People go to bars for various reasons, but there’s usually one thing that keeps them coming back for more. Though you could easily say that it’s the drinks, once you’re fully sober again, you’d realize that it’s more than just that. The place itself is what’s drawing you in.
See, even with a seemingly perfect menu, a bar still wouldn’t reach its maximum financial potential unless the owner carefully considers its aesthetic elements. This isn’t just about superficiality, though. It’s more about the way it makes people feel about themselves.
Where Do People Love to Go?
Each city has its own charm, and this typically manifests through the businesses in the area. This is especially true for bars since many people love to have fun with a few rounds of drinks.
In order for a bar to make it to the list of “the best places to go to” when locals and tourists conduct a Google search, it needs to create a truly memorable experience for its customers. But what does it mean to be memorable beyond the night’s drunken happiness? What can make a bar “the bar” friends affectionately refer to when they’re feeling nostalgic for another night out?
Because every customer’s needs and preferences are different, they would all have different meanings of what had been great and memorable for them. Some will repeatedly choose a place because of the drink selections, while others highly appreciate the place’s vibe.
In any case, all successful bars have made their mark because they got their interiors right. The food and drinks business can be a tough industry to survive in, so owners definitely need to step up their game to ensure that they’ll stay relevant to their target market.
For example, the best bars in Minneapolis certainly don’t look anything alike, yet alcohol isn’t their only common denominator. All of them know their audience well enough to create a place that would visually appeal to them.
Bar Interiors: What Do the Best Bars Have in Common?
Bars may be marketing themselves well through their signature drinks, but that’s not the only thing that’s helping them keep their customers.
Since you’re using all of your five senses to engage with the bar that you’re in, you can say that being in bars is a full-body experience. The sense of sight will always be the first one that’s stimulated, though. Owners need to ensure that their design is apt for their customer base.
Otherwise, they risk turning away potential customers until they create a better-looking place.
Property developers like Bigos Management would agree that the best bars around town have earned their reputation because of what they offer looks-wise. Besides, for any business, it’s nearly impossible to keep loyal customers if your place doesn’t look inviting—unless what you’re selling is an extremely niche product with no existing competitors.
As for bars, there’s simply a lot of places to choose from to have a good time, but only a few can consistently stand out. Alcohol is no longer the rare commodity that it was in the past, so drinks aren’t the only means of getting ahead of the rest.
Owners literally need to make their customers feel comfortable and safe if they want them to stay and spend more money on their bar. The best way to do that is to appeal to their eyes, and the rest of the experience will follow effortlessly—as long as it’s done right.
So, what makes people come back to certain places and never again in others? Listed below are common interior design factors that can convince customers that the bar they’re in is certainly one of the best:
- Impressionable Entrance
Entrances may not exactly be an interior aspect, but it definitely affects how people decide whether they’ll go inside a bar or not.
First impressions don’t only apply to people, they also apply to bars. The decision-making process is happening on a subconscious level. Customers can almost instantly tell if they’re taking a chance on a bar just by looking at it from across the street.
If a bar has a presentable and welcoming entrance, half the battle has already been won. The bar has already done the bare minimum to get people to come in. On the other hand, if an entrance looks sloppy or intimidating, people will most likely walk away and turn to competitors instead.
- Appropriate Ambience
This all depends on the bar’s location and target market. For instance, if the bar is located in the upscale part of town, its interiors must appeal to the people who’ll actually consider to hang out there. Thus, it makes sense if its colors are on the dark and neutral shades to keep a clean, high-end, and sophisticated look.
The ambiance would also vary depending on the owner’s intended purpose. For instance, did they want their bar to be known as a great place for date nights, or would they rather be the go-to hangout for those who love to gather with their friends?
Although a bar can certainly be both, it still helps to identify which bars serve particular purposes best. This generally helps owners create an overall ambiance that looks and feels appealing to the right audience.
- Adequate Spaces
The smart use of spaces is what helps any place seem more spacious than it really is. This is especially helpful if the bar literally doesn’t have a lot of space to work with.
People don’t want to stay in constricted places where they’ll only feel suffocated. The more comfortable they can feel about the space around them, the fewer inhibitions they’re going to have. By having ample space to move around, people will never feel that owners are just maximizing their space for added profit.
- Gender-Neutral Designs
Some bars that are not exactly exclusive for male customers may be turning off female customers because their design comes off as being “too male” for the ladies. As a result, they may be missing out on many potential customers because women don’t feel welcome there.
