I Don’t Think Bars in Restaurants Really Need to be that Tall

Published: Nov 03, 2017

Going out for a drink as a wheelchair user can get complicated sometimes, especially if the place you’re going to expects you to sit at the bar if you’re only going to be having drinks.

Obviously, the height of the bar is an issue and transferring from your chair into a barstool is a borderline olympic feat. So, your options are to sit at a table by yourself and drink or find a place with a different set up.

I don’t see any good reason for bars to be that tall to begin with other then “that’s how they’ve always been”.

But here’s the thing…

I’ve been to restaurants that have a section of the bar lowered for wheelchair users (a nice touch, but it feels kinda’ isolating) and I’ve been to places where the entire bar is at table height and the area where the bartender operates is actually a kind of “pit” that goes into the floor.

What I’m saying is that there are design approaches that make bars accessible to everyone. Hell, if the entire bar is at table height, there’s no need for special chairs that can only be used in one specific area of the restaurant.

To solve the issue of people needing to stand next to the bar and order a drink before heading back to their table, you can make a raised area of the bar specifically for that purpose. It would have the added advantage of giving the bartender a designated spot to look for new customers instead of having to judge if the person standing next to the bar is waiting for a drink or just being social with the people around them.

Now, I’m sure there are good reasons that a bar is set at the height it’s at. However, I’m also sure their are good solutions that allow for the bar to be lowered while still being useful, safe, and comfortable for both employees and patrons.