Whether it be for a drink, for a game of darts, to watch some sport, or to simply have some time out with friends, it’s a bar one heads for. If you love concocting new drinks for friends and entertaining in your home, then creating a home bar should be next on your to-do list.
Although some of the bars about town are extravagant and space-consuming, you can create a home bar almost anywhere in your house with a bit of creativity based on your own personal style. The first thing you’ll want to decide is where to build it. Common placements include kitchens and dining rooms, although living rooms and basements are also popular, as people also entertain guests in those areas. Keep in mind that if you want your bar to have appliances such as a refrigerator, wine cooler or sink, then you’ll need water and electricity set up in that area as well.
Here are some home bar ideas to help you get started:
Create Storage: Using built-in cabinets or large furniture can make your bar look more distinguished and showcase your liquor, drinkware and other bar accessories. Built-in cabinets are the most expensive option, but they also give your bar the most stately, permanent look. If built-in is too big a task, using a buffet table, cabinet or bookshelf is another way to incorporate storage in your bar and feature fun pieces of furniture.
Buy a Freestanding Bar: If you have the space, a ready-made unit is the easiest way to set up a bar in your home. These are available online as well as at furniture stores, and are typically constructed of either wood or composite wood. Things to consider when buying a freestanding bar include the size of your space, the style of the bar and whether you would like it to have a water hookup.
Add an Island: Give yourself more counter space to shake and stir with a built-in island, which can serve several purposes. Islands provide ample space for preparing and serving drinks or hors d’oeuvres at a party. With the addition of barstools, guests can sit at the bar and socialize. Upgrade to a wet bar by adding a sink, which will help you clean glasses quickly and serve drinks faster. This can get costly if you don’t have a water line running nearby; you’ll also need to install the sink.
Make Room for Guests: Seating is key to having guests linger in your bar area, whether with traditional barstools or comfortable lounge seating. You want to have room for your guests to socialize comfortably. This can be as simple as adding a few vintage chairs near the bar or rearranging your space so that chairs, couches and other seating complement the bar.
Think About Appliances: If you’re going to be playing bartender, you’ll need some ice and a place to keep your beverages cold. Small refrigerators can be placed within the lower cabinetry of your bar and they come in a wide variety of styles and prices. A wine cooler is a perfect addition to a wine aficionado’s bar as well.
Get a Bar Car: Not ready for a full-on renovation? A bar cart is an easy and inexpensive way to create a bar area and showcase specialty liquors, and it can be easily moved to different areas around the house to serve different purposes (or parties). While there are plenty of options available online, you could also check out vintage shops, estate sales and thrift stores for a whimsical, one-of-a-kind piece.
Upgrade Your Drinkware: Once you’ve set up your bar, complement it with great serve ware, such as shakers, cocktail napkins and a variety of glasses for all types of beverages. You can spend as much or as little money as you’d like doing this; go for styles ranging from matching cut-glass pieces to quirky antiques and flea-market finds. Make sure to stock up your beverage selection too.
For the gentleman who enjoys entertaining, a properly stocked bar is a must. A well-mixed drink can help schmooze a boss, romance a date, and impress a friend.Starting a home bar can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t need to be so. Becoming a home mixologist should be fun!
The Home Bar Rules:
Pick alcohol you actually enjoy imbibing: When we first start our own home bar, it is common that we only pick spirits that we think would impress guests. We end up spending a fortune for alcohol that we hardly ever use. While you’ll use your home bar for entertaining, don’t forget that a home bar’s main customer is you. Another reason to recommend picking spirits you enjoy is that the home bar is your chance to share your personal tastes with your friends and neighbors. What you stock in your bar and why you stock it makes for great conversational fodder.
Start small: Another mistake commonly made is trying to create a full working bar right out of the gate. Start small, grow gradually. Stocking a home bar is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s recommended to begin by getting the ingredients needed to make the cocktails you enjoy and learn how to make them well. As you get more comfortable mixing drinks, expand your menu to include other cocktails.
Basic alcohols to start with:
Gin: It’s one of the base spirits for many popular cocktails, so definitely have plenty on hand.
Vodka: An excellent liquor for doing shots with singing babushkas or for mixing into popular cocktails like a Bloody Mary and Cosmopolitans. Vodka doesn’t have a strong color, taste, or aroma, so it makes for a perfect mixing liquor. The differences between vodka brands comes down to what they’re distilled from (potatoes, grains, sugar cane) and their texture in the mouth. Some (like Absolut) have an oily, silky texture while others (like Stolichnaya) have a watery, medicinal finish.
Bourbon: The essential American whiskey for the gentleman who prefers the southern taste. Great for sipping and classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned. Two bourbons that are recommended for the novice mixologist are Jim Beam and Wild Turkey. Very affordable and they taste nice too.
Scotch: Staring out a window while holding a glass of scotch takes you to another world. It soothes the soul and assists in the thinking of deep, manly thoughts. One of the favorite Scotch-based cocktails is the classic Rob Roy. It is suggested that you should have blended and single malt scotch in your home bar.
Tequila: What type of tequila you stock depends on what you plan on using it for. Gold tequila is usually the cheaper type of tequila and is a great pick if you plan on using your tequila for mixed drinks. If you’d like to take your tequila straight up, you’ll want to go with this agave-based drink in its purest form — silver tequila.
Rum: Dark rums are best for punches. Light rums are for mixing cocktails. Start off with a light rum and add a dark rum when you have a big party where you’ll be serving punch.
Other beverages to have on hand: Before hosting a party, add a bottle of wine and some craft beer to your selection. Also pick-up a pack of craft sodas for the guests who are on the wagon for whatever reason. A good host is one who knows his guests’ preferences.