If You See This Metal Bar at a Restaurant, This Is What It’s For

Reddit users have solved this mystery.

For those of us who haven’t worked in the foodservice industry, some of the ins-and-outs of restaurant life might confuse us. There are details that leave us scratching our heads, like why hot plates are so hot, why happy hour starts at 4 p.m. and other things that only restaurant managers know.

This metal bar, for example—what exactly is it? Naturally, we took to Reddit to find the answer, and the general consensus is that it’s a device known as a service bar rail.

What Is a Service Bar Rail?

While this metal rail may look out of place at the bar, it serves a reasonable purpose. A handful of Reddit users explained that a service bar rail exists to separate customers from the area where drinks and staff go in and out. During prime dining hours, running drinks to tables can be hazardous, so the more space the better.

If you look closely at the photo, you can see that the foot rail stops right where the service bar rail is placed. The area on the other side (sans foot rail) is where servers and bartenders can stand in their own space to hand off drinks or appetizers, or move in and out of the bar. Nifty, right?

And if you’re wondering whether or not the piece is purely decorative, we thought so at first glance. But no, these service bar rails serve a useful purpose.

Find the secrets that restaurant chefs won’t tell you.

Why Is It Made Out of Brass?

You could chalk the use of brass up to tradition and aesthetic, but a few Redditors speculated that using this metal was intentional. Users pointed to the metal’s natural ability to disinfect; the chemical makeup of brass actually has antimicrobial properties, says Wirecutter.

Of course, a brass service bar rail looks pretty good, too!

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Hannah Twietmeyer
Hannah is a writer and content creator based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a passion for all things food, health, community and lifestyle. She is a journalism graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a previous dining and drink contributor for Madison Magazine.