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Just In Time For St. Patrick's Day: New ADA Bar Accessibility Requirements Went Into Effect Thursday

March 16 2012

What do you think of when you think about St. Patrick’s Day? Corn Beef, Cabbage, Green Beer, John Wayne’s greatest movie “The Quiet Man”, new governmental regulations for bars and restaurants? WHAT!?!

Just in time for one of the busiest days of the year for bars and restaurants, new Americans with Disabilities Act requirements went into effect Thursday. The new requirements require bar countertops to have an accessible section available for disabled patrons. If done before Thursday, restaurants were able to substitute accessible tables instead of lowering a section of the bar.

The substitute tables would have had to meet specific criteria and be located in the same area as the bar. The substitute tables must have a top height of 28 inches to 34 inches and knee space 27 inches high by 30 inches wide and 19 inches deep. A table with a pedestal will not meet these requirements.

If you did not have the substitute table before Thursday, a section of the bar must be lowered to comply with the ADA.

The requirements for foodservice counters and bars are:

Where food or drink is served at counters exceeding 34 inches (865mm) in height for consumption by customers seated on stools or standing at the counter, a portion of the main counter, which is 60 inches (1525 mm) in length minimum, shall be provided in compliance with 34 inches maximum counter height and 19 inches clear depth, or service shall be available at accessible tables within the same area.

Bars and restaurants should review their bar areas immediately to make sure they had a substitute table by Thursday. Otherwise, they will need to work quickly to ensure a lowered bar area exists before the first chorus of Galloway Bay gets sung tomorrow.