Top Bar Lighting Ideas for your Venue

Top Bar Lighting Ideas for your Venue

To achieve your desired look, your bar lighting must reflect the mood, drinks and whatever else it is you are serving. If you are hoping to emulate the vintage era, quirky neon bar sign lights will look out of place. 

First impressions count, especially in the bar industry, and interior lighting is more important than you’d think. Gone are the days of switching on the light and relying on traditional lighting systems, your bar lighting needs to be exciting, innovative and welcome your guests. There are so many factors to consider, so we’re sharing our favourite bar lighting design ideas. 


First things first, consider your space when it comes to bar lights and signs. If your bar is relatively small, it may be worth looking at cosy lights that invite warmth and reflect the venue’s welcoming atmosphere. Dim, possibly red, lights should evoke the feelings you would like to achieve. Alternatively, if you’re hosting a pop-up bar and, thus, have a small space, you could use the likes of gobo lights to promote your bar, by displaying the name of your bar with a monogram projection. If you lack space, you could project images on the floor, or even outside the entrance to your bar to entice passers-by. 


A light’s position sets the mood and reflects the type of venue you are aiming to become. For venues that are open throughout the day and shut a little earlier than others, lighting hung from the ceiling is a great option. LED bar light signs placed on the walls, displaying the name of your bar, for example, are for the more quirky and hipster bars, open ‘til late. Low-level bar lighting is fantastic for the more romantic, lounge venue. The use of uplighting is hugely popular and is great for event lighting, such as your work Christmas party. If you happen to have a dance floor at your party, higher level lights ensure they are above anyone’s reach and project brilliant images and lights onto the floor. However, if you’re aiming to use natural light at your bar, dimmer lights are your best option. 


Bar lighting not only reflects the mood of your establishment, but also creates the mood. Bar lights, LED, in particular, are essential to your venue and any misjudgment on the unique mood you are looking to create could affect your bar. For example, romantic and cosy bar lighting should not be used at family venues or seaside bars. Likewise, dark and neon LED bar lighting are for the late bars, and not the day drinking venues. 

One of our top lighting tips is to design the mood and the idea for the bar before even considering lighting, as the ambiance is what will make your bar popular and see returning visitors. Once you have a clear vision in your head, you can consider the bar lighting and lighting fixtures to transform your venue. 

Type of Lighting

The type of lighting is the next step in your bar lighting process. Gobo lights are experiencing a surge in popularity for projecting signs and symbols as part of the lighting for bars. Instead of painting on the walls at your venue to signal where the toilets are, you could project a bar sign light displaying the word ‘toilets’. Alternatively, you could even guide your guests to certain areas of the bar with arrows on the floor. You won’t damage the venue, should you be using it as a pop-up bar, and it will save you time and money. Our LED gobo projectors, for the gobo lights, are energy efficient and have a long-lasting life. 

Uplighting is another hugely popular choice for bar lighting, and is, essentially, lights from the ground. If you are looking to illuminate pop-up banners or certain areas within your bar, uplighting is the interior lighting for you. We have a whole selection of bar lighting design ideas with our event lighting tips article - including uplighting and gobo lights - that you can take inspiration from for lighting up your bar. 


The effects of your bar lighting are also to be considered when looking into designing your bar (we told you lighting was essential for your venue). Do you want spotlights if your bar turns into a nightclub at a particular time, or would you like to create brilliant illusions for the more sophisticated venue, with a gobo? 

A monogram projection has a different effect to that of dimmer lights, or colourful LEDs. Trial and test, or even speak to a lighting technician regarding the lighting fixtures and the equipment available at the venue and, subsequently, what you could do with it. 


Another aspect of bar lighting is the use of colour. Don’t be afraid of using colour; you can still project a sophisticated and sleek atmosphere and venue with the use of coloured lighting for bars. Monochrome lights are all well and good, and certainly have their place, but coloured bar lighting can also be elegant. 

Stick to a darker colour palette for the more ‘grown-up’ and sexy bars, and inject the use of bright colour later on in the night - particularly if you happen to stay open quite late. You could also use colour gobo lights to highlight the entrance to your bar, and use an outdoor gobo projector for logo projection. You can get custom gobos displaying your bar name, or even a sign gobo light saying the word ‘bar’ - the choice is yours. Don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd with your bar lighting design ideas. 

Point of Sale Drinks Promotion

You’re at the bar and can’t decide what to drink; let a Gobo Projection make your mind up for you. If you want to promote or launch a new drink in your bar, there is no better way to bring attention to it with a custom gobo. A projection onto the surface of a bar or the wall behind it not only draws the eye, and encourages people to buy if they are still undecided while they wait. Another advantage of using a gobo light is that it also doesn’t require any fixtures or fittings to be moved. 

Get in touch with one of our team today to discuss bar lighting options and what gobo lights can do for your venue.