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Everything you need to know about bar tables

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The British have been drinking in pubs and bars for around 2,000 years, ever since the Romans introduced the taberna, or tavern, to these shores. It’s also from the Romans that we get the word “table”, or “tabula” in Latin, which means, among other things, “plank”. 

And that’s exactly what a table would have been in the earliest pubs and inns: a simple wooden plank or board, supported by trestles or perhaps blocks of stone, and later barrels, on which food and drink would be placed. Over the centuries, the bar or pub table has evolved into a multifaceted creature: it has grown legs, it now comes in various heights and materials, and is highly mobile.

bar table with spirits and glasses

So, if you run a bar or a pub and are thinking about tables, this last point is perhaps the first thing you should bear in mind: how flexible do you want your layout to be? On the one hand, customers are generally resistant to change; they might have a favourite seat or corner in your bar, so if they arrive one day to find that it’s been moved, they will not be happy. On the other hand, you might want to change your furniture layout to cater for different events or even for different times of day (lunchtime and evening, for instance). The answer might be to have a kind of “skeleton” layout of seats and tables in settled positions, with the rest of the space given over to more flexible furniture. 

Styles and finishes of bar tables

Which brings us to the question of styles. If yours is a contemporary-looking bar, then it would be best to continue this theme with your tables and chairs, using the bright, clean-looking chrome and metal finishes and laminates now widely available. But often it’s better to mix things up, with perhaps a more traditional-looking sofa and a low table in the corner or against the wall where drinkers can sit and linger; regular-height tables and chairs in another part of the space; and the rest of the room given over to high “poseur” tables and high stools. These higher tables are ideal for small groups who might just be popping in for a quick drink. Another factor to bear in mind is that if space is limited, tables with rounded rather than square edges make it easier for customers to move around without banging their legs or catching their clothes or bag straps on table corners.

bar table with half empty beers

Once you’ve thought about the big picture, it’s time to get down to specifics. It’s best to go through the different types of table in order of height, beginning with the lowest. Prices for these tables from Trent Furniture range from around £50 for a small coffee table (excluding VAT) to around £96 (exc. VAT) for an Art Deco poseur table in silver finish.

Starting low - bar table height guide

Low tables are generally referred to as “coffee tables”, although they are of course fully capable of supporting all kinds of drinks. Although their use in bars is not widespread, they are sometimes used along with a sofa or chairs in a corner or against a wall; if seating is low, then a table will clearly need to be low, too. Coffee tables are more often made or finished in wood, such as Trent Furniture’s Shaker coffee table (in various finishes) or Farmhouse square coffee table (in dark oak or light oak finishes). These will generally measure around 45-48cm in height.

A more contemporary look comes with the Pyramid coffee table, so called because it has a pyramid-shaped base (which is wide, to ensure stability). These are almost always contemporary in design, materials and finish: chrome, powder-coated metal, laminates, light wood veneers. Trent Furniture’s Pyramid coffee tables are square or rectangular, with the base made from steel and the tops in either wood veneer or laminate. 

The next stage of bar tables

It’s likely, though, that your bar will mostly use tables of a regular “dining” height of around 68-70cm. Trent Furniture’s Art Deco pedestal table will accommodate a small group of customers. It weighs around 20kg, making it extremely sturdy and stable, but not so heavy that it can’t be moved around as required. 

bar table with drinks on in an outdoor setting

The difference between a bar and a pub is not clear-cut, and therefore it’s not easy to say what constitutes “bar furniture” as opposed to “pub furniture”. Often they will cross over. But it’s true that bars tend to be furnished and decorated in a somewhat less traditional style than pubs. So tables such as Trent Furniture’s Pyramid tables or Pedestal Tables would be a good choice for a bar, rather than the more traditional-looking ornate cast-iron tables and seating.

Pyramid tables would work well alongside Trent Furniture’s Small Dakota bar stool, or one of its simple wooden stools with either wooden tops or button (ie, cushioned) tops. Alternatively, simple designs such as the Bistro Table or the Frame Table offer an unobtrusively stylish option. A clever way of using wall space is to put a banquette or bench seat up against the wall, with chairs facing it, and tables in between. 

