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DRINKS ON THE HOUSE:
BARS AND WET BARS

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   by Jennifer Jones

The decision to add a bar to your home can provide infinite entertainment possibilities. Bars are a wonderful place to make a statement and have some creativity with your furnishings and decor. It not only increases the enjoyment of gatherings, but also boosts the value of a home. Designed specifically to fit the area, a home bar is typically found in finished basements, but can be found in practically any part of the house.

A wet bar is defined as a small bar or counter that includes a sink with running water and is used for mixing alcoholic drinks. Water lines and a drain system will be required for a successful and well functioning wet bar. It often includes an indented area for a small refrigerator, counter space with a sink and storage areas. More extensively designed home bars are paired with lovely cabinetry, wine racks and glass storage devices.

beach decor freestanding wet bar

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The first item to consider for your bar is the amount of available space. Bars come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from the freestanding portable minibar to the deluxe built-in custom basement bar. There are several options to consider, including L-shaped, horseshoe or rectangular bar designs. The average home bar is 42 inches high and 24 inches deep. The homeowner can customize the bar’s size according to their preferences and the area. Since most barstools are 30 inches tall, the bar should not be much lower than 42 inches to allow for comfortable seating. Single-wall wet bars are an excellent way to put walls with great views to work, but often have limited storage. Floor-to-ceiling wet bars provide a more permanent appeal and fits in with the interior. Pass-through wet bars allow for chatting with guests while preparing drinks.

 

As bars become growingly more popular in most new homes today, they are available in a variety styles and finishes. The material options will depend on the showcasing of the wet bar. For a blended feel with the rest of the room, try to keep the cabinetry the same throughout. A different texture or finish to the backsplash will cause the bar to be more defined and distinguished. Most wet bars are made from wood or stainless steel. As spills may occur on a regular basis, a wooden wet bar may be laminated to provide for easy cleaning. Bars can be offered in cherry, mahogany, oak, ebony and dark walnut finishes.

fully stocked wet bar

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Many homeowners install a refrigerator in the wet bar arrangement. This offers the convenience of chilling drink items in the same area, which keeps from running back and forth to the kitchen for cold items. Depending on what type of entertaining the homeowner is planning, refrigeration needs are incredibly handy in a home bar. The type of refrigeration incorporated into the bar will be based on the amount of space, money and types of drinks that need to be stored. Compact refrigerators and beverage centers are always great alternatives to a full-size refrigerator. They come in a variety of sizes and often can fit in the cabinet space below the bar. A draft beer system at home can save valuable time and money, so it is a wise option for any beer drinker to consider. Serving beer on tap will require a kegerator or refrigerator to keep the keg cold. Wine drinkers may want to install a separate wine refrigeration unit for keeping their favorite bottles at the optimum temperature. A built-in ice machine can save time and the hassle of refilling ice buckets. Under-the-counter icemakers are can be small, portable and some of them do not even require a drain line.

angled wet bar with seating for five people 

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Selecting the perfect bar stools is essential to enhance you customized bar. Wooden bar stools are a great way to go for a traditional pub feel. Although they can be slightly expensive, wooden stools are durable and often totally customizable. The homeowner can choose the type of wood, stain, color and cushion. If the bar has a more contemporary style, metal stools would be an appropriate decision for a sleek feel. Popular metal bar stools are available in a variety of colors and come in backless, halfbacks or full backs designs.

cheerful wet bar with full size refrigerator

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Storage space is essential in designing the perfect wet bar. Many bars have area beneath the bar for items such as bottles, drink mixes, glassware, stirrers, and other necessities. Additional cabinetry, wine racks and hanging glass holders increase the amount of storage space and provide a beautiful enhancement to the bar. A well-equipped bar often includes a variety of glasses, including martini, rocks, highball, shot and wine glasses. Some important accessories for the bar are measuring jiggers, long cocktail spoons, a paring knife, peeler, cutting board, corkscrew, bottle opener and a juice squeezer. A standard shaker with a metal bottom and lid with a strainer comes in incredibly handy. A bartending handbook is essential for creating a variety of different beverages and mixes. Cocktail napkins, toothpicks and swizzle sticks are useful items to enhance the guest’s entertaining experience.

classy wet bar with billiard table nearby

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Once the bar is installed, the homeowner can begin stocking their new addition with bottles and accessories. A nine-bottle bar should meet all the cocktail needs, providing the ingredients to make hundreds of recipes. It includes bourbon, Cointreau or triple sec, gin, rum, scotch, tequila, dry vermouth, sweet vermouth and vodka. Red and white wine, as well as light and dark beer, are good to have available for all guest’s tastes. Some popular mixers to have on hand for the alcohol are cola, ginger ale, club soda, sparkling water, tonic water, cranberry juice, orange juice, angostura bitters, iced tea and grenadine. Green olives, lemons, limes, salt and cherries all make excellent garnishes.

contemporary wet bar

 

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Be sure to add the right finishing touches to set your bar apart. Features like bar signs and novelty items can really enhance your bar atmosphere. It is important to consider television placement in the bar setup. Be sure to position or mount the television so as many people as possible can have a clear and comfortable view. Other electrical appliances, such as blenders and mixers, can come in handy and enhance the entertaining possibilities.

The home bar is an excellent investment and creates a very enjoyable experience. A properly designed bar will definitely be a source of entertainment for the homeowner, family and friends for years to come. Everyone will be spending a lot of time in the new space, so extras that add comfort and good looks are always a wonderful idea.

 

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