A City Slickers Guide To Transforming A Regular Bar Into A Country Western Hot Spot

If you're looking to open up a Country Western themed bar in New York City and you're looking for some design ideas, this guide will help you out. There are lots of transplants from the south living in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and they would love a cool spot to drink and hear Country music. However, they also want the cool atmosphere that comes with a classic Country Western bar. But if you and your business partners are lifelong city slickers who have never opened a C&W themed place, you are probably looking for design tips. Well, here are some ideas to help you out.

Wood Floor, Sawdust Optional

If the previous space was an hipster bar, dive bar, or old Irish bar, then you might be lucky enough to have nice looking, weathered wood floors. This is what you want. If the previous space was tiled, then you need to rip them up. A classic country western bar will have wood floors. And the floors won't be treated with poly and look shiny. So don't make a big deal about staining and waxing the wood floor. If you have to remove tile and tile adhesive, then you will have sand down the floor, but don't bother applying a shiny sealer such as poly, just use some Tung oil and then let it weather over time.

Hanging Kerosene Lamps

You should buy some kerosene lamps and hag them over the bar. You will need to have regular electrical lighting for the space, but these lamps will add quite a bit of ambience to the joint. You don't have to even light them if you are concerned about the fire hazard. Also, you can find reproduction lamps that don't use kerosene, but instead use batteries.

Bartenders In Jeans And Tees

The bar staff should wear jeans and t-shirts with your bars name. You don't have to go crazy with cowboy hats, or big embroidered Western style shirts. Also, if the female bartenders want to wear cutoffs, that's fine, as it's popular in Country Western fashion, just don't push for them to be too seductive, so no bikini tops. You want a Country Western spot that is popular with men and ladies, not some clone of Coyote Ugly or Red Rock West.

Salvaged Whisky Barrels For Tables

A really fun and cheap idea to set the tone is to get salvaged whiskey barrels and have a carpenter make some table tops for them. Make sure you tell the carpenter that you want the tops to look a bit rough. They shouldn't look like that are being designed to look perfect, rather they should be functional and weathered. So have the carpenter scuff up the wood and leave nail heads visible (no need to countersink and cover them with plugs). It should look like a cowboy might have sat at the table one upon a time.

A Big, Authentic Bullwhip For Behind The Bar

The piece de resistance is a big, impressive bullwhip. You can get a few of these if you have a huge bar and want to hang a bunch of them up on the wall. These are a really cool way to immediately let people know they are in a Country Western bar. You want to make sure you get a nice, raw leather bullwhip, one that is designed to look like one used by cowboys back on the range. Avoid the sleek, black ones that are small and designed for a more "erotic" type of club.  Alongside the big bullwhips you can hang a vintage rodeo advertisements in lieu of modern artwork.

For more information, you will want to contact a company such as Quality Whips by Victor Tella.