What makes a Bar, a great Bar?
Drinks, music, design, atmosphere, company?
Everyone has a Bar that makes them feel comfortable and welcoming. A place that most people call it "My regular". A venue were you walk in and the Manager recognises you with a warm welcome, and the bartender probably remembers your favourite drink. Is a place that you constantly recommend to your friends. Your favourite Bar might not be an extremely fancy and overpriced place, but a little pub with great food and staff around your corner.
Nowadays we have plenty of options to choose from: Rooftops, Pubs, Cocktail Bars, Speakeasies, etc. So what make a Bar stand out from the rest? Is it the menu options? The design? The concept? The lightning and music? Overall atmosphere?
Having a great menu offer is key to have a successful revenue, but pricing the offer has to be done right, always according to the area and financial affordability of such. If prices are low, clients will suspect the quality will be poor. If prices are too high in a non-touristic area, people will expectations will be very high, and unless you are able to provide an outstanding service and overall experience, people won't be back.
The concept plays a good part when people have to chose a Bar. If you don't like live music venues, probably going to that Rock n' Roll Bar is not the most suitable idea. But if you like creative cocktails with good level music to have a chat with someone, then those kind of places will make go keep going back.
Bars with a design well though are great for first impressions, they make great instagram posts. But ultimately the offer, service and overall experience have to match that decor! It's pointless to have a nicely design Bar if the bartender can't make a classic cocktail, the service is slow and the bill is high.
I always found that lightning is one key element. The light has to be according to the time of the day. Dark venues with little windows don't really invite people to come in at midday. Too much light on a Saturday night feels like the Bar is about to call last orders for everyone to pay and go home, not very welcoming. The lightning should be constantly changing throughout the day, everyday.
The atmosphere is probably the most important of thing to consider. The Bar should be welcoming, clean, with good background music, and a friendly atmosphere for everyone to enjoy. No one likes a rude bartender, a lazy waiter or a not smiling receptionist. When going to a Bar is an experience after all and every small little detail counts.
Regular clients are great, but sometimes over a period of time they tend to be protective over "their" bar. About five years ago I used to work in a place that had so many regular clients, that they would be upset if too many "new" clients would come in. Those "new clients" would feel not welcomed, resulting in them not coming back. It was always a battle.
What makes a Bar a great Bar, is the people you go with and enjoy the moment with you. A good memory of a good night out with friends will always make you remember where it was, what did you drink and that song they played in the background. A great bar is made by friendly staff, a good menu offer, a clean and secure place where you can enjoy your drink without any concerns and maybe discover a cocktail you didn't know you like. Is a place we feel at home, without being at home.
If you like this story feel free to give a tip, if not is cool. Go and discover your favourite bar and tip the bartender instead!