Displaying Liquor in Your Bar

How you display liquor has the ability to change your bar's aesthetic and should be something you put some thought into. It needs to be visually appealing, allow your customers to see what brands you have available, and give your bartender easy access to the liquor they need at any given moment.

You need to find a balance between functionality and design. There are typically two ways to tackle this issue: you can choose to use your display solely for the visual appeal (and keep the alcohol the bartender will be pouring in the under bar) or you can limit the visual appeal and concentrate more on functional display. There are pros and cons to each method.

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The Strictly Visual Liquor Display

You've probably heard the expression "top shelf" in reference to the most expensive brand a bar carries. This comes from the practice of literally exhibiting the high-end alcohol on the top shelf of the liquor display.

This technique is still quite common and can be very effective for bars that choose a strictly aesthetic approach to their liquor display. It can help up-sell your most expensive liquor since it is clearly on display for your customers. Many bars will install custom-built shelves, allowing for complete control over what they look like, and display empty liquor bottles.

If you choose this approach, make sure you have sufficient space in your underbar for a speed rail that can accommodate your entire liquor selection. It is also important to always have the liquors on display in stock; nothing annoys customers more than not being able to get what they ordered. If you consistently are out of the brands you have on display, you will lose customers.