Designs that are considered too masculine include:
- Excessive sports photos
- Unwelcoming and badly lit entrance
- Dirty-looking bathrooms
- Pool tables
Sports photos and pool tables are inevitable if it’s really a sports bar. Otherwise, if it isn’t supposed to be as such, it’s usually a turn off for women.
The better bars tend to have gender-neutral interiors that appeal to both men and women. This includes having a welcoming façade, lighting that is neither too dark nor too bright, and a good choice of tables and seats.
- Interesting Themes
Themes are usually dictated by the bar’s target market. For instance, if you want to attract people who are into arcade games, an arcade bar with neon lights will help convince people that a bar is a fun place to be in.
Meanwhile, a bar that has an old-world or country-style theme would benefit from using more traditional elements in their design, such as having wooden furniture. In any case, a themed bar should have a consistent look across the board, and no element would be out of place—not even the choice of glassware for the drinks.
- Good Seats and Decorations
Food and drinks may be the real highlight of your favorite bar, but it can’t be denied that appealing interiors and comfortable furniture play a huge role in its success.
One of the main reasons why people are encouraged to stay a long time—and consequently, buy more drinks—is because they feel comfortable enough to stay where they are. It also helps that their surroundings are filled with artwork and accessories that are nice to look at.
Comfortable seats can be anything from low, well-cushioned sofas, nicely upholstered loveseats, or ergonomic bar stools. While it’s necessary for these seats to stay on theme, they must also help people feel relaxed and drive their attention towards having a great time.
- Great Lighting in All the Right Areas
What constitutes “great lighting” can be subjective. However, in the context of bars, customers will agree that it must be a good mix of bright and dim—something that can help you unwind while still allowing you to see your food, drinks, and the person you’re with—if there’s any.
To ensure safety and enjoyment, areas that should be adequately lit at the bar’s entrance, the drinking area, the path to the bathroom, and the bathroom. The key is to help customers properly see where they’re going even when they’ve gone drunk.
Additionally, it also makes customers feel a bit safer. When a place is dark, some people may have feelings of unrest because you just never know what others might be up to. They could be doing all sorts of illegal stuff and no one would realize immediately because the lighting is making it impossible to confirm.
To prevent people from pursuing illegal activities in a bar, good lighting can be a good deterrent. It also helps convince customers that it’s a relatively safe space.
- Instagram-Worthy Spots
These days, a lot of places get known because people take photos next to a unique element of the place. These spots are usually where customers take their selfies so they can post them on their social media accounts.
Then, naturally, this person’s friends may build interest in the place as well because it had produced an Instagram-worthy shot.
Many people now like to take pictures because smartphones have made it a lot easier to do so. Thus, if a bar wishes to become more popular among its target audience, it’s important that picturesque spots are integrated into the interior design plans. Surely, those spots are enough to garner the attention that a place truly deserves.
- Adaptable Details
This particular factor works well for bars that also double as something else in the morning. This is referred to as the chameleon effect, which can be done by:
- Installing adaptable lighting that can appropriately change the ambiance depending on the purpose (e.g. coffee shop vs. bar)
- Hiding TVs in plain sight during the daytime
- Using stage areas as seating during the daytime
- Putting space dividers like sliding doors, curtains, or moving walls
Although not all bars need these, the multi-purpose establishments have definitely attracted their customers by perfecting the chameleon effect.
Designers really put adequate thought into ensuring that the bar’s interiors work for both purposes.
- Natural Details
Having plants or trees in the area typically makes a place look livelier and more inviting. Plants and flowers by the entrance can be similar to the effect of good music—it can make a bar seem happier to be in.
For this to be effective, however, the plants must complement the bar’s theme and colors. Although natural elements may not seem so applicable to some themes, designers can definitely find a workaround to fit them in.
- Nice Bathrooms!
Customers want to feel comfortable when they go to the bathroom, so it definitely helps to have a clean design that is literally kept neat at all times.
There are instances when people are immediately turned off by a place just because it has dirty bathrooms. It doesn’t matter if the rest of the place’s interiors seem fine.
Since people will be constantly eating and drinking, bars should expect a lot of people to go to the bathroom every now and then. Tidy stalls ensure that customers will have a great overall experience of the place.
Conclusion: The Walls May Have More Power Than the Drinks
The best bars that you’ll ever come across may not necessarily have your favorite drink on their menu, but they certainly feel welcoming in a specific way. Something about the place just makes you enjoy yourself and other people’s company more than usual.
That’s because a lot of thought has been put into the place’s overall layout and design. It’s no longer surprising to know that these businesses are creating a bigger buzz for themselves—not just for the local residents but also for the tourists. After all, every detail in their bar is designed to encourage customers to drink more.