The Art of Bar Lighting: Creating the Perfect Atmosphere for a Memorable Night Out

Atmosphere plays a key role in the hospitality industry. Not only does it set the tone for the space and contribute towards the guest experience, but it becomes a part of the decoration, branding, and overall presentation of your space. Not to mention, it facilitates guest movement and navigation, enables them to see what they’re doing, and creates the right mood for everything from club vibes to romance.

In this blog post, we’re looking specifically at the art of bar lighting – that is, how bars use lighting to create an intimate but welcoming atmosphere which is suitable for first dates, friend dates, work nights out, and more.

Why good lighting matters in a bar

The minute you step into a bar, you want to feel welcome and able to relax. Having said that, most patrons also want to be able to see what they’re drinking – creating a need for lighting which is soft and warm but also bright enough to illuminate the space sufficiently.

All in all, good lighting matters because it can make people want to stay in the bar longer as it enhances their overall experience.

The impact of lighting on mood

This is where we consider the specifics of lighting in terms of colour and colour temperature. If you’ve been following our blogs for a while then you will be familiar with the importance of colour from a psychological perspective – that is, which colours are best suited to commercial and public spaces, elevating mood and promoting positive interactions. Beyond that though, a bar in particular must look at the intensity of its lighting and how it can bridge the need for functional illumination and mood lighting.

Effective bar lighting

Where possible, the warmer the lighting colour the better for a bar. Rarely do people want to relax and enjoy a drink in a space which feels overly bright and clinical – rather, opting for yellow undertones and warmer hues is a safe way to keep your bar feeling warm and enticing.

Another thing to consider when it comes to lighting in a bar and the way it affects mood is the difference between large lights and smaller lights. Intimate lights which illuminate tables individually help to contribute towards your bar as being romantic and cosy, whereas overhead lights brighten up the overall aesthetic but take away that feeling of intimacy.

When selecting the best lights to enhance the mood in your bar, options win out over any single style – with the most versatile bars combining a mix of large overhead lights and more intimate ones, alongside flashing club lights and coloured lights for different events.

The most innovative lighting ideas for a modern bar setting

With so much to think about, it’s important that bar lighting offers convenience and a high level of functionality, while contributing towards the creation of a memorable guest experience.

One of the best ways to do this is with the integration of task lighting in certain areas of the bar, segmented from the more romantic and intimate areas lit by candles and dim wall lights. You will find that many of the most popular bars on the market right now offer a variety of spaces for guests to enjoy – diversifying their guest options in order to appeal to a wider market.

Another idea which may feel less innovative and highly obvious, but which can have a hugely positive impact on the design and aesthetic presentation of your bar, is to integrate coloured lighting which mimics and compliments your branding. This can be achieved through anything from LED coloured spotlights to backlighting behind the bar, fairy lights, and more.

Finally, lighting can be used to bridge inside and outside spaces, and to create a subtle but cohesive experience for guests as they move from the entrance to the main bar area, the bathrooms and beyond. Outside lights have long been an easy go-to to entice people in and to give your bar a sense of local charm and whimsy, while clever lighting inside can serve to draw people in and make them want to continue moving into the space – supported by great design and some unique and exciting experiential concepts.

Lighting is, in short, can be a hugely effective way of bringing a bar to life and creating an atmosphere that customers are seeking when they go out for a drink.

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