Restaurant Development & Design

MAY-JUN 2017

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Comfortable all the way through dessert. The Kilo Collection from MTS is so cozy your patrons will never want to leave. 734-847-3875 mtsseating.com ©2017 MTS Seating | MTSM632 establishment in Chicago. He designed the bar with the idea of shaving seconds off each movement a bartender makes. "Those seconds add up over an evening and allow them to make more drinks per night — and guests are happier because drinks come out faster," he says. While technology behind the bar is a boon to productivity, designers tend to limit its visibility in the front of the house. "It's not shunning technology but rather making it less visible to the guest," says Brian Miller, design director for Street- sense Strategy + Design Collective. POS systems, for example, have gotten smaller and less obtrusive both behind the bar and at bussing and host stations. "I like to hide technology," echoes Dwight. "Keep the convenience for guests, but keep the tech end out of sight — for example, concealing cell phone chargers under the bar top." The designer has long been an advocate of removing big-screen TVs from bars and restaurants. "Five years ago, every bar we designed had to have TVs; owners demanded them. Finally, we have the traction to get rid of TVs because everybody has a TV in their hand — the cell phone." Bar of the Future Perhaps a glimpse of what bars will look like in the future can be seen in the pour-your-own beer establishments that are popping up around the country. Examples include the three-unit Barrel Republic in California and two-unit Frankie & Fanucci's Wood Oven Pizzeria in New York. Armed with RFID cards, guests can pour their own beer by the ounce or by the pint by interfacing with an iPad rather than a bartender. Trends in bars cycle through. Tiki bar concepts, for example, debuted in the 1940s and 1950s, enjoyed a revival in the 1990s and are now back again, as popular as ever. So-called retro bars, utilizing decor, memorabilia and drinks from the 1970s and 1980s, are in vogue. And the classic cocktail movement, of course, is a revival from pre-Prohibition times. Technology is likely to change the shape of service in the future,from ordering cocktails on your way to the bar to paying for another round from your phone. "I don't think we will ever get rid of the human bartender," says Beres, "but no doubt we will see more automation." He's looking forward to advances in refrigeration, draft systems and other back-of-the-bar equipment. He is also intrigued by the pos- sibilities of 3-D printers, though he adds, "Bars of the future will be much the same as they have been for the past 200 years: a place to forget about the world outside its doors — at least for a little while." + For more on bar design see rddmag.com/May2017.

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