Keeping up with the bar equipment

By Fiona McLelland

- Last updated on GMT

Keeping up with the bar equipment

Related tags Coffee Beer

Outdated bar and catering equipment can leave a pub behind the times. Here, some of the trade’s leading suppliers give us the lowdown on the latest must-have kit.


To keep up with the trends, pub chillers need to accommodate craft beers and ciders, and mixers for gin, says Serge Kremer, CEO at Husky Commercial.

“Customers demand variety when they go out,” he explains. “Pubs need well-lit fridges to showcase their range of drinks, but fridges that look stylish and work efficiently can be hard to come by.”

Kremer says the LED lighting and adjustable shelving in Husky’s back-bar chillers makes for attractive displays, while reinforced hinges and self-closing doors allow staff to work quicker. They’re also energy efficient to help reduce electricity bills.

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“We pride ourselves on serving high-quality, great-tasting food and drink,” says licensee Patrick Anderson. “But we were forced to serve warm white wine and beer, which left customers questioning our service.”

Anderson called Husky Commercial, who recommended the Intellegenzia back-bar chiller. With new units installed, the popular village pub is now selling more wine and beer than before.

“The soft-close doors give staff quick and easy access at busy times,” says Anderson. “And the LED lighting makes our wines and beers more visible to customers, while giving the bar a premium look.”

The new chillers also save the pub money. Their fan-assisted cooling system goes into sleep mode when the doors are closed to reduce energy use.


Given the UK’s obsession with drinking coffee out of home, there’s been a dramatic surge in pubs investing in their coffee offering. But they often spend too much on unsuitable machines, says Steve Causton,
sales manager at Allied Drink Systems.

“Some pubs think big is best and buy the sorts of machines you see in Costa,” he explains. “But they’ll get better results from smaller, cheaper machines that are faster, easier to use and quicker to clean.”

Rather than a labour-intensive, bean-to-cup barista offering, Causton says pubs would do well with a push-button machine, with a ‘hybrid’ blend of freeze-dried instant and ground coffee. “Our blind taste tests show 80% of people can’t tell the difference,” he says.

Tips from the experts

"When buying a coffee machine, ask yourself: what does it need to do? What staffing levels will it require? What resources will be available for staff training?" - Steve Causton, Allied Drink Systems

"Always make sure you know who you’re buying equipment from. Do they understand refrigeration? Will they provide spare parts and support beyond the warranty? Can you reduce bills with more energy-efficient machines?" - Serge Kremer, Husky Commercial 

"When recording food temperatures, you don’t want your kitchen staff scrambling around looking for a thermometer – have one in every chef’s jacket, a few in the prep area and a spare in the office." - Tim Strutt, Electronic Temperature Instruments

"The popularity of gin and exotic tonics and garnishes continues to soar. To keep up, pubs should stock the latest must-have glassware: the ‘copa de balon’. The large, balloon-shaped stemmed glass – like our Arome and Copacabana – allows a fuller appreciation of the flavours and aromas." - Gill Head, Artis


A pub’s glassware should match its service and branding, says Gill Head, marketing manager at Artis.

But as space behind the bar comes at a premium, she recommends a multifunctional selection: standard pint glasses; long, slim glasses for spirits with a mixer; quality stemmed glasses for bottled beers; and both conical glasses and dimpled tankards for ales.

She also advises sticking to one glass type for both red and white wine, such as one from the best-selling, hard-wearing Perception range from Artis. For the fast-growing gin sector, she suggests a copa-style glass for a premium feel.

Temperature control

Compliance is a major challenge facing any professional kitchen.

“It can be tempting for pubs to overlook a few minor health violations, and hope the inspectors don’t visit today,” says Tim Strutt, UK sales manager at Electronic Temperature Instruments, a digital thermometer manufacturer and supplier. “But they should treat every day as inspection day.”

Strutt suggests running your own checklists – using the same tools as an inspector – including checking and recording fridge and freezer temperatures twice daily, and regularly checking temperatures during food prep.

“Having enough thermometers is crucial,” he says. “The more you have, the more easily you can ensure temperatures are being taken.”

Top products

Top-seller at Electronic Temperature Instru-ments is the Thermapen food probe. It is more than 50% faster than traditional probes, reading temperatures in three seconds. The company is also the first to offer a dishwasher thermometer, DishTemp.

One of Husky Commericial’s newest products is the stainless steel back-bar chiller. Energy-efficient, with LED-illuminated interior, it is part of Husky’s Summer Sizzler deal.

Allied Drink Systems’ best-selling pub coffee machine is the touch-button Premier 3. With a 16.5cm footprint, it can make 140 black coffees an hour, as well as latte, cappuccino, mocha, espresso and hot chocolate.

Artis has a new Birrateque by Luigi Bormioli glassware collection for craft beer. Each glass’s shape and style enhances the taste of specific beer types, including stout and porter, wheat beer, IPA and white beer.

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