You can get really consumed by details when you’re opening a new business. In a Craft Beer tasting room there are and endless number of important things to consider.
First, your customers are going to be there a while. Nobody really dashes into a tasting room filled with cool, interesting beers to down a quick one and run off. So you have to make sure the place is inviting: comfortable space, decent chairs, good sound level, easy-to-navigate bar/layout, etc.
Second, they’re going to be there a while, and different people have different needs. Accessibility is one need, but that’s governed by law (thank goodness–some of us at FMFC are old enough to remember when there were no ramps or wide-enough doors in bars or restaurants in BC).
More specifically, everyone needs to go to the bathroom sooner or later. If you’re like us you have extensive criteria by which you judge a place on, but if it has awful bathrooms, even if everything else is spectacular, the place is a dud.
Most important is (of course) cleanliness. One of our favorite hangouts used to be a Craft bar in Fairhaven Washington. The owner was a fanatic, not a term we use loosely. In addition to refusing to sell you beer he didn’t have the correct, specified glassware for (despite the beer being visible and in-stock behind the bar) he actually cleaned his bathrooms every 30 minutes, all day long.
It was epic. His bathrooms always smelled better than an average suburban living room, and were a delight to use. It’s been 15 years since the place changed hands and sanitation went downhill, but we still tell this story every chance we get. It was an amazing part of why the place achieved greatness.
One detail we love, both in bathrooms and along bars and underneath tables is hooks. A hook on the back of a door to hang your coat, another to hang a bag/purse and you’ve got your hands free and your accessories clean and out of the way.
Bag hooks are a genius invention: even the tidiest, best-kept places always have a bit of spilled beer in their day. If a customer sits down with no place to put their bag except the floor or the bartop, they either have to take up a seat with it or clutch it on their lap. Trying to keep track of and not dunk your bag in spilled beer or whatever is on the floor generates anxiety, which decreases comfort, which means the customer is out of there after only a short time, and that’s a tragedy.
We’ve got a million details and a short time to figure them all out before we’re open and serving our beer to the public. What’s your must-have for comfort in a Craft Beer establishment? Let us know in the comments and we’ll put it on our ever-growing list.