Setting Up Your Service Well

Setting up a service bar can be one of the most frustrating and thankless jobs in any restaurant and bar. It's often overlooked until the equipment starts to arrive. Here are a few tips to get you thinking.

Keep under consideration the size of the well. Do you have 6 specialty cocktails or 40? Personal comment here, 40 is too many. 6-10 well executed craft cocktails are enough. Rant aside, A well organized well that includes the proper space to keep the proper amount of booze is crucial. A speed well that accommodates 20 bottles is a good start, but you may need an additional space that hold another 20-30.

Your support equipment. Don't forget all the other essentials. Fridges, shelves, back bar, hand washing sink, dump sink, glass rinser, taps and drains. A well designed area for all of this makes the bar run smoother. 

Make the service area big enough. The serving area is essential. Once you've set up your well you need the space to move these drinks out. Don't sell yourself short with not enough space for your servers to pick up their drink orders. Time and again bars put more in aesthetic than function and it inevitably bites them in the ass. Small, crowded pickup areas is always a disaster so steer clear of this popular design flaw. 

Have the proper tools ready to go. You'll need several sets of shaker tins. But that is just the start. Ice scoops, peelers, muddlers, mats, spoons and strainers are just the beginning. All are very important and a great well can't function without them. The pour spout may be the most important tool of all. They dispense all the good stuff. Make sure you use one that never leaks and won't rust.

Always consult a talented professional before you start designing, ordering equipment and building. A grizzled veteran of the bar is your best bet. They can tell you immediately what you'll need to set up a successful service well and how to lay it out.