Why Bars Are Transitioning Into Lounges

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Like most things these days, the landscape of the bar and nightlife industry looks very different today than in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic forced bars and clubs to close their doors in the early months of 2020, which caused operators to reimagine what their business would look like in a world full of social distancing regulations and newly implemented safety standards. As bars and clubs have begun reopening again across the country, many establishments have taken the time to rebrand their business. Instead of typical bars, operators have turned their locations into intimate lounges to meet social distancing regulations and create a safe, enjoyable environment for guests or small groups.

How Bar Culture Has Changed Because Of The Pandemic

Before the pandemic, the bar and nightlife industry was full of establishments that enjoyed creating a packed, lively, and exclusive atmosphere for their guests. Mega-clubs had begun popping up all over the world, promoting large locations that could easily fit and serve hundreds of people. Bars and clubs attracted consumers looking to gather with friends, attend live shows, or other forms of entertainment. Due to the mandatory standards of social distancing and limited gatherings that were put into place to help combat the spread of harmful viruses, bars were required to shut down last year.

Even though many bars and clubs have been given the green light to reopen, many consumers decided to stop going altogether, fearing discomfort and unsafe environments for their health. Many states have placed regulations surrounding how many people are allowed to be in one building at a time, impacting the number of guests that could congregate at bars. Bars and nightclubs have had to readjust their seating and limit their staff to accommodate social distancing practices. Operators across the country have felt the economic toll this pandemic has placed on their businesses, and it has caused them to make several adjustments to further accommodate their guests and drive traffic back into their establishments.

Why Bars Are Turning Into Lounges

In order to meet social distancing standards and attract consumers now and for the foreseeable future, many businesses have turned their attention to reimagining their locations into a space where guests can feel comfortable. Bars and nightclubs have traded in their former dynamic, jam-packed experiences for an intimate lounge atmosphere. Lounges offer guests a location full of comfortable seating, unique decor, drinks, and laid-back music. A transition to a more relaxed, tapered-down version of a bar would be easy for operators to accomplish, as bars already have most of these features.

The Benefits Of Bars Transitioning Into Lounges

For guests who were fans of the bar and nightlife industry prior to the pandemic, lounges can offer a similar space in the midst of new practices that minimize the spread of viruses and social distancing standards. Lounges are designed to be more intimate, offer seating that fits small groups, and are full of themed decor, drink menus, and music that sets the tone.

Operators will find that turning their bars into lounges is much more cost-efficient than starting their business over from scratch. Businesses can rearrange their location to fit the look and feel of a curated lounge. Marketing bars as smaller, intimate lounges is great for making customers feel safe during this time. Guests will be much more comfortable and attracted to spaces that follow social distancing standards and prioritize their health and safety.

Venues that didn’t make much use of their outdoor space before the pandemic, can now reimagine those spaces to be a place where guests can safely enjoy their time, without the stigma of unsafe indoor dining.

Ways To Turn Your Bar Into A Lounge

Your business can make several modifications to turn an establishment into a lounge. The key to making this transition as budget-friendly as possible is to use what you already have. Your loyal guests will enjoy seeing the atmosphere of their favorite bar or club reimagined as a brand-new lounge.

Reimagine Your Space

Operators can use the same seating and decor for example but spread them out throughout the location to create areas for smaller groups, instead of a tightly packed space or large dance floor. Instead of hosting DJs or concerts, consider limiting entertainment to speaker systems or the occasional live band.

Rethink Your Menu

Update your drinks menu to include popular cocktails, but also consider incorporating a mocktail section to attract customers looking for non-alcoholic options in a relaxed environment. Some operators might even find it useful to create a small food menu to attract customers looking to have a meal in a unique, curated lounge.

Why You Should Consider Turning Your Bar Into A Lounge

The future of the bar and nightlife industry is uncertain, given that the pandemic continues to still have a major impact on businesses. As bars-turned-into-lounges begin to pop up all over the country, it’s important for operators to keep up with the trend. The most important part of attracting guests back to your business is to make sure they are feeling comfortable and safe in your new space. By turning your bar into a relaxed, intimate environment that is focused on its atmosphere rather than a jam-packed experience, guests will feel much safer spending time in your establishment.

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