Opening a bar requires a lot of thought and planning. One thing that some people don’t think about is that they have to ensure their establishment is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Failing to comply can lead to legal issues.
The ADA forbids discrimination based on disabilities. This has changed the face of bars and nightclubs because they must be accessible to those who are in wheelchairs or using walkers and other mobility devices. Unfortunately, ADA compliance can be a challenge for some bars because you have to try to maximize space.
The front of the house and the back must both comply
Every area of the bar has to comply with the requirements of the ADA. Even if the front of the house is in compliance, you can still face legal issues over the back of the house not complying. For example, even the pass-thru area and bar area must be ADA-compliant. This is a challenge because the standard height of most bar equipment is 37-inches tall, but no counter higher than 34-inches tall is considered ADA compliant.
In the front of the house, you must have at least one seat and at least 5% of seats compliant with ADA regulations at the bar, and the same requirement applies separately to table seating. You must remember to adjust this if you add more seating to your establishment.
If a patron makes a claim that your bar or nightclub isn’t ADA compliant, you need to take swift action. These claims can be very damaging to a business, so working with someone who’s familiar with these laws is critical so you can get everything taken care of as quickly as possible.