home bar in cabinet
In: Home Improvement, Home Trends

While our bar-hopping days are over, we still appreciate having a drink with friends. And even though cocktail mingling isn’t happening in person at the moment (in the middle of a pandemic), that won’t stop us from dreaming of a home bar for hosting. After all, we need a way to stay entertained while staying at home.

We’ve built several home bars for clients and anyone can create a bar in their home—no matter the space or style. From turning a small surface area into your bar set-up, to building an adult hang-out in the basement, we’ve pulled together some inspirational ideas below to help you make it happen!

Since not everyone has the extra space to build a bar, we’ll start small and then go big with the built-in home bar of our dreams!

Freestanding Bar Cabinets

bar cabinet for living room
Source: Boro Star Bar Cabinet from Anthropologie

Bar cabinets seem to have taken the spotlight from bar carts—probably because they offer more (hidden) storage and require less dusting. Bar carts are still rolling around, but cabinets have the benefit of fitting into small spaces while offering serious storage inside. We’re loving the good looks of statement-making investment pieces like the one shown above. A vintage bar cabinet would be a fantastic choice too.

bar cabinet with lots of storage
Source: Marin Bar Cabinet from Crate & Barrel

If you’re into organizing like we are, this type of bar cabinet might be more your speed. Indeed this provides some good insight as to what a built-in could do for your home bar set-up as well.

Dry Bars

Does a “dry bar” mean no alcohol? Well, it could. The term usually refers to no running water, which makes it ultra-easy to incorporate into almost any area of your home. Let’s take a tour.

Bar By the Kitchen

Coquitlam custom beverage centre
Source: Coquitlam Rustic Modern Kitchen

In both of these projects we created dry bars on a small wall close to the kitchen, eliminating the need to install a sink. By using the same cabinetry and countertops, we keep the look cohesive with the kitchen design. In the West Vancouver project below, the bar is positioned next to the deck to suit the family’s indoor-outdoor living and entertaining style.

West Van remodel deck entry and dry bar
Source: NOVERO Homes – Family room in West Vancouver Coastal Remodel

Home Bar Wall

DIY dry bar
Source: Shelfology

Find a wall, make a bar. It’s not quite as simple as that but you get our drift: You don’t need a big area or design budget to create a welcoming bar space. We love how this bar does double-duty for coffee and alcohol.

hidden dry bar in living room
Source: Arch Daily – Malvern House

This dry bar is hidden behind a sliding door. When the door opens and the mirror is lit up, it’s clearly time to get the party started.

Creative Space Home Bar

dry bar in former closet
Source: Home Beautiful

Get creative and find an under-utilized space in your home. Who needs a utility closet when you could have a sparkling home bar instead? Our case rests in the closet above. Or see the bar below, which was an old narrow stairwell in a previous life.

dry bar in former staircase
Source: Apartment Therapy – Meredith Perdue

 

hidden dry bar behind door
Source: Studio DB – Park Avenue Apartment

Built-In Kitchen Bar

kitchen dry bar with doors
Source: Emily Henderson – Mountain House

The design-savvy Emily Henderson carved out a narrow dry bar between her pantry and fridge. On display are “…pretty bar tools, pretty bottles and all the glassware I need for ‘happy hour.’” There’s an outlet for a blender, and a “super sexy dimmer switch” for mood lighting while making dinner for the family. Bonus: Close the doors to hide any Moscow Mule-making mess.

Kitchen Wine Bar

kitchen renovation with wine bar
Source: NOVERO Homes – Silverthorne renovation

These NOVERO clients designated a corner in their kitchen remodel for wine: It includes easy-to-grab wine storage with glasses and decanters above.

Dining Room Bar

dry bar in open concept home
Source: Raili Ca Design – California Compound

Instead of finding the perfect sideboard for your dining room, consider building a ‘buffet bar’ combining drawers, cupboards, beverage fridge, and lots of shelf space. In the image above, cement handcrafted Moroccan tiles create a fun focal point for the open-concept space.

dry bar buffet
Source: The Home Bunch

Wet Bar

This type of home bar makes entertaining easier by adding running water into the mix. There’s often a longer galley-style countertop, small sink, and often other amenities besides a beverage cooler. That said, a wet bar doesn’t have to be large and elaborate—we’ve seen some gems tucked into smaller spots.

Kitchen Feature Wall Bar

wet bar in kitchen
Source: LOI Design Studio – Railway Drive project

This is a particularly large wet bar (the photo only shows half!). Sign us up for the 18” dishwasher to wash all those wine glasses that we go through at book club meetings.

kitchen wet bar
Source: Britt Design Studio

Butler Pantry Bar

butler pantry with wet bar
Source: NOVERO Homes – Hampton’s Custom Dream Home

If you have room for a butler’s pantry, it’s a great place to build a home bar. This beautiful wet bar built for our Coquitlam clients delivers a touch of traditional glamour with gilded accents, glass door muntins, and marble hexagon mosaic tiles. It’s tucked between the kitchen and dining room, the perfect place to store and pour drinks in style.

butler pantry wet bar
Source: Kate Marker Interiors – Sweet Birch project

Living or Family Room Bar

wet bar in living room
Source: Studio McGee – Rye NY Project

Next stop, the most obvious place for kicking back with cocktails: lounging areas. Instead of that bar cabinet or a floor-to-ceiling bookcase (you bought an E-Reader to cut back on books anyway), why not build a much more practical wet bar on one of the walls?

Rec Room, Loft, and Other Bonus Bar Spaces

wet bar in media room
Source: Emily Henderson – Media Room in Portland House

You have dreams of clearing out your basement and doing something more gratifying with that space. How about an ultra-comfortable entertainment room featuring a full-scale wet bar?  If you’re not sold on the wet bar concept yet, here are some of the finer points:

  • thirst-quenching wine/beverage fridge with side-by-side temperature control compartments
  • built-in ice maker
  • sink and faucet with filtered water
  • easy-to-clean surfaces for drink and snack prep
  • dishwasher

No going back and forth to the kitchen for more ice, to wash limes, or put dirty glasses away.

loft wet bar
Source: Loft by Standard Studio via Dwell Magazine

And if we could add a lavishly large wet bar to our home? It just might be something lively like the ones below. Why not have a gathering spot where everyone can socialize along the bar with loads of storage for our collections of wine and small batch gins. Maybe a tap for craft beer (ask us this question again in the summer). If you love to entertain at home like we do, it would be a worthwhile investment.

at home bar in marble
Source: Dodson Interiors – Wilding project
large home bar in basement
Source: Collins Interiors

For more home bar ideas – both dry and wet – hop over to our “Bars & Beverage Centres” Pinterest board. If you have an idea for building a home bar, please contact us. We welcome all sizes of home update projects.