Creating Communities Within Your Bar

EBar Rescue Insiderditor's Note: The following is one in a series of blogs provided by the experts who have worked incredibly hard to make Spike TV's "Bar Rescue" reality program, starring Nightclub & Bar Media Group President Jon Taffer, such a success. The Bar Rescue Insider blog series will deliver tried-and-true tips and tricks to help bar owners, operators and managers solve common problems and increase their bottom line. Tune in to every Wednesday for the next edition of Bar Rescue Insider!

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Often I encounter bars that have “too much space”; I find the extra space is filled with miscellaneous furniture, oddly placed vending machines, and various other liquidation sale cast offs. When you are fortunate enough to have a bar or nightclub with enough square footage to support multiple interests take advantage of it! 

Many times I walk into spaces with Jon Taffer that have a great floor plan but no floor planning. Remember to make your space inviting and interesting by offering visual layers for the public.  If you have a space that lacks organization it is not inviting. It’s confusing. And chances are you will narrow your appeal to the few who beeline to the bar and will nurse a beer for 3 hours. 

On season 1 of Bar Rescue we came across many bars that mixed the message throughout their space.  Video games and pool tables were strewn about the bar creating pinch points in the flow of traffic and excessive noise where a quieter space would have been more expected.  Vantage points to televisions were divided by gamers and created the potential for conflict among customers. 

If you see the potential of your space to attract the single crowd, people on date nights, bachelor/bachelorette parties, after work social hours, etc. then you are steering toward success.  You do this by creating communities within your space.  Consolidate your games into one space.  Your competitive patrons will enjoy the excitement and your quieter patrons will enjoy the division.  Create intimate tables as well as community tables.  Offering options will remind your customers that you are thinking of their needs.

On Canyon Inn, in Yorba Linda, a built in stage took up too much real estate as an empty space before and after live entertainment.  Therefore, Jon Taffer asked me and my team to remove it.  We brought in a portable stage that could be broken down to make room for tables during the off hours, thus creating more opportunity at the bar for revenue. 

At Angels, again the built in dance floor dominated the bar and the games were scattered everywhere.  By condensing the games to one side, upgrading the bar face, service area and providing a lounge area we were able to offer multiple bar experiences to the customers.

Angels before the stage was removed and Racks after.

On Swanky Bubbles in Philadelphia the bar was split into two levels. The upper floor was used for private events and overflow.  Unfortunately, they did not have any space to dance so Taffer asked my team to provide a delineated dance floor and to update their seating and décor.  What we came up with was a great place to dance or hold a private party.  Downstairs we installed curtains between tables so parties could dictate their level of interaction with their neighbors.

Sheer's (Swanky Bubbles) new dance floor and sheer tables and curtains.

The most important part of creating communities in your bar or nightclub is to decide what communities you wish to support.  If your floor plan is small offer the best environment for your community.  If your floor plan is larger take advantage of your options and do a little homework.  Chances are you will reach new customers and increase your revenue with just a little rearranging.

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