When customers visit the on-trade they come seeking quality and consistency whether the bar is quiet or busy.
This presents a challenge for operators aiming to provide top quality service at all times – but it’s a challenge that can be met with the right preparation, according to Craig Turner, head bartender for training and events firm LA Group.
“The absolute most important thing to keep in mind when setting up any bar area is this: ‘mise en pace’,” said Turner.
A French phrase, mise en place means ‘putting in place’, a concept used in professional kitchens to refer to the organising of ingredients, but which Turner said applies “directly to that of a professional bar setup, with the cocktail and drinks list simply substituting that of a menu”.
Turner acknowledged that although back-bar setups are “truly unique” from venue to venue, some things are found in common across the trade.
“There are general rules which most experienced bar staff, owners and managers do tend to follow,” said Turner. “For example most bars, depending on size, will have at least two serving stations, two ice wells etc.
“If this is the case the back-bar should be symmetrically mirrored so both bartenders need only use their own side, thus avoiding crossing paths.
“Additionally spirits, liqueurs and wines are usually categorised by their type, style and often country of origin.
“Again, depending on stockholding and size of available space, cheaper spirits are usually not on display and can be found in the speed rail – this is your most requested drinks.”
When it comes to tailoring the back-bar to the individual venue, Turner suggested placing the most commonly used items “close to hand”.
“Speed and efficiency are key to a bar and bartender success,” he said.