How High is a Bar Top: The Standards to Follow

How High is a Bar Top

How High is a Bar Top

When you walk into a bar, there is only a minute chance that you will see regular tables or low tables.

More often than not, you will see those bar tops that are near the bartenders and of course, the individual bar tables which are also standing as tall as the bar top. How high is a bar top? Why should they be that high?

These are the questions that, most of the time, we fail to ask because we have been so used to looking at those high bar tables that they almost seem normal. But are they?

In this article, we are going to determine how high is a bar top. We are also going to discuss the standard measurements as well as the probable reasons why bar tables were made to be that high.

Are you ready to question the ordinary? Read on for more information.

Why Are Bar Tops High?

A quick google search will most absolutely not answer this simple question. Frankly, there are a lot of speculation as to why they were made that way.

Some argue things about history, while others talk about social conventions. But whatever the real reason behind the elevation of this type of table, here are the three reasons that made the most sense for us.

  • It is about power.

By power, we mean the inherent social standing of a person. Just like the President is more powerful than a Senator, and so on and so forth. What does it have to do with going into a bar then?

Well, a bar is a place where you should socialize. You may go to a bar with a group of friends, but for many bar patrons, they go there alone. Some have the intention of meeting new people; others just want to take in the current vibe of the people present in the bar.

Now, no matter what your reason is for being in a bar, if you are going to talk to someone who is standing, while you are sitting in a regular-sized table and chair, it is awkward, right? It is as if the person who is standing by you is your superior. That position right there is all about power.

Taking the high bar tops into context, it will just make things more social-friendly. When you are seated high, you are at the same height as the person who is standing. Therefore, you are on equal footing, which will pave the way for “powerless conversations.”

  • It is for efficiency.

This argument is in relation to the position of the bartenders. Maybe, bar tops were made to be high due to the fact that frequent bar-goers always flock near the bartenders.

Of course, they will want to get their drinks as soon as possible. At the same time, here enters the cliché “bartender gives advice to problematic bar-goer.”

The bartenders operate while in the standing position because it will be hard for them to grab everything that they need to make drinks while sitting. Also, there is the case of bartending flair where they have to perform different tricks while standing.

Definitely, it will be faster to serve the customers when the tables are at the same level as they are. All they have to do is slide your drink to you.

  • It is for space.

Have you encountered a time where the bar was so full that extra tables and chairs were added? Did they add those high bar tops? No, right? Instead, they move the high bar tables to make way for the regular tables.

Speaking of dimensions, it is obvious that high bar tops conserve space. A single table can even hold up to four people. Therefore, if a lot of people can be cramped in a single table, then why not just provide the bulky ones when the bar is already at full capacity? Very smart indeed.

How High is a Bar Top: The Standard Measurement

The standard measure of a bar top is around 40” to 42” tall. This is so to make room for the bar stools that are usually 28” to 30”. At the same time, there should also be a difference in height between the bar top and the island so that the design looks dynamic and casual.

The ideal space between the bar stools and the top is 12″. This standard height was measured by way of averaging the height of people when standing next to a bar top.

Meaning, this measure is applicable to even the smallest or the tallest person in the world. To customize the measurement, you can measure your own height, but do not include the bar rail.

Moreover, this standard measure is the perfect height for people to lean on, no matter their heights. It is so amazing how a single standard measure can equalize everyone, right?

You really cannot go lower than this standard because you will find it hard to find a bar stool that will fit. At the same time, anything lower than this measure is already considered as a kitchen countertop.

As we have discussed earlier, this height blurs the difference between standing and sitting, that it will create a more casual setting and a relaxed atmosphere.

Further, this height is perfect for people who have small spaces because the empty space under the bar top creates an illusion of a bigger space. Additionally, the space under the table can be used as storage as well.


It is truly interesting to know the different reasons as to why a bar top was made so high. Definitely, after reading the article, you will not see a bar top as just a place where you can place your drink. It sounds cheesy, but it was made for everyone to feel at ease and to be included.

So, do not make the mistake of getting a lower bar top compared to the standard measure. Do not miss out on getting that casual vibe. It is also important to note that having bar tops also saves space; this will prove beneficial to people who live in small spaces.

What do you think is the real reason behind those high bar tops? Do you agree with the three reasons we enumerated? Whether these reasons are legitimate, for sure, it is reassuring to know that all of those reasons cater to the “coming together” of people.

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