The home bar
Posted Wednesday, March 21 2012 at 16:00
- Imagine a space dedicated to your relaxation and entertainment of friends and family, where you do not have to face the nightmare of city traffic afterwards... And no, you do not have to be a tippler to have one
At the end of a long, hard day at work, nothing beats winding down in the comfort of your home; a glass of your favourite drink (alcoholic or not) and suddenly life does not seem so bad.
And the beauty is that once you wind down, you do not have to gather energy to fight the war that is traffic on our roads since you are already at your final destination. Sounds like bliss? Well, that is where your home bar comes in.
Imagine a space specifically dedicated to your “down time” and to entertaining your friends. You may not be sold on the idea because it sounds like something your lounge or living room already does (and at no extra cost no less), but I assure you that a home bar is way swankier than your living room, and if you entertain regularly, your guests will definitely be appreciative.
Home bars range from mini bars that are quaint but still very effective, to full size built-in bars that would put the fanciest bar in town to shame; what you decide will depend on your space, budget and, of course, personal taste.
The mini bar
If you are short on space, for example, a mini bar is the obvious choice. This could be in the form of a cabinet or console with enough storage for glasses, drinks, and bar tools. If you can fit in a mini fridge, even better. Setting the bar in a wall by creating a niche that your cabinetry, counter top, and fridge can sit in is another great way to have a mini bar that will not eat up space.
To avoid feeling as though your mini bar is just a cabinet or a niche in the wall, paint the wall in that area a contrasting colour from the rest of your walls to create an accent wall, then set two lounge chairs or a small couch beside it and let it be a space in its own right. Have your mini bar within easy access of your kitchen to make preparing drinks such as cocktails and cleaning up much easier.
If you have a kitchen island that is rarely in use, you can repurpose it into a mini bar — hang pendant lights (three is a good number) over the island to create the right ambience.
And if the island sits against a wall, install overhead cabinets or shelves to display glasses and your choice drinks. Place a few bar stools on one end and you are good to go. This kind of setting is especially great because everything — from appliances to a sink — is within reach.
Going all out
If you have a lot of space and a big budget to work with, then by all means go all out. Before anything else, think about the kind of style you want to go with (rustic, contemporary, or themed, like a sports bar).
If your bar is adjacent to other spaces, make sure you consider the overall style of the room and let this inform your choice of materials and furniture. If you also do not want it constantly in view, consider installing sliding glass pocket doors to hide it when it is not in use.
Setting your bar in a corner is a great way to maximise on space and will give you the option of a curved or L-shaped bar, both of which are more interactive designs than the traditional straight bar.
Lighting is what will create the right ambience for your home bar, so make sure you do it right. Install down lighters for general lighting and under your shelving to wash light over your bottle and glass display. Hang pendant lighting over your counter and wall sconces for ambient lighting.
If your style of choice is futuristic or contemporary, do not be afraid to install coloured LED lights; a bold choice for a home but definitely worth it. If you are going to have a pool table (I said go all out, did I not?) hang a pendant light right over the table and install some recessed lighting around the pool table area to create the right atmosphere.
Tools and accessories
If you are going to have a home bar, make sure you have all the right bar tools and accessories for your new pride and joy; serving guests in plastic cups from your new swanky bar area that you have not stopped talking about is not going to fly.
Invest in a proper glass collection (a fully stocked professional bar can have at least 14 different glass types). The point is not to declare bankruptcy after you are done creating the bar of your dreams, all I am saying is that you should not serve everything in juice glass.