What Are the Different Types of Kitchen Breakfast Bars?

Dan Cavallari

Kitchen breakfast bars are locations within a kitchen designed for use as a place to eat a meal or sit for casual conversation. They can be built-in or standalone units, and very often they are accompanied by one or more stools. Other versions of kitchen breakfast bars are used less for casual sitting and more for storage in the kitchen or use as a prep station. If the units are freestanding, they are sometimes known as kitchen islands or kitchen stations. The bars can vary in size and function considerably; some feature drawers or cabinets, while others are simpler designs with tabletops and legs only.

A continental breakfast.
A continental breakfast.

Standalone kitchen breakfast bars are sometimes mounted on wheels or casters to further enhance their usability. The unit can be moved easily from one location to another so it can be used for a variety of purposes; in one position, for example, kitchen breakfast bars can be used as prep stations, and when moved to another position out of the way, they can be used for storage or for eating quick meals. The bars usually have wooden tabletops, though other materials can be used as well. The cabinets and drawers are also usually made of wood, though some designs employ the use of metal or plastic.

Kitchen breakfast bars are designed for use as a place to eat a meal.
Kitchen breakfast bars are designed for use as a place to eat a meal.

Additional features on the kitchen breakfast bars can make them even more versatile. A drop leaf can be included on the bars so space for eating a meal can be increased. When the leaf is propped up, the tabletop will be wider; when it is dropped down, the bar will have a thinner profile, which will make storage against a wall much easier. If increased preparation space is needed, the unit can be moved and the leaf propped up.

If the kitchen breakfast bars are going to be used primarily for prep work, a butcher block top is probably best. This sturdy and durable wood will be suitable for cutting, chopping, or otherwise prepping food, and it is less likely to warp or bend when moisture inevitably seeps into it. If a butcher block top is used, the base will need to be quite sturdy, as the top can be very heavy. Cabinet-style bases are common when a butcher block is used because this design is sturdy and convenient for storing pots, pans, and other kitchen tools. Often a dowel is affixed to the end of the bar so towels can be stored conveniently nearby.

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