Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bar Design

When you walk into a bar, you make up your mind pretty quickly as to whether it has the right atmosphere for you. It's a personal thing and bar design is a factor. You may be a traditionalist who likes an old fashioned wood bar with brass fittings and old paintings on the wall. The sort of place where everybody knows your name. You may prefer something more contemporary.
Some bars look futuristic, with lots of shiny chrome and brightly colored bottles sitting in little alcoves. This sort of bar design tends to come with very soft lighting and a very loud music soundtrack. Many young people use bars to meet up in, before going on to a club. Older people seek out somewhere to spend the whole evening and want a quieter place where they can hold a conversation. Different bars are apt to target different generations and the bar design will reflect that.
Some bars are there just for the drinking and others offer leisurely pursuits. Bar owners are always looking for moneymaking opportunities, such as pool tables, dartboards, pinball machines and quiz machines. Jukeboxes have thousands of tracks on them now.
In the UK, there are still bars in the countryside, although we would call them pubs, that have a bar design that hasn't altered in decades. They have etchings from the 18th century and lots of horseshoes and farming implements hanging on the wall. The urban pubs are mostly very modern. A lot of these have had tables taken out to give more room for drinkers to cram themselves in.
I like the café bars that you find in Europe. The bars in France, Spain and Italy are more family friendly and they have a nice atmosphere. You can get great food and no one hurries you. They are a welcome contrast to the bar design in the UK which just wants you to consume as much alcohol as possible. It's a different culture there, which puts the emphasis on conversation and the good things in life. You can sit outside and watch the world go by. As a woman, I would feel safe in going to one of these bars on my own. I would never enter a British pub on my own at any time of day.
The modern bars of today may be bright and shiny, but I prefer somewhere where I can talk to my friends. I don't want rustic horseshoes or a steel laboratory look either in the bar design. Something in between would be good.