Bar Styles and Designs

Read on for a detailed look into typical bar styles.

There are three main styles we base our designs from and from there, all the aspects of your dream bar can fall into place.  Traditional, the look you get when you think of an Old English pub, fancy, ornate and many levels that draw the eye. Modern/Contemporary, a sleek, straight lines bar you’d find in a modern club.  Transitional, the basis of a Traditional bar with a Modern spin to it, less mouldings for an easier integration of modern features. To compare all the aspects of each style equally, they will all be listed here and then touched on within each style.  Each of these bars have a sort of standard or regulated look to them, they are in no way, shape or form rules though.  The great thing about this area of cabinetry is that whatever you want, you can have.  The main aspects of a bar that help create an iconic style are: materials, mouldings, bar fronts, bar tops, doors, hardware, back units, canopies, miscellaneous.


Traditional:
Think of an Old English Pub, you think of curved mouldings, crown moulding everywhere and a lot of depth to the bar.  That is what we aim for when making a Traditional bar.  If you go through our Bar Designer, which I highly recommend, you will see the difference between our Traditional Bar Style and our Contemporary Style.

Material: The material most commonly used for a Traditional bar is oak.  It has more depth and accentuated grain than its counterpart, maple.  The grain is much more visible due to the colour variance as well as the texture you feel when running your hand along the wood, you can feel all of the grain.  The colour variance in the grain creates lines in the wood that add more depth and more lines for your eyes to follow giving the elaborate look.  That’s not to say maple isn’t used for traditional bars though, use the right stains for each wood and you can easily create a rich, extravagant look for your bar.

Mouldings: The more the better!  We use a curved moulding to bridge every depth change in the bar as well as most corners will have a decorative moulding to help increase the classical feel.  Large crown moulding can be used as well as fluting in key parts of the bar so every inch displays a different ornate feature.

Bar Fronts: Our Traditional bar fronts have more mouldings than our Contemporary and feature one more layer of wood, these additional lines don’t seem like much but when you have these two panels side by side, you will be able to notice the rich feel of the Traditional.

Bar Tops: A bar top with a wooden bar rail around the outer edge is the normal for this style.  The bar rail is a great place to rest your arms when sitting or standing at the bar.  To add the richness to this style, we can also add a large crown moulding to the underside of the bar rail which doubles the overall thickness of the bar top, adds a whole new dimension to the front of the bar and could be the bit needed to give the look you want.

Doors: Fully customizable and we mean it, we have many door styles to choose from and for this bar style, door profiles with curves are key.  Another option for your doors would include a raised panel door.  This is a solid wood middle panel instead of a veneer middle.  Feels more solid with an expensive quality feel to the door.

Hardware: When you think Traditional, you think older, to keep with that theme, Brass or Antique English hardware are usually the best route to go.  Antique English is similar to brass but has a oil rubbed finish that gives it a nice patina (decorative tarnishing).  Both finishes are also used on foot rail that is typical of Traditional bars.  The introduction of this colour gives another visual aspect for your eye to be drawn to.

Back Units: Another known feature of a Traditional style would be that everything is more out in the open, that means bottles are displayed and the best bottles featured.  This is done through our tiered and display shelves on a bars back unit, brightly lit and integrated into the rest of the bar.  The display shelves can be left open or be a glass door cabinet with glass shelves to allow the light to fully distribute throughout the cabinet.  These back units can also have either a wood back to match the cabinets, a mirrored back to create that next dimension or even a combination of both.

Canopy: Attached to the ceiling, this is essentially a wooden bulkhead that follows the path of the bar top complete with accent lighting and moulded panels.  Take it one step further again, and you can add stained glass into the canopy for a nice glow throughout the whole bar.  Canopies of this style are built to be more prominent and deeper to accompany the highly decorative bar below.  Canopies are extremely common with the Traditional bar style and through the accent lighting within can create the shadow lines necessary to add even more depth to the overall feel of the area.

Miscellaneous: Traditional is about going as big and elaborate as possible, the more wood, the better.  Wall panels and wood covered ceilings are common for the bare walls and ceiling within the bar area.  More extravagant bar stools, especially ones with a fabric seat can help transport you to that UK pub you’ve always dreamed of sitting at.

Transitional
Transitional is the great little spot between Traditional and Modern, the standards and normalcies for each of those styles are blurred here.  You have control whether you want a Traditional bar with a Modern spin, something more Modern but keeping those rich moulding profiles or finding a sweet spot right in between.

Material: The two main materials we use for bars are used equally for this style, oak and maple both bring a lot of positives to your bar and could be the main factor to the overall look of the area.  You can also get a bit outside the generic colours you’d think of on a Traditional.  Being in control of our own finishing gives and you the flexibility to find your ideal colour.

Moulding: The moulding used is the same as the Traditional, just less of it.  We use enough of it to create the classic bar feel but don’t go to the Traditional extent.  The crown moulding would typically be the same style as Traditional but wouldn’t use as much of the bigger crown.

