, you're seeing the same comments over and over again, you're probably getting a good idea of what your experience will be like.

If you're happy with your bar furniture distributor, be sure to recommend them to others to encourage positive business relationships!

How to Start a Bar With Furniture

If you are wondering how to start a bar, you'll want to be looking for quality restaurant furniture. Look for bar stools with great height, appropriate style, and excellent durability. Your customers will be happy for years to come!

For more information on quality commercial furniture, contact us today!


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The tallest bar stools we make are 30 inches. You may want to look into a billiard supply company. They sometimes carry taller bar stools.

Richardson Seating

I am looking for bar stools with a 36” seat height. Thanks

Barb McLean

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