When it comes to buying an ice bin for your Chicago bar, you want one that is easy to use and convenient for your employees. Serving ice to customers shouldn’t be a hassle. A bin that carries ice for bars should allow for quick access.
We offer a full range of commercial ice bins that help bars and restaurants store ice. Here are some of the pros and cons of some of our most popular ice bins.
Undercounter Ice Machines
If you’re looking for an ice bin for your bar or small Chicago pub, an undercounter ice machine is a great option. These setups are excellent for bartenders because the commercial ice bin is attached to the ice-making machine.
Undercounter bar ice machines are an ideal solution for behind the bar setups. These machines provide an unending supply of crystal-clear ice for bartenders. There’s no need to pull additional waitstaff or barbacks to grab ice for the bartender. These machines are also heavily insulated, so ice stays safe and solid throughout the day.
Undercounter ice machines measure below 40 inches, so Chicago business owners can install them underneath a bar or countertop. While small, undercounter units require electricity, water, and drainage to run. If you don’t have the proper power outlet, water line, or drainage system, you may need to call an electrician or plumber to install them.
While convenient, undercounter ice machines sacrifice production for size. If you need more than 500 lbs of ice for your Chicago business, you should consider buying a larger commercial ice maker and bin.
Commercial Ice Bins Modular Ice Machines
Standard modular-style ice machines come ala carte. They require an additional bin or dispenser to store the ice.
While these machines are larger than an undercounter model, they produce ad hold more ice – so they are an excellent option for wait stations and back-of-house. Since these machines are larger, they will have a hard time fitting behind a bar and will not fit underneath a countertop. If a bartender needs additional ice for the well, they will likely need help from additional staff.
Many of the top brands we carry from Hoshizaki and Manitowoc are treated with an antimicrobial agent that repels contamination from bacterial pathogens – keeping your ice supply safe.
If you already have an ice machine but need a commercial ice bin for your Chicago business, make sure it’s compatible with your model. Many large ice machines won’t fit on top of a smaller ice bin. A high-volume ice machine needs a large bin to store the thousands of pounds of ice thee machines produce.
Installing different brand machines and bins together is not advised. Many ice machine brands design their bins to work specifically with their ice machine models. If you own a Manitowoc ice machine and are looking to buy a Hoshizaki ice bin, you’ll need someone to build a custom adapter to make the setup work.
Commercial Bar Ice Wells
Ice wells are commonplace behind most Chicago bars. These setups act as convenient ice bins bartenders who need to get to ice fast. Most wells are short, so they can fit below the bar – away from your customers’ line of sight. Many bar wells come with a host of bells and whistles to make service easier. Bar wells come with space for ice, but also have places to store high-use spirits and ice scoops.
Keep in mind, bar wells don’t accommodate ice machines. They don’t produce their own ice, so bartenders will need to take time to grab ice from the back or ask for additional waitstaff to help. This system can be a real hassle if the bar is far away from your business’s commercial ice machine. Getting ice to the bar can also be difficult if the bar is busy with patrons.
Caring for Ice Bins for Bars and Restaurants
Owning an ice bin is one thing, maintaining it is another. Mold and slime thrive best in dark, damp environments – the type found in ice machines and bins. If you don’t keep up with routine ice machine cleaning, your Chicago business could be in danger of a health violation if an inspector checks on your ice supply. It’s important that your employees clean your ice bin every week or so.
At Automatic Icemakers, we sell the best commercial ice machines for Chicago businesses of all kinds. We also provide ice machine service and cleaning for existing ice machines in Chicago.
If you’re looking for a low-hassle option to owning an ice machine, our revolutionary ice machine lease program comes with the best ice machines on the market. Professional cleaning, maintenance, and ice machine repairs are also included for a low, monthly charge. Looking for the best ice bin for your Chicago bar or restaurant? Check out or Bar Ice Machine Guide to get started. If you need additional assistance, our knowledgeable team of Ice Machine Experts can point you in the right direction. Contact us today!