Bar Fronts: The bar fronts are less elaborate that Traditional so you are left with a clean moulding look that is flatter and simpler.  The posts in between panels are smoother and less levels to it.

Bar Tops:  The bar tops can be anything you like! We offer multiple different styles, the first is the traditional looking bar rail with or without the large crown underneath.  The second style is our ‘Shaker’ style which is a wider top with waterfall edges, again cleaner, sharper and more modern.  To contrast that modern, we have an option that puts a moulding around the shaker bar top that breaks up the sharp look slightly.  Stone bar tops such as granite and quartz are big for the Transitional look, it puts a perfect touch of modern and difference to a Traditional look and can set your bar apart from anything else you’ve seen.  The colour in the stone can act as an accent colour to the rest of your décor scheme and set the mood for the whole area.

Doors: The doors are like most everything for this style, middle of the road. Not fully Traditional but not quite Modern either.  The same profiles of traditional are standard without the raised panel feature but Shaker doors are a common feature as well.  Shaker doors have a chamfer along the door edges and are clean lines throughout with a veneer panel in the middle.

Hardware: Hardware can be the Brass or Antique English discussed in Traditional but can also venture into the Brushed Nickel more commonly seen on newer bars.  There are multiple styles of every colour handle so find one that suits your bar the best!  Brushed nickel is also available for our LED Pot lights that we use for accenting and lighting the bar so everything is more uniform and tidy.

Back Units: Tiered shelves are popular with Transitional especially when the top half is housing a TV.  A TV in this location is a great use of the space and is in a perfect spot to be viewed from all angles.  Bottle displays and glassware shelves are a good use of the remaining spaces in your back unit.

Canopy: Canopies are less prominent here, shallower and more minimalistic, skipping the mouldings on the side of the canopy and having just a clean straight look.

Miscellaneous: Many modern appliances are used in this style giving an older looking bar the functionality of a new modern space.  Items like an ice maker and wine fridge are popular and caters to a wide array of drinks.  A spot for a blender or espresso maker wouldn’t be a bad idea either.  Chalkboards are getting popular not only in the Transitional but all styles, they give you the opportunity to write down your beer available, etc. or just a little artistic outlet spot.  We have also done a few di-electric mirrors which are mirrors that become transparent when the TV located behind the mirror is turned on, it’s a perfect way to hide the TV and keep your clean simple look you are aiming for.

Modern/Contemporary
Modern is a very blurry area since it is constantly changing.  We see many degrees of “Modern” bars, from coloured lights (known as RGB) with metal bar tops and accents to a simpler modern that uses minimal mouldings and darker colours.

Material: The most common wood for a modern bar is maple.  Its sleek, smooth and shows minimal grain compared to oak, especially when used with a dark, almost black stain.  The other popular material would be a wood grain laminate.  This is a textured panel meant to look like wood but giving a more modern appearance through colour and grain structure.

Moulding: Mouldings modern is very minimal, often going for a straight-lined crown moulding, and more squarish trims throughout.

Bar Fronts:  Bar Fronts generally have no mouldings to tie the panels together, instead just the use of the different panel depths is the best option for a sleek, new look. Straight lines everywhere on this style.

Bar Tops: Bar Tops avoid the use of a bar rail due to its curves and be more suited for a waterfall look ‘Shaker’ style.  Metal bar tops with a 2” thick look draw the eye and, paired with a black stained bar, give a flashy, professional appearance. Live edge slabs are also used frequently to throw a bit of rustic into a modern design to help break up a super modern style.  RGB is common for modern and gives that bar the coloured accent it needs.

Doors: Doors are flat recessed panels, simple lines and more straight edges.  Slab doors, (one flat panel with no decorative designs) will be used to minimize the amount of lines seen on the bar and are especially common when the bar is made from wood grain laminate.

Hardware: Brushed Nickel and Stainless Steel are the two biggest and best choices for a modern look.  It has a clean look that accents a black bar or any metal in the bar.  Brushed Nickel handles have a sleek profile and give that vibrant colour that makes a bar pop.

Back Units: Back units give you tons of freedom to help make your bar unique.  Floating shelves have become popular in replace of a standard back unit.  They give a minimalist look and give you the opportunity to put a flair on the wall around the bar to tie everything together.  These floating shelves can be all wood, they could have pot lights on the underside of them or even have the RGB Coloured lighting illuminating both the bottles on top and underneath to the bar below.  Add this with any RGB under the bar top and everything becomes connected.

Canopy: A thin, low profile canopy is the way to go for the sleek modern look.  Metal accenting, pot lights and RGB illuminating the canopy up to the ceiling add to the glow ambiance throughout the bar.  Having the coloured lighting on all aspects of the bar show uniformity and completes the look to a whole bar setting.

Miscellaneous: Since modern is constantly changing, the options onto a bar are constantly changing as well.  Most of options stated in the Transitional style can be used here.  We offer other options such as our infinity mirror, an RGB mirror light that gives the impression of looking down an endless tunnel or a multi-liquor dispenser that will automatically pour your perfect shot, every time.

Cheers,
Adam Gatto
Designer
The Bar Store Canada Inc.