Lunchbox Theatre has recently decided to open up a bar and concession stand in their small lobby, and needed a custom solution to fit the otherwise unused space. Because there is no “true” lobby (just an 8′ x 10′ walkway between two sets of doors), there wasn’t room to waste even an inch of space. On top of the small footprint, it also needed to accommodate a slight ramp (2 1/2″ over 4′) and a vertical bulkhead in the corner where the bar would live.

The original plans started by bringing in an old prop bar from a previous production, and finding the pros and cons of that particular size. We looked at how close the doors swing to the bar, how much it encroaches on the lobby/walkway, and the height of it at various points along the ramp. Then, a “wish list” of features and services was drawn up to be worked into the plans. Some features included:

  • Fridge for beverages
  • Method of displaying and selling snacks/candy
  • Room for coffee sales, and cream/sugar
  • Storage for glassware
  • Cash box

The largest of those items was the fridge, which takes up a large portion of the final bar. A small countertop model from Coca-Cola was brought in, and measured carefully to be built around in the planning process.

Preliminary Bar Design

Once the lobby was measured and the fridge modelled, the first rendering came together in SketchUp. As you can see, the fridge occupies the bulk of the front area, but is framed by a small waste disposal, and a snack display area. A coffee urn sits in front of a wine and glassware storage shelf. Above the snack area is a hinged top for cash sales.

From this point, it was just small tweaks to make up the remainder of the design. The snack area was made narrower to make more room for the door, and the cash box became a drawer.

Final Bar Design

Once this final design was approved, it was on to the building process. With an accurate rendering with 1/32″ precision, a cutlist was quickly produced from the 3D model. It was then a matter of cutting the material (high quality sanded plywood in this case) to the correct dimensions with a minimal amount of waste, staining and sealing to prevent moisture damage, and assembling it in place.

The final product has had a tremendous impact, fitting perfectly into a space that was otherwise wasted, and providing a new revenue stream for Lunchbox Theatre.

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