Wanderlusting: How to build a perfect rooftop bar

Published: August 05, 2019

Rooftop bars are a favorite amongst the younger generation. These bars are the perfect mix of a lounge and outdoor restaurant dining that so many already love. Wherever in the world one may be, these rooftop bars set the scene for an exciting or romantic outing. The following strategies are must-know tips for any entrepreneur interested in building a rooftop bar:

1. Maximize the View

Rooftop bars are all about the view. When planning to build this rooftop bar, business owners have to focus on the most winning asset of the bar: the view. Whether it’s overlooking a body of water or giving guests a unique look into the sprawling cityscape, rooftop bars are beloved for the scenery. For this reason, owners must take into consideration how to make the most of any view. This can take on the form of purchasing “view easement” or “air rights” which will help to preserve and protect the views from the rooftop bar.

2. Meet All Requirements

As is the case with any other business, bar owners must research and work to meet the various code requirements. One of the first requirements to research is whether or not a rooftop bar is allowed in the area. Similarly, the city may have restrictions on how many people are allowed into the bar, as well as what specific materials and equipment should be considered when constructing the bar.

3. Build with the Weather in Mind

The most beautiful thing about a rooftop bar can also be its biggest issue. With the bar so open to the elements, bar owners must build with the weather in mind. While all bar owners likely wish for sunshine-filled days and clear and cool nights, this isn’t always the case. Thankfully, with the right construction materials, bar owners can plan for every season.

While the weather outside will always be up to fate, bar owners can install fiberglass insulation in and around the rooftop bar. This construction material will make the bar feel cooler in the hotter months and warmer in the colder months as this material is a poor conductor of heat. Likewise, installing other waterproof materials around the bear will help to keep customers comfortable in the event of precipitation or similar weather.

4. Review Costs and Budget

When making plans to build a rooftop bar, entrepreneurs need to carefully compile all costs and create a working budget. While it can be particularly costly to construct a rooftop bar, with a detailed list of expenses and a careful budget, bar owners can make every penny count. The most costly expenses to consider when building these rooftop bars are the standard costs of equipment and regular bar furniture with the addition of extra add-ons as the bar is exposed to the elements.

Certain health departments may have specific requirements when it comes to rooftop bars, which will undoubtedly affect an owner’s budget. Be sure to consider all costs related to protecting guests and employees, as well as expense to cover any upgrades like structural reinforcements.

5. Plan for Storage Needs

In order for rooftop bars to provide guests with the outdoor experience they crave, these bars need to maximize their open area layout by finding ways to make space for storage. Primarily, bar owners need to plan for their remote kitchen design that will allow them to meet health department requirements without compromising the design and available space in the bar itself. Other issues to consider are places to put the trash as well as storage for backup food, liquor, and beer.

The best rooftop bar storage solutions take the overall aesthetic into consideration while keeping the layout as open as possible. Having built-in storage hidden away in the structure of the barring will make it easy for guests to feel comfortable while bar operations run efficiently.

6. Weatherproof the Bar

Weatherproofing a rooftop bar goes beyond installing an awning or umbrellas above the tables. Rooftop bars are always exposed to the elements at some level, so weatherproofing is a must. While effective weatherproofing can take on several different forms, the main goal is to protect the bar and maintain its integrity regardless of the type of weather outside. Whether bar owners nail furniture down to protect against high-speed winds or seal the furniture to guarantee all seating is waterproof, taking measures to protect all bar equipment and furniture from the weather will help keep the bar running.

7. Consider the Aesthetics

Bar owners must also consider the aesthetics of the bar as a major driving factor. While most guests love the fact that the rooftop bar gives them access to outdoor dining and drinking, bars with a notable aesthetic will fare better among their niche audience. Not sure what type of aesthetic to invest in? Many successful rooftop bars try to create an overall atmosphere throughout the space.

For example, a rooftop bar those champions more tropical energy will decorate with green, leafy plants, bright colors, and music reminiscent of the Caribbean. While the aesthetic is up to the bar owner, it’s important to cater to styles that the audience will respond best to.

8. Listen to the Customers

Whether this rooftop bar is a totally new endeavor or it’s an extension of an existing restaurant or bar, it’s important to make adjustments to the bar based on customer comments and concerns. Once the rooftop bar opens, owners should actively seek out their customers’ constructive criticism and make adjustments accordingly. From adding in more fans to bringing in new entertainment options, ideas from customers will help bar owners ensure their guests are completely fulfilled.

With amazing views and creative decor and drinks, rooftop bars have every reason to be as popular as they are. Entrepreneurs preparing to launch their own rooftop bars should consider the above information to guarantee their new business venture is a true success.

Written by:
The Rooftop Guide

- the world's leading experts on rooftop venues