8 Reasons Bar Optics need to be forgotten…

Bar Optics. Those upside down bottle holders on the walls of bars, must die.

Strong, I know, but justified.

  1. Bartenders have to turn their back on the guest to use them. This is a pet peeve of mine, and also why I don’t like having the cash registers on the back bar either. Drinks should be made on the build mat in front of the guest. Not only is this more professional as the guest sees whats in their drink, but the bartender can still be seeing who arrives at the bar and interacting with other guests. Win win.
  2. They only allow a fixed volume to be poured. While I can appreciate the reasoning behind optics when they were introduced, in today’s market where cocktails are making a huge dent in the market being restricted to multiples of 25ml serves seriously affects which cocktails can be made and certainly the balance of flavours, resulting in poor quality drinks.
  3. Miles of walking doesn’t equal more sales. Having your bartenders having to repeatedly walk the length of your bar to get a specific spirit makes no sense, slows service and frustrates your customers who have to wait longer for their drinks. Having all of your mainlines in a well at the service station is clearly way more efficient.
  4. They are no more accurate than a well trained bartender. Or a bartender with a jigger. The argument for portion control is simply a symptom of lazy owners and managers not wanting to train their teams to be better at their jobs. It is really not difficult to pour into a jigger accurately without spilling, and a well trained bartender who can free pour allows both hands to pour simultaneously DOUBLING speed of service.
  5. They’re normally disgusting. For some reason, bars don’t seem to think that optics need to be cleaned. They really, really do. Bailey’s encrusted optics are not a pretty sight and all too often you see the dispense leaver stick in place when they are operated, just reinforcing how dirty and sticky they are. Speed pourers are easily removed, cleaned and replaced with the bottles left in situ, whereas when you’re cleaning an optic the bottles have to be removed from the mount and are often left scattered about the back bar.
  6. People know you sell vodka, gin and whiskey. People have argued with me that if the bottles are in the speedrail then how does the customer know what you sell. Really? You think if they don’t see a bottle of vodka on the back bar they’ll think “Oh, how strange, they don’t sell vodka”? No, in your speed rails are your house brands that you sell all the time, and on your back bar is the place to display the PREMIUM spirits that they can trade up to. Don’t waste your prime back bar selling space on your lowest cost items!
  7. I’ve seen so many destroyed while being changed. Seriously, the number I’ve seen dropped and smashed while people try to change these, especially the oversized 1.5 or 3 Litre bottles is astounding. Even better, when it happens its often quietly swept up and not reported to management, looking like either a theft or missed delivery. I’ve also seen these swing out from the wall at the top while in use, narrowly missing staff stood below.
  8. They’re just so butt ugly!

So… Do you see my point?