Creating a Home Bar: Items Every Home Bar Needs

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There are few feelings as awesome as sitting at the bar with a group of friends, knocking back beers and watching the game on a big screen. Unfortunately, the bar experience isn't perfect. It's loud and often crowded, so the sense of fun and camaraderie is dampened.

On the flipside, entertaining at home is difficult when worrying about wine spills on the carpet or furniture. And constantly leaving conversations to head to the kitchen for a drink from the refrigerator keeps you from enjoying yourself. What's the perfect compromise? How about a home bar? It has been the dream of many people, but exactly what do you need to create the perfect home bar?


Most drinks taste best chilled, from beer to soda and even some wine. All kinds of drink amenities can benefit from a little refrigeration. For a smaller bar, you can get away with a mini fridge hidden underneath to hold a few beers, but more elaborate home bars need either a full-size or a walk-in refrigerator to handle everything. It can also store frosty mugs and microwaveable appetizers, such as poppers, cheese sticks, etc.


A bar isn't a bar without liquor. But what you stock your bar with depends on the kind of bar you want it to be. A sports bar should have a variety of beers for the big game. An elegant bar should have several types of wine and spirits for mixing drinks: a stock of high-quality liquors for shots and some lesser-quality spirits for mixing. The full range of liquor available is strictly up to the bar owner's imagination and preferences.


While a simple bar can get away with just cans or bottles of beer, a full-service bar will need several types of glassware to complement the varied drinks: highball glasses for whiskey and other drinks, mugs and tall boys for beer, margarita glasses for tropical fun, wine glasses for wine and even fine crystal for champagne. The bar will also need cabinetry to hold all the glassware until needed.

Water and Sink Hookup

Glasses get used and will require washing. Also, some people like their drinks watered down, so a sink and water hookup is needed. Smaller bars that are set in the kitchen or dining room can use the kitchen sink, but basement bars may required a little plumbing work, either by you or by a licensed plumber, to extend the water and drainage pipes for a basement sink. The sink itself doesn't need to be anything special, but it should reflect the décor of the bar. For example, a more classic-styled bar should have a complementary antique-looking sink and faucet. The water could also be hooked up to a hose at the bar, so water and drinks be dispensed directly into a drink.


A true bar requires more than just a little booze and some glasses. There should be plenty of electrical outlets to accommodate the many small appliances that make a bar complete. If there are going to be frequent trips to Margaritaville, then a quality industrial blender to crush the ice and stir the mix is in order. A microwave to heat up the appetizers that your friends will be needed for the big game. A can opener for any garnishes and extras such as fruit that can be added to some of the more exotic drinks. A small freezer to hold the ice needed for anything on the rocks. A coffee maker for specialty Irish coffees and other mocha drinks or for the dreaded morning after.

Drink Dispensers

There are few drinks more enjoyable than a draft beer. If there are going to be frequent gatherings and a large refrigerator to accommodate them, then kegs of beer and cola on tap will make the bar complete. Friends and family will stare in awe as their beer is poured directly from a tap. Rum & Coke is only perfect if the Coke is ice cold and fully carbonated. Many companies will provide tap toppers for their kegs, and specialty tops can be purchased. The only downside is that kegs need to be used relatively quickly, or else their contents will go bad.


Neon lights featuring popular beers or signs with your favorite sports teams add to the authentic feel of your bar. A few pictures of dogs playing poker and any other paraphernalia that fits barroom décor help, as well. It doesn't have to be elaborate, but the décor of a bar gives it a feel and atmosphere to separate it from the rest of the basement or other areas of your home. A large-screen television would be great for a sports bar. A pool table and a few poker tables gives a bar that backdoor casino feel.

A home bar is unlike any other addition to a home. It's a place of camaraderie and fun, reflection and interesting conversations. It's a place where people can relax and let the problems of the world float away.

Last Updated: January 20, 2012
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About Brock Cooper Brock Cooper is a freelance writer for 

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