The Reason Behind High Bar Tables

Reason Behind High Bar Tables

Bar tables are so high that people seated at them have to use special bar height, or pub height seating. This seating can be very uncomfortable if it is not designed right, and shorter people have a hard time getting into and out of high bar seating. This leaves many people to wonder why the high bar tables are necessary at all.

High bar tables promote mixed visiting and socialization. People seated at high bar tables can visit with other people who are standing nearby and still look eye to eye. People seated at high tables can visit with waitstaff. Staff can easily bring drinks and food at an efficient, ergonomic height.

There is a lot of speculation as to the origins of the bar, and the reasons why bar seating has become so ubiquitous in bars, casual restaurants, and coffee shops. Nobody knows for sure when it started, but it is a seating arrangement that is here to stay. Keep reading to learn more about the reasons behind high bar tables. 

What is the Reason Behind High Bar Tables? 

When it comes to high bar tables, there is no single reason but rather a multitude of reasons behind them. The reasons behind high bar tables include: 

  • High Bar tables promote socialization
  • High Bar tables are efficient and ergonomic
  • High Bar tables are inexpensive

High bar tables have certain advantages over more conventional alternatives you can find sold on the market. Since bars involve high-levels of social interaction, building tables that mediate and promote socialization is important and highly beneficial for businesses that use them. 

The low cost and ergonomics of high bar tables also is part of their appeal. Before talking about each of these reasons more in depth, you should learn more about what exactly a bar height table is so you can better understand each of the reasons behind high bar tables. 

What is a Bar Height Table?

A bar height table is a very tall table that replicates the height of a traditional bar top. This bar top is typically about 40 to 42 inches tall. This allows the bartender to work behind the bar and access all the glasses, bottles, and tools needed for drink mixing with maximum efficiency. Seating is correspondingly high so that guests can comfortably sit on the opposite side of the bar. 

A bar height table is designed with the same height, but it is usually a small round or square table that is intended to promote socialization between a small group of people. 

  • A bar height table is usually around 42 inches tall. 
  • These tables are typically very small, and are intended to give the pub vibe but for a more intimate group that can talk face to face. This is nice seating for a small group of friends or a couple.
  • The bar height table is perfect for including visitors who wish to stand and talk.
  • The bar height table is ideal for someone who wants to stand at the table rather than sit. They can still visit eye to eye with their partner or guest.

A bar height table is a fun addition to home decor as part of a wet bar or coffee nook, but it is not a very popular choice for regular dining seating. This is because the table height and correspondingly high seating is very difficult and dangerous to use for both children and the elderly. 

Now that you know what high bar tables are, keep reading to find out the reasons behind high bar tables and why they are preferred over other tables. 

High Bar Tables Promote Socialization

Low tables create a physical and visual barrier, or separation of space. Those seated must look up to waitstaff who are correspondingly looking down. If a friend or acquaintance comes over to the table to say hello, there is an inevitable awkwardness. They will have to stand and talk down to those seated or choose to sit with the group. This inclusion is often also awkward and unwelcome. 

High bar tables solve this awkwardness, allowing people to mix and mingle among tables whether their preference is sitting, standing, or both.

  • Those who are seated at tables can visit with those who are standing or milling around the room. When someone is standing at or near the table, they are at face height to the people who are seated. This promotes easy conversation and encourages friendliness.
  • Waitstaff can interact with clientele as equals. This is a big bonus for waitstaff on several levels. Firstly, most waiters enjoy some interaction with clients. This interaction is awkward from a seated and standing position. However, those who interact with clients at a high bar table feel more free to be friendly.
  • Waitstaff can earn higher tips from clients who are seated at high bar tables. The ability to look guests in the eye, participate in friendly banter about common topics, and engage in friendly body language usually enables the waitstaff to earn more tips from guests. 

Keep in mind that this style of seating is for social engagement settings like bars and coffee shops. This is not such a popular seating for dining establishments, and for a very good reason. When groups choose to dine together, they are more of a closed group, so they prefer to sit together and interact together.

When individuals or groups go to bars and coffee shops, they are there for a social engagement. There are occasionally those who go to a bar to be alone, and they can be found at a low table or in an unobtrusive corner. Those who are open to talking will grab a seat at the bar. High seating can be used as a signal that a person is open to visiting.

High Bar Tables are Efficient and Ergonomic

This is purely from the perspective of the waitstaff. Those who are short in height do not feel that high bar seating is ergonomic in any sense of the word. Instead they feel that they are perched on a wobbly pedestal with their legs dangling like a child while their feet fall asleep. 

However, for waitstaff, these tables are at elbow-height. This is the perfect height for delivering drinks, removing dishes, and wiping down tables and chairs. This height allows staff to do their work without repetitive bending, which is very hard on the lower back and legs.

  • The bar has always been an efficient work divider between bartenders and patrons. The bar allows the bartender to access bottles and glasses that are below the bar and behind the bar and then mix and serve drinks without bending or taking many steps. 
  • Sociable people have always enjoyed participating in the work of the bartenders by watching the work, chatting, and interacting with other guests. Because the bar is elbow high to the bartender, the seating must be high enough for guests to sit on the opposite side of the bar comfortably.
  • High bar tables carry on this tradition, extending it into the bar room and enabling cocktail waitresses and other waitstaff to do their work and interact with guests from a comfortable elbow-high table position.

While this ergonomic and efficient design may not be preferred by many bar patrons, it is the best for waitstaff. This benefit is transferred to patrons who receive friendly and efficient service by waitstaff who are more comfortable doing their jobs. 

A perfect way to make everyone happy is to provide bar height seating that is also comfortable, ergonomic, and sturdy so that guests can relax and enjoy the high seating without feeling like they are uncomfortable or in danger of falling.

High Bar Tables are Inexpensive

High bar tables are usually less expensive than similarly sized standard height tables. This does not hold true in every circumstance, but as a general rule the bar height tables do not cost as much. However, buying nice comfortable chairs for a bar height table can cost considerably more than standard height chairs.

  • Bar height tables are usually made with a single pedestal. This is a less expensive design than tables with four wooden legs.
  • Bar height tables tend to be made of less expensive materials. This could be because the intention of a bar height table is focused more on the beverages consumed and the company at hand than it is on the furnishings. 
  • Bar height stools can be inexpensive, but these are the models that are quite uncomfortable for guests. Those who want to encourage guests to stay should invest in better seating. This adds to the overall cost of having bar height tables.

Bar height tables may be inexpensive, but the cost evens out somewhat when purchasing nice bar height stools to pair with them. Either way, having drinks with friends and enjoying waitstaff banter at a bar height table is bound to be a perennial favorite experience for most people. 


Nobody exactly knows when high bar tables were invented or what the original reasons were, but the reasoning behind bar tables was exactly the same then as it is now: to promote socialization and produce an efficient, ergonomic table for people to use.  

The benefits of high bar tables are the same benefits that people wanted when they began using this style of seating. 


Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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