What is a Dump Sink Used For? (Explained)

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If you’ve ever wondered what a dump sink is used for, this article is for you.

Bartenders use the dump sink specifically for the disposal of liquid waste inside a bar. This waste can come from a waste drink, broken glass, or from the melted ice remaining in the glass, etc. Bartenders can conveniently dump all of these wastes into the sink and continue to serve.

What is a Dump Sink?

Running and maintaining a bar can be a long grind at times. But first, there are strict requirements you have to fulfill to establish the bar in the first place. One such requirement is a proper dump sink. Dumps sinks and similar structures are crucial for making the bar a safe and hygienic place

As the name suggests, a dump sink is a sink where you throw away or “dump” any liquid waste inside the bar. It has a single, large compartment.

Typically, it is made from stainless steel and has adequate room to store the waste materials. If the sink is too small, the drinks will spill out and may lead to an accident.

You can easily tell which one is the dump sink from the rest if you go to a bar. That is because the dump sink will usually be close to the counter, if not right behind it.

This sink does not have any towel or soap nearby. This way nobody accidentally decides to wash their hands in the dump sink, which is prohibited by law. If you want to wash your hands, you need to use the mandatory hand sink.

What is a Dump Sink Used For?

If you have visited a bar, chances are you know just how chaotic things can get sometimes. Especially when the office closes and people pour in to take a drink and unwind. Naturally, this can lead to plenty of wastes.

Accidents are a common occurrence inside a bar. You get one drink too many and suddenly you are tripping and breaking things left and right. You can easily end up breaking someone else’s drink if you are not careful.

And it does not have to be an accident. Sometimes people do not finish their drinks for various reasons. Sometimes the bartender makes a mistake and gives a customer the wrong drink. So, the drink gets sent back and you usually cannot re-use that beverage. If a customer orders a different cocktail, you need to discard the previous one and start fresh.

Another common sight in a bar is melted ice inside a drinking glass. People like their drinks cold but they will rarely eat the actual ice. Not just from drinks, bartenders also use ice when serving seafood such as clams or oysters. After the customer has finished his meal, that ice melts and you need to throw that water away.

As you can see, there are several ways that waste can form inside a bar. And this is where a conveniently placed dump sink can be so helpful for the people working there. You can just take the waste product and pour it into the sink, usually along with the glass.

This prevents waste from building up inside the bar and reduces the risk of accidents. It also gives the bartenders a place to free up all of the dirty glasses without them stacking up on the counter. And since the sink is so close by, it saves a lot of time. Otherwise, the bartender has to go to the kitchen, pour the waste, then come back to serve another customer.

The usefulness of a dump sink is especially felt during crowded periods. You cannot waste time going back and forth in the kitchen.

Also, keeping the dump sink separate from the other sinks significantly reduces the risk of contamination.

Do You Need a Sink Behind the Bar?

If you ever plan to run a bar of your own, you must give special attention to cleanliness and hygiene. And a big part of the cleanliness revolves around having proper, separate sinks.

Traditionally, you get to see many types of sinks in a bar such as a 3-compartment sink, mop sink, hand sink, dump sink, etc. All of these sinks serve a different purpose and it is best not to exchange their roles. This is done to reduce the risk of contamination and to keep everything properly organized.

For instance, the hand sink is for washing hands and the 3-compartment for cleaning the dishes and glassware. Using one for the other is considered a violation of the health code.

And these sinks are to be located in a place where the bartender can easily reach them. Hence, you will commonly see many of the sinks around the counter or right behind it.

Having this system is very important for an establishment such as a bar. You are serving food and drinks to the customers. So, even a single case of contamination can result in a substantial fine. Repeating this mistake will end up closing down the bar permanently. So, any bar owner has to take these rules and regulations seriously.

Of course, the health guidelines are not going to be the same in every area. So, you need to consult with an official or research all the guidelines yourself for that particular area.

Does a Bar Need a 3 Compartment Sink?

Another major requirement for a bar is a proper, 3 compartment sink. These sinks are specifically used for tasks such as rinsing, scrubbing, and washing glass, plates, and other pieces of tableware.

The health regulations for the bar specifically demand a 3-compartment sink that is only used for cleaning purposes. Alternatives such as a glass washer or a single compartment sink will not suffice. You can have a separate glass or dishwasher in the bar. But this sink is also necessary.

Normally, this sink is mostly used for cleaning glassware. But you can use it to clean the dishes if no other designated equipment is available. You can delegate each compartment to do one particular thing. For example, the first one is for pre-rinsing only, the second is for soaking the dishes, and the third is where to do a final clean-up.

Having a 3-compartment sink in the kitchen really improves the workflow, whether this is a bar or restaurant. The sink has to be made from stainless steel and all the compartments have to be of equal size.

In most cases, this sink resides inside the kitchen as that is where it is needed the most. If the bar is particularly big, it can house multiple 3-compartment sinks.

Do You Need a Separate Sink for Washing Hands in a Bar?

The two sinks we have discussed till now are not for personal hygiene. But when you are serving food to others, you need to have a clean pair of hands while doing so. As such, every bar must have at least one station dedicated to washing hands.

The rulebook says the hand sink needs to be mounted on a wall and separated from the cooking area. If adequate space is unavailable in the establishment, then there has to be a splash guard.

This way the soapy water cannot get into the food or touch any of the utensils.

The hand sink, along with the mop sink, must drain directly to an approved sewage system. This is different from the other types of sinks that have to be indirectly connected to a drain sink first.


Maintaining the proper health code is essential for bars. And having the right number of sinks and applying them properly is a large part of that health code.