How to have a home bar

Staying in is the new going out, right? So a home bar is the new home essential. Slide over bar trolleys (I still love you), but there’s a new kitchen design focus on the block. The home bar has gone bigger and better and is now a highly requested feature in many a kitchen design.

From all-out bars including a mini sink, tap, ice maker, fridges and wine units, to more modest built-in solutions to keep bottles and glassware together, you can really bring the home bar into its own and have the perfect party-ready spot to enjoy nights in with the family.

If you enjoy entertaining, a dedicated bar zone makes an ideal place to decant wine, mix cocktails, and store glassware as it keeps everything close to hand. Adding internal storage at eye-level for glasses, racks for wine, a small sink, drawers below to hold bar accessories, and even a small fridge-freezer to keep beer, so drinks and ice means all you need is in one neat, built-in element.

Where can you have a home bar? Keep it where you like to enjoy drinks, such as near the dining table or in the living area, or if you have a kitchen island where you like to gather, how about a mini bar within it?

Don’t forget to think about how you serve drinks and any extras you may need. If you want a bar sink and tap, you’ll also need plumbing. Remember space for other drinks such as mixers and soft drinks, too, plus any flourishes you plan to include in your favourite cocktails.

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Home bar inspo, walk this way… cheers!

If you’re redesigning your kitchen, include a home bar in the plans from the outset. That way you can specify where it goes as well as the requirements you need, including drawer sizes and number, depth and height of shelves for your favourite glassware and even make sure that any specific drinks bottles can be easily fit – I’m thinking shapely bottles of spirits of magnums which may take up more space.

home bar
This home bar was designed by Day True and sits close to the breakfast bar for easy access. It includes space for drinks and glasses as well as labelled drawers for mixers and cocktail equipment. Photography: Chris Snook. Read the full story here.
Adding space-saving pocket doors means even the most compact of kitchens could have a fully accessible bar area which may be completely concealed within the run of units when it’s closed – I like the sound of that. Leicht by Vogue Kitchens start from £20,000.

If you have a broken-plan kitchen with a dining area, why not create a home bar close by so you can easily access your wine collection at dinner or when you’re entertaining? The latest wine storage units have very nifty settings to give you your favourite tipple at the best temperature. They can condition white, red, rose or sparkling to your exact taste with many offering temperature compartments that can individually controlled.

home bar
The designers at Martin Moore create a dresser for this dining area to match the kitchen cabinetry, so the design of the large room feels cohesive. Photography: Darren Chung.
This hand-painted bar unit from Mark Wilkinson Furniture has mirror backing and integrated lighting, plus Miele wine coolers and a generous display of spirit bottles. Mark Wilkinson Furniture kitchens start from £18,000.

For a freestanding option, a kitchen dresser will work just as well in a living or dining area and can easily be used as a home bar (as well as extra storage for other bits and bobs!). Shop around for a design to suit your space or go for a antique or pre-loved piece of furniture to add a unique character.

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home bar
Read the full story of this kitchen-living-diner in the January 2021 issue of Kitchens Bedrooms & Bathrooms – download here. Photography: Katie Jane Watson.

Create a home bar hub and entertainment centre for the ultimate party space. Allocate space for wine storage, you home bar, TV and sound system in one area and everyone will know where the fun is at. It’s best placed away from the main cooking zone, close to a lounge area. Try to incorporate a mini integrated fridge-freezer to keep mixers and ice to hand, as well as a small sink. This will require wiring and plumbing, so bear that in mind when planning your design.

This design is located next to the dining area and has built-in wine storage within easy reach. Roundhouse kitchens start from £35,000.
home bar
Designers at Simon Taylor Furniture created this 3m-tall bar cabinet in stained ash with anti-fingerprint steel fronts. Made to fit between floor-to-ceiling windows, it has top boxes and three drawers as well as a central cupboard with pocket doors. When opened and folded back, they reveal a fully stocked bar and a wall-mounted slimline TV.

Avid wine collector? Take your home bar up a level with a wine wall to show off your bottles in all their glory. Of course, this takes some planning to ensure you have a) enough space for a large unit, b) there’ll be room for each of your bottles, and c) you have access to power where it will be sited. You may like this near your living or dining area, or you could have a wine wall designed into a run of kitchen cabinetry, depending on the space you have available.

This bespoke wine wall offers temperature-controlled storage and display, with the labels easily visible for make selecting a bottle a breeze. Double-glazed doors and good insulation provide a stable environment with low energy consumption. Prices for a wine wall start from £3000 from Wine Corner.

A bespoke option within your living room storage is a great idea for a small home bar collection. Ask a designer or local carpenter or builder to create a shelving solution to suit your space – an alcove or to the side of a chimneybreast are ideal locations.

home bar
Tall cabinets from Poggenpohl opposite the island are recessed into the wall to reduce their bulk, and include a cooling zone with integrated wine cabinet from Liebherr, while to the other side is a home bar hidden behind pocket doors that slide away when open. Photography: Jamie Manister.

Featured image: Roundhouse

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