What is a Bar Foot Rail

Posted On 3rd December 2020

What Is a Bar Foot RailBars can vary in terms of theme, style, layout, and menu, but authentic bars always have one key aspect in common: a bar foot rail or foot rest. Whether you are visiting a commercial bar or setting up basement bars with your friends, this is one of the most important aspects of any bar design.

But what is a bar rail? Well, bar rails or foot rails are long rails, located along the base of the exterior of the bar counter itself. They allow people to rest their feet on them while standing at the bar to place an order and have a drink.

They can be made from a range of materials, like stainless steel, brass, or even wood, running all along the side of the bar, at about ankle height.

They can come in different styles too, like a Chicago-style bar rail, with its own distinctive rail molding, and they have been around for years.

However, experts are unsure of the exact origins of bar rails. Some state that they have been around for hundreds of years, while others argue that it was not until the late 19th century that they really started to gain real popularity.

This guide will introduce you to bar rails and cover how they are made, as well as how you can make your own bar rail molding too.

Why Do Bars Have Rails?

One of the common questions people have about bar rails, as well as questions about bar rail dimensions and bar rail installation, is why do bar rails even exist in the first place?

Well, it is all about comfort and convenience. When you step into a bar, you will notice that many people spend a lot of their time at the bar itself.

They place their orders at the bar and then often choose to drink their drinks there too, and this has been a common practice throughout history.

The bar top is nicely designed to let people rest their elbows and arms there, but standing in one place for too long without being able to move or rest the feet can be problematic.

Therefore, bar rails were created to let bar patrons lift one of their feet at a time and place them on the rail, feeling relief and comfort from the pressure of standing still for so long. A comfortable patron is a happy patron, and that is good for business.

Standard Bar Foot Rail Dimensions: Height and Depth

Other common questions people have about bar rails often involve bar foot rail height and depth.

Many people want to know how big these rails are and how high they should be installed, for example.

Standard bar foot rail height is about 6 inches. The bar rail height is measured from the floor to the center of the tubing.

So, this means that the center of the rail should be about 6 inches off the ground to provide the best comfort for the bar patrons.

As well as bar foot rail height, it is also important to understand bar rail depth.

Standard depth is about 6 to 7” away from the bar itself. Again, this is measured to the center of the tube, so there should be about 6-7” of the distance between the flat bar surface and the middle of the rail.

DIY Bar Foot Rail – Is It Worth It?

If you are considering setting up your own basement bar or commercial bar, you could save money on the set-up by starting your own DIY bar rail project.

Creating and installing your bar foot rail on your own is relatively easy, as long as you have some level of DIY experience and know-how to handle tools and follow instructions.

You will typically need a drill, screwdriver, saw, file, and pliers. You will also need to measure the bar beforehand and choose the correct foot rail brackets.

Many bar owners choose to make their own foot rail and you can find various DIY bar foot rail ideas shared online by other bar owners and DIY experts.

This can be worth it if you're looking for a way to save money, but it may also be wiser to ask a professional for help if you feel you don't have the experience or expertise needed for the project.

Make Your Own Bar Rail Molding

Those with extensive woodworking and DIY experience may even be able to make their own bar rail molding.

You can find bar foot rail ideas online and then carve out a molding to suit your style, adding matching radius corners at the edges and other features to give your molding a distinctive look and feel.

Bar Foot Railings Mounting Options

A bar foot rail consists of two main parts: the rail itself and the mounting brackets. You can find all kinds of different bar mount brackets, including combination brackets, brackets with wall flanges to run right into the wall, brackets that connect to both the bar and the floor, and so on.

Mounting brackets are also available in a broad variety of styles and materials, from brass to steel and so on. Cheap bar rail ideas may incorporate simple brackets, while more expensive bar rails can make use of more elaborate and elegant brackets.

How to Choose the Right Foot Rail for Your Bar

Whether you are opting for a Chicago style bar rail or something more traditional, it is important to make sure you choose the right rail to suit your installation.

Bar rails are all relatively similar in terms of function, use, and size, but they differ greatly in terms of aesthetics and style. Try to pick one that appeals to your preferences and tastes, as well as fitting nicely with other elements like the bar itself and decorations you may have, plus the bar stools too.

A wooden bar rail will work well for more traditional, old-fashioned bar trim ideas, while steel bar rail ideas can be more modern and sophisticated. The key is to choose the right rail to match with the rest of your bar aesthetic.