High society bar tables

Then we come to the high furniture. This is the kind of furniture that’s found almost exclusively in bars. If your bar has a counter where people sit, then high bar stools are essential. There’s something very American about sitting on a high stool at the bar, catching the bartender’s eye when your drink needs refreshing, and perhaps catching the eye of a fellow drinker. For a stylish, contemporary look, Trent Furniture’s Tall Zeta chrome bar stool (seat height 80cm), with its elegant curves, or the Monza bar stool (seat height 75cm) with metal frame and pressed plywood seat, are ideal. 

Groups of customers may want to cluster around a high “poseur” table, and there are numerous stools that would fit this set-up. The Tall Dakota bar stool (from £38.90) is solid and unobtrusively stylish, with a chunky design and a cushioned leather top. This would look good with one of Trent’s Pyramid poseur tables, either in black or chrome. A more decorative, but still modern design the Shaker poseur table, which comes in the same range of wood finishes.

People come to bars for different reasons: sometimes for a quick drink and a chat before moving on, sometimes for a date, sometimes to meet up with a group of friends for the whole evening. If space is sufficient, a well-furnished bar will be able to cater for all these needs: poseur chairs and tables for the first, smaller tables with more comfortable chairs for the second, larger tables with comfortable chairs or perhaps even sofas and low coffee tables for the third. Trent Furniture has many more options than the ones listed here. But the key to furnishing a bar is that it’s more than a question of simply going out and buying a job-lot of functional chairs and tables. By putting thought and care into it, you’ll end up with a proper bar – and customers who keep returning

A Short Guide to Choosing Bar Tables

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bar chairs and table

The British have been drinking in pubs and bars for around 2,000 years, ever since the Romans introduced the taberna, or tavern, to these shores. It’s also from the Romans that we get the word “table”, or “tabula” in Latin, which means, among other things, “plank”.

And that’s exactly what a table would have been in the earliest pubs and inns: a simple wooden plank or board, supported by trestles or perhaps blocks of stone, and later barrels, on which food and drink would be placed. Over the centuries, the bar or pub table has evolved into a multifaceted creature: it has grown legs, it now comes in various heights and materials, and is highly mobile.

So, if you run a bar or a pub and are thinking about tables, this last point is perhaps the first thing you should bear in mind: how flexible do you want your layout to be? On the one hand, customers are generally resistant to change; they might have a favourite seat or corner in your bar, so if they arrive one day to find that it’s been moved, they will not be happy. On the other hand, you might want to change your furniture layout to cater for different events or even for different times of day (lunchtime and evening, for instance). The answer might be to have a kind of “skeleton” layout of seats and tables in settled positions, with the rest of the space given over to more flexible furniture.

Styles and finishes

Which brings us to the question of styles. If yours is a contemporary-looking bar, then it would be best to continue this theme with your tables and chairs, using the bright, clean-looking chrome and metal finishes and laminates now widely available. But often it’s better to mix things up, with perhaps a more traditional-looking sofa and a low table in the corner or against the wall where drinkers can sit and linger; regular-height tables and chairs in another part of the space; and the rest of the room given over to high “poseur” tables and high stools. These higher tables are ideal for small groups who might just be popping in for a quick drink. Another factor to bear in mind is that if space is limited, tables with rounded rather than square edges make it easier for customers to move around without banging their legs or catching their clothes or bag straps on table corners.

Once you’ve thought about the big picture, it’s time to get down to specifics. It’s best to go through the different types of table in order of height, beginning with the lowest. Prices for these tables from Trent Furniture range from around £50 for a small coffee table (excluding VAT) to around £96 (exc. VAT) for an Art Deco poseur table in silver finish.

Starting low

Low tables are generally referred to as “coffee tables”, although they are of course fully capable of supporting all kinds of drinks. Although their use in bars is not widespread, they are sometimes used along with a sofa or chairs in a corner or against a wall; if seating is low, then a table will clearly need to be low, too. Coffee tables are more often made or finished in wood, such as Trent Furniture’s Shaker coffee table (in various finishes) or Farmhouse square coffee table (in dark oak or light oak finishes). These will generally measure around 45-48cm in height.

