This paper discusses the design and assessment of a Pareto optimal aerostatic flat pad bearing. The design of such bearings is a multi-variable, multi-criteria problem. The criteria used were load capacity, flow rate and stiffness. The design technique does not rely on weighting the criteria at the outset but allows a final design to be selected from the Pareto set. The final design was assessed using an automated experimental rig to obtain load/deflection data, mass flow rates, and film pressure profiles for a range of gap heights. The experimental performance of the Pareto optimal bearing is shown to compare well with the theoretical prediction at lower gap heights.