Bar Top Standard Depths, Heights and Considerations


bar height standardsBar Height:

Bar heights have 3 general standards with very little variability (counter height, basic bar height and tall bars).    Generally speaking the only variance in bar heights comes from the materials used for the bar top and sub top.   For instance, a prefab laminate counter top may be thinner than quartz or granite thereby affecting the final height of the bar or counter.

The typical home kitchen / eat-in bar is going to be the exact height of the surrounding counter tops, most typically at 36″ which call for counter stools which are widely available from any retailer.

Standard bar height which is what most people think of in restaurants and home bars is typically 41″-43″ depending on the bar top material.  Other variability comes when a bar is constructed as a part of the kitchen or home such as a bar passthrough.  It’s important to know that constructing a bar higher than 43″ will make it very difficult to find appropriate bar stools tall enough for comfortable seating.

Additionally, most common bistro tables and pub tables available for purchase and used in residential or commercial settings are going to be 42″ in height.

Finally, there are “Extra tall” bars that require tall seating.  These are not common and most often found in sports venues and other locations requiring higher observation seating.   These types of bars are generally purpose built and constructed up to 47″ tall.   Because of the uncommon nature of the bar height, finding affordable and comfortable seating can be a challenge.

Bar top Depths:

Bar depths of 12″ are generally considered the “minimum”.   A shallow bar usually only serves as a passthrough to a kitchen or a drink rail / cocktail bar.   If space allows, a 24″ depth bar is ideal.   At 24″, the bar allows for flexibility of dining as well as casual entertaining.

Eat in bars and counter height bars generally match the depth of surrounding cabinets and substitute for a dining table.   If the bar is going to be used as a table with chairs on both sides, a minimum width for comfortable dining is generally 40″.

The most important factor in planning a bar is the front with the bar top overhang.   In order to be comfortable at a bar and push a bar stool under, 12″ of overhang is considered the minimum for comfortable use (though there are some construction plans that call for a 10″ overhang).



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