What Is A Bar Top Counter Hatch And Is It Worth Fitting One To A Home Bar

The main part of a home bar is the actual bar itself. This where all the action happens, where we mix and serve the drinks to our guests. We all design and make the bar to our own needs, but what is a bar top counter hatch? And is it worth fitting one to my home bar?

A simple basic built bar will probably not even thing about adding one. However a more complex design with a bigger bar might want to consider adding a counter hatch.

What Is A Bar Top Counter Hatch?

You will see many pubs and bars with a bar top counter hatch. It is a small section of the bar that lifts up on a hinge. This allows access for bar staff to gain entry behind the bar, or leave the bar to collect empty glasses. They are also known as a bar flap, flip up bar counter, service flap, counter pass through or trap door. They serve a real purpose for access to and from the bartenders serving area.

A counter hatch or bar flap is not the only thing to consider when designing a home bar.

Designing The Best Home Bar

What Is A Bar Top Counter Hatch

To get the best home bar is to design it the way we want it. A bar that best suits our own needs. The main feature of a home bar is the actual bar itself.

There are several aspects of a bar to consider before we get down to the actual building of it. Things to decide upon before the build.

Back Bar

Before we construct the actual bar it is a good idea to consider the back bar. This is the area along the back wall of the bar itself.

This area can have a counter top to mix drinks. An array of shelves to store bottles and glasses. As well as housing fridges, ice machine or even a glass washer.

The back bar needs to be considered before the actual bar construction. This way we will leave the appropriate amount of working space between it and the bar.

If the back bar is an after thought, there may not be enough room to fit one if the bar is built first.

The Bar

It is time to build the bar, and this can be done in many ways. The easiest method is to build the bar from a simple wooden frame.

How complex the design of the bar is will determine how complex the frame or body of the bar will be. It is a good idea to work from a plan, whether your own or done for you.

The main thing the body of the bar has to be is strong and sturdy. Keep in mind the under bar when constructing the frame.

Under Bar

The under bar is exactly what is says, the underside of the bar. This is the part only you see from behind the bar.

It is a handy area that can house shelving for storage of glasses, bottles or other barware. Or it can house a fridge, beer lines and flash coolers, or the plumbing for a sink.

It is best to know what you will house under the bar so you can construct the frame accordingly.

Bar Wall

The bar wall is the front of the bar, the wall that the bar top sits one. While the body of the bar may be constructed of a timber frame. The bar wall maybe another type of material like laminate, wooden panels, stone or plastic.

It will fix to the body of the bar and it is best to fit this before the bar top goes on.

Bar Top

What Is A Bar Top Counter Hatch

Once the bar frame and bar wall are constructed, it is time to fit the bar top. This can be made from a variety of materials.

A simple wooden bar top is pretty easy to achieve, but for the more adventurous it might be granite, metal, polished concrete or a resin top with beer bottle caps set into it.

It is a personal choice, but some materials can be very expensive, so budget might determine the type of bar top we use.

Bar Top Rail

A bar top rail is a rail that runs the length of the bar top. They can be wooden with different shaped profiles. Or a brass or metal tube fixed to the front edge of the bar top.

Some pubs have them and some don’t, they can be used to rest our arms on or hold onto while sitting or standing at the bar.

Again this is a personal choice whether to add a bar top rail.

Foot Rail

A similar thing to the bar top rail, but instead running along the bottom length of the bar front. They are normally made from metal or polished brass and can be square profile or round profile.

I would say they are more useful than a bar top rail as we can rest our foot or feet on them when standing or sitting at the bar.

Speed Rail

A speed rail or speed rack as it is also known is a unit that fits to the underside of the bar. Bottles of liquor, mixers and syrup can be stored in them.

Their purpose is to speed things up when mixing drinks and cocktails as you have the drinks at hand ready to go.

If you decide to fit a speed rail, then think about this before constructing the body of the bar. As you will need to make sure there is room for a speed rail.

Service Bar Rail

A service bar rail is a rail that separates the service area of a bar from the customers, or is supposed to. Many customers will not know what they are or just ignore them anyway.

It is a simple bar that fits to the bar so staff can place orders and collect those orders to serve to customers. They are normally only seen in really busy bars where staff are constantly back and forwards from the bar.

There location is often right next to the bar top counter hatch. However they are not needed for a home bar, but that shouldn’t top you fitting one if you want to.

Is It Worth Fitting A Bar Top Counter Hatch?

In most cases it is probably not worth fitting a bar top counter hatch. However it does depend on the design of the home bar.

If the bar spans the whole width or length of a wall, then you may need one to gain access to behind the bar. Alternatively you can just leave an opening at one end instead.

A full bar hatch will have the swing up section of the bar as well as a swing open door on the front bar wall. The part of the bar that swings up will have a catch to keep it in the upright position.

They are needed in many pubs and bars, however do we need one for our home bar. Like I mentioned it depends on the type of bar as well as personal choice.

In my opinion I wouldn’t fit a bar hatch, mainly because it will end up left in the up position. Lifting the hatch every time I go to and from behind the bar will get a little wearing. Hence the bar hatch will stay in the upright position.

Final Thoughts

While a bar top counter hatch may be an essential part of a busy pub or bar, there is no real need to fit one to a home bar.

Having said that, it is down to personal choice, and if you want one, then go ahead a fit one. They also look pretty good and are authentic to the look of a bar.

Apart from a bar top counter hatch, there are still plenty of other things to consider when building a bar for the home. I hope the other things I have mentioned have been of help to you.

Do share your thoughts on the things you have included in your bar construction. As well as any other ideas you might have too, but most of all enjoy your bar.

Leave a Comment