 

Shaker Coffee Table

A more contemporary look comes with the Pyramid coffee table, so called because it has a pyramid-shaped base (which is wide, to ensure stability). These are almost always contemporary in design, materials and finish: chrome, powder-coated metal, laminates, light wood veneers. Trent Furniture’s Pyramid coffee tables are square or rectangular, with the base made from steel and the tops in either wood veneer or laminate.

Trent Furniture’s Pyramid coffee tables

The next stage

It’s likely, though, that your bar will mostly use tables of a regular “dining” height of around 68-70cm. Trent Furniture’s Art Deco pedestal table will accommodate a small group of customers. It weighs around 20kg, making it extremely sturdy and stable, but not so heavy that it can’t be moved around as required.

The difference between a bar and a pub is not clear-cut, and therefore it’s not easy to say what constitutes “bar furniture” as opposed to “pub furniture”. Often they will cross over. But it’s true that bars tend to be furnished and decorated in a somewhat less traditional style than pubs. So tables such as Trent Furniture’s Pyramid tables or Pedestal Tables would be a good choice for a bar, rather than the more traditional-looking ornate cast-iron tables and seating. Pyramid tables would work well alongside Trent Furniture’s Small Dakota bar stool, or one of its simple wooden stools with either wooden tops or button (ie, cushioned) tops. Alternatively, simple designs such as the Bistro Table or the Frame Table offer an unobtrusively stylish option. A clever way of using wall space is to put a banquette or bench seat up against the wall, with chairs facing it, and tables in between.

High society

Then we come to the high furniture. This is the kind of furniture that’s found almost exclusively in bars. If your bar has a counter where people sit, then high bar stools are essential. There’s something very American about sitting on a high stool at the bar, catching the bartender’s eye when your drink needs refreshing, and perhaps catching the eye of a fellow drinker. For a stylish, contemporary look, Trent Furniture’s Tall Zeta chrome bar stool (seat height 80cm), with its elegant curves, or the Monza bar stool (seat height 75cm) with metal frame and pressed plywood seat, are ideal.

Groups of customers may want to cluster around a high “poseur” table, and there are numerous stools that would fit this set-up. The Tall Dakota bar stool (from £38.90) is solid and unobtrusively stylish, with a chunky design and a cushioned leather top. This would look good with one of Trent’s Pyramid poseur tables, either in black or chrome. A more decorative, but still modern design the Shaker poseur table, which comes in the same range of wood finishes.

chrome Pyramid poseur table

People come to bars for different reasons: sometimes for a quick drink and a chat before moving on, sometimes for a date, sometimes to meet up with a group of friends for the whole evening. If space is sufficient, a well-furnished bar will be able to cater for all these needs: poseur chairs and tables for the first, smaller tables with more comfortable chairs for the second, larger tables with comfortable chairs or perhaps even sofas and low coffee tables for the third. Trent Furniture has many more options than the ones listed here. But the key to furnishing a bar is that it’s more than a question of simply going out and buying a job-lot of functional chairs and tables. By putting thought and care into it, you’ll end up with a proper bar – and customers who keep returning.

 

Customers are cashing out

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Is cash a dying commodity? If you look in your wallet, how much cash do you actually now carry around on your person? Contactless card payments and payments through our mobile phones are slowly, but surely, seeing the decline of physical cash and it’s important for businesses to not be stuck in the past.

Alternative payment options for business

New research shows just how important it is for pubs, bars, restaurants and any hospitality business to have alternative payment options to cash. It can be tempting for business owners to avoid changing something that has served its purpose for so long but those who fail to run with the times are in danger of losing custom.

Customer payment expectations for pubs, bars and more

The public now expects everywhere to the small off-license on the street corner to have the latest payment technologies. Even if you are a quaint village pub, can you really afford for customers to not be able to come in because you are cash only? Or have a high minimum card payment charge?

It’s unlikely that a potential customer is going to go find a cash point only to return to your establishment. They will simply take their business elsewhere. Fewer people are carrying physical money around, so don’t miss out on their custom.

Research by Ubamarket shows that so many as 20 per cent of the public will consciously avoid venues that only accept cash – a large figure to turn your back on.

What’s the most frequent payment of choice for customers?

The research also found that one in five adults prefer to buy in-app, with this figure rising to 34 per cent for 18-34 year olds.

