Understanding the Differences Between Counter Height, Bar Height, and Café Height

Blog / May 25, 2021

Understanding the Differences Between Counter Height, Bar Height, and Café Height

Have you ever sat in a stool and found yourself sitting uncomfortably close to the table? How about sitting awkwardly far below the table’s surface that you can’t even rest your arms properly? These are just some issues that customers face when an establishment uses incorrect tables and stools. Matching your table and stool height is vital to making your guests feel natural and have space to move their legs and elbows.

Oftentimes people get confused about the colloquial names for table and stool heights. How high is a counter height table exactly? Is it any different from a table that’s set at a bar height? In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the differences between counter height, bar height, and café height so that you can pick the right table and stools accordingly.

Counter height tables and stools

Table and chair heights vary from manufacturer to manufacturer regardless of their supposed heights. Counter height tables generally have a surface height of around 86cm to 99cm and are generally meant to correspond with the height of an average reception counter. You’ll often see counter height tables being used as extra prep surfaces in kitchens or as an informal setting where people can gather around and socialise.

If you want to create an atmosphere that encourages social interaction, then using a counter height table is highly recommended. The surface height of these tables creates a less distinct height difference for those who are sitting or standing, thus making it easier for people to interact with one another.

 The correct stool height for a counter height table is around 61cm to 73cm. This allows the customer to rest their elbows comfortably and have a slight bend in their knees while seated.

Bar height tables and stools

Like with counter height tables, there is no exact height standard that manufacturers follow. However, most bar height tables usually have a surface height of around 104 cm to 117 cm. Bar height tables are aptly named because they are commonly used in bars and restaurants. These tables are used to encourage casual conversations while enjoying drinks and snacks.

The recommended stool height for bar height tables is around 76cm to 91cm. Anything higher and your customers may find it difficult to sit at the chair and anything below that and they’ll struggle to reach for their beverages at the table.

Café height tables & stools

When it comes to café height tables, there is no clear standard as to how high the surface height should be. Typically, table heights that fit in between counter height and bar height tables are considered café height tables. The most commonly preferred café tables come in at a height of 86cm to 99cm, making them identical to counter height tables with the only difference being that café tables are smaller in comparison.

As such, you want your stools to be at least 61cm to 73cm in height to allow for comfortable seating. You can use a café table that’s lower than 76cm in height as these tables are suited for just casual and relaxing conversations where people can easily put down their coffee. Whatever the case may be, don’t go higher than 91cm or else your customers may start to feel uncomfortable with their lower seats.

Take exact measurements before buying

It’s true that there are no clearly defined heights for a bar height vs a counter height table or stool, but once fully considered, the process of selecting the right height for your new tables or stools doesn’t need to be as complicated as it appears on the surface. 

We always recommend our clients stick to specific heights rather than colloquial terms when shopping for any new furniture whether it’s a new table for the break room, a chair for your desk or a group of systems workstations for your team. 

By inviting one of our shopfitters to come into your space, take their own measurements and see your vision for the new furniture you can reduce the risk of miscommunication or other errors.