“Where everybody knows your name”
I refer to my posts “THE PEOPLE YOU MEET AS A RESTAURATEUR” and “CLOSING TIME IN A BAR.”
There is a distinctive difference between restaurant and bar customers. The frequency, room, and desired service separates the two.
By the way, my bar was also classified as a lounge.
The Dining Room
We had our regulars in the restaurant, but those patrons were generally at lunchtime. There were many regulars since parking was abundant (I secured the adjacent parking lot in my lease); no one wants to seek out a parking space during the lunchtime constraints.
Evening service catered to less frequent visits as the type of service and atmosphere was conducive to upscale dining. The interaction with dining room customers was generally brief and just a “Are you enjoying your meal?”
I always wanted to have a bar to complement my restaurant. First, I thought it would be easy money, at least compared to the restaurant, but it was not necessarily so. I also knew that a bar’s atmosphere generally lent itself to more personal contact.
Nothing compares to bar regulars. Plus, bar patrons can come in for a quick drink, say hi, and be back in a few days. The bar had many regulars that came for lunch more so than for drinks. I admit that I never experienced any regulars that would match Norm from the sitcom “Cheers.”
It was cozy during the day and early evening. It would be louder into the night as the music set the tone. In addition, our clientele was, dare I say, sophisticated albeit still willing to have fun.
The stand-up area helped create a house-party atmosphere. Removing the tables from this area in the original blueprints was one of my best moves.
Also, replacing two tables with a wood-burning fireplace created an ambience beyond description. Some tables required movement though. These moves didn’t affect the legal capacity, although there were many nights when it was crowded beyond the limit. It did add to the up-tempo mood.
I really enjoyed the contrast between the dining room and bar as I was able to flex my food and drink muscles at the same time.