For SMEs that have all possible payment methods in place, cash no longer features as a percentage of total sales according to research by YouGov. And 17 per cent of those surveyed predict that cash will represent less than ten per cent of their sales in the next six months.

Buy business furniture online

It’s not just the payment that will put people off coming to your establishment. The décor is just as important. To give your pub, bar or restaurant the revamp that it deserves, browse our tables and seating

How to throw a spooky Halloween event at your bar

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This year, Halloween falls on a Tuesday. With fewer likely to venture out midweek, the majority of bars and pubs will make the most of the celebration on the Friday and Saturday before (27th and 28th October).

Surprisingly, many bars do little for Halloween but it is an opportunity to take advantage of the waves of people that go out dressed up for Halloween weekend. 

Whenever it is that your bar or pub chooses to throw a spooky Halloween themed evening, there are plenty of the tips to follow to make sure that it is frighteningly good!

Halloween decorations for pubs and bars

Decorations are everything at Halloween. It’d be hard to host a good Halloween night without having a spooky, eerie interior and perhaps an apple bobbing station in the corner! Don’t forget to decorate your drinks and glasses, too. Pre-prepare all of the garnishes and props for the drinks to avoid spending time doing it during service.

Make sure you decorate your exterior with cobwebs, ghosts and pumpkins as well so that passers-by know that you’re embracing the occasion. 

Themed drink deals for Halloween parties

To get people in your bar instead of all the others nearby, you want to promote all of the happenings and drink/food deals you’ll have. If you’ve got the deals and the activities be sure to shout about it on social media, your website and on flyers/posters.

For the night, you could have some special novelty drinks such as themed cocktails, punches and perhaps some slime shooters. Check out the recipes for some Halloween cocktails that you could provide in your bar for the night. 

Games and competitions for Halloween

To make sure the punters stay around, you need to have some sort of entertainment to keep them engaged. You can promote interaction between all of your guests by organising some competitions. So possible ideas could be:

• Best fancy dress (let them know in advance!)
• Apple bopping 
• Murder mystery
• Scary photo booth with props

Halloween pub and bar furniture

Whilst it may fit with the scary theme, none of your customers will want to sit on dirty old furniture. If your bar is in need of a refurnishing or you will need some extra chairs or bar stools to help with the demand on the night, browse our selection of bar furniture here. You’ll find plenty of options at scarily good prices. You can speak to our advisors on 0116 2982 838. 
 

Step aside hygge, 2017 is all about lagom décor

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You all heard of hygge, right? 2016 was overrun with homes, cafes and bars alike trying to create their own version of the Danish concept and make spaces as cosy as possible.

Well, 2017 has brought with it a new a new Scandinavian craze, lagom. The Swedish word lagom means just the right amount; not too much, not too little. The lagom lifestyle is all about changing habits so that you live a balanced, sustainable and equally enjoyable life. This trend has also been transferred into décor and furniture choices. 

What is Lagom décor?

Like we said before, lagom is about simplifying things down to only what’s needed. There’s no need to overcomplicate things in life and the same can be said for residential and commercial décor. Translating lagom into décor is all about using few key colours, minimising accessories and using neutral tones. 

By using natural and airy tones such as whites, beige, light woods, blues and greys, a space can be made to feel spacious and simplistic. These tones help to bring in space and light. Your interior can then be added to with functional items that help to create a cosy, relaxed interior such as candles, pillows and blankets. 

Tips for buying Lagom furniture

Minimalism is the key, but at the same time try to not to be overtly minimal. You don’t want customers to walk by thinking that you’re not open or not sure where they can sit. Only add things to your space that have a function and will be used. Tables and chairs are, of course, very necessary in a café, bar or restaurant. 

As one of lagom’s concepts is sustainability, shabby chic, upcycled furniture should be a feature in your space. This could be achieved with shabby chic furniture or by using your creative side to bring to life old accessories. 

Other than these necessities, you should have a focal piece; this could be a piece of furniture or artwork. Rather than having several key elements, one focal point is enough. An eye-catching piece of wall art or a statement sofa could both work in different spaces. 

If you want to create a lagom décor in your café, bar or restaurant, follow some of the tips mentioned above and browse our furniture offerings.

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