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Raising The Bar with Next Step Design

October 07, 2021 | Krowne Consultant Series

Next Step Design is best known for their work in world-class restaurants, high-end hotels, resorts, and cutting-edge workplace dining. They translate the ideas of forward-thinking architects, designers, chefs, and operators into spaces with consistent, high-quality food preparation delivered with efficiency. We were able to speak with Linda Callahan, a project Director, at Next Step Design to gain some perspective on her design process and what details she thinks are overlooked when designing a bar.

Question: What things do you consider as “need to know” when designing a bar?

“People tend to think anyone can design a bar. But there is so much more than knowing where to place the equipment and workflow. NSD takes our design efforts one step further – working with Interior Designers, Architects, and Engineers to make sure that local codes are met or exceeded, underground rough-in penetrations are carefully coordinated, and things like outlets and lighting are where they need to be located. If we didn’t take this extra step our initial designs would never be executed in the field as they were intended.”


Question: How do drink trends effect designing a bar? Do you need more equipment? Different equipment?

“Drink trends impact bar equipment greatly. I wouldn’t necessarily say that you need more equipment, I think you need the correct equipment that is incorporated into the space with intent. Depending on the desired offerings at the bar there will need to be space for storage, tinctures, rinsers, dipper wells, etc. Placement and visibility to the guest is also a key factor. Next Step Design takes pride in making sure our bars are well thought out, functional, and sexy.”


Question: When and where do you get your best ideas?

“Late at night! When the emails and conference calls slow down and everyone in my house is asleep. It all comes together and my creative juices flow.”

Question: How did you end up designing for the foodservice industry? Was it something you always wanted to do?

“Not at all!  I went to school focusing on math because I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I started with a KEC as an estimator and it all just clicked working my way up to Next Step Design. I wouldn’t change a thing.”


Question: What is a detail in a bar that is typically overlooked that you think is important?

“Conduit Coordination. Uncoordinated Conduits can ruin a bar aesthetic and functionality.”


Question: Why did you choose to partner with Krowne?

“I am excited to specify Krowne on upcoming airport projects because of their recent innovations and the BarFlex3D design tool, which allows us to walk the client through early schematic design renderings.”


Linda Callahan, Director at Next Step Designs

To learn more about Next Step Design, visit their website at

Posted by Krowne on October 07, 2021 9:20:23 AM

Topics: Bar, Bar Design

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