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The Essential Basics Of Setting Up A Home Bar

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With the festive season approaching, it must be a great idea to have a home bar. It is great to enjoy a nice drink on your own or to share it with the family or friends. Read on to learn how to arrange a modern home bar. 

In every season, but especially around Christmas time, it is great to have a nice home bar stacked with drinks to offer your guests. You have probably seen lovely photos of such home bars but you are at loss where to put one in your place. Read the article to learn how to arrange the drinks cabinet at home.

A Short History of Bars

Before the bar there had been inns and taverns. In the Middle Ages, these places were normally designated for travelers who needed a bed and breakfast. However, already in the 16th c. and later they began to be frequented by troubled souls and predators on the lookout for money. The English painter, William Hogarth, created a series called The Rake's Progress in which he depicted the usual fate of those consumed by passion for alcohol.

Later, saloons, pubs, and clubs were added to inns and taverns, and so the entire bar industry was born. The word "bar" means the wooden or metal barrier along the length of the counter that still exists in some old-fashioned establishments. Today, both a crooked pub and a state-of-the-art bar attract visitors by their rich history and culture. Neither is a place to get drunk, but rather to spend a good time enjoying a nice beverage.

Having a drink at home has been a popular pastime for ages, but it was not until the 19th c. that people began to take organizing their home bars seriously. In part, the interest in setting up a bar at home was spurred by the publication of Bartender's Guide by Jerry Thomas in 1862. The passion for home cocktails was revived by the Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock (1930). The books instigated a deep interest in mixology on both sides of the Atlantic and paved the road to learning to mix drinks at home.


How to Set a Home Bar from Zero

So, where do you start when you want to create a home bar? Read on for ideas and advice!


A wet bar

A wet bar is usually located in the kitchen. It is a great solution for homes where the kitchen area is connected to the dining room. There are endless ways to style your wet bar, while a wine rack may be placed in a candid corner of the dining room.


  • you can wipe the counter and wash the utensils immediately;
  • a trash bin usually remains hidden from view;
  • all drinks stay in the kitchen, and there is no limit to the bottles.


  • the dining room is probably not the most comfortable place for drinking;
  • if you have no dining room, you will have to move between the kitchen and the living room, which may not be convenient;
  • even if you mix drinks in the kitchen, you will have to bring them to another room and then take the empty glasses back. Ugh, too much legwork!


A bar cart

This is by far the most fashionable and best-known piece of furniture used to hold a home bar. It is endlessly elegant and always attracts attention and admiration. The bar cart may be placed in a living room or a study.


  • chic and sophisticated;
  • has all the essentials at hand;
  • usually has wheels, so it can be taken to any place in the house.


  • needs to be dusted frequently;
  • you still have to use additional storage because a cluttered bar cart is a no-no;
  • not sturdy enough;
  • a trash bin definitely spoils the picture.


A sideboard

A modern sideboard is a small, sturdy, and fashionable cabinet that can be used for purposes other than a bar. Yet if you do decide to make it a home bar, it will be a fully functional piece of furniture.


  • strong and stylish, it can fit even a very small room;
  • the place atop can host drinks, and within the sideboard you can put utensils, napkins, glassware, etc.;
  • can be used as a cabinet if you decide you no longer need a bar.


  • none, except the need to find the right sideboard that fits your house style.


Essential Bar Tools

In addition to furniture, every home bar will need a few bar tools.


A bar tray

A fairly deep bar tray is a must for a sideboard. It visually differentiates the bar area and helps to keep it neat.


Cocktail Gadgets

By these we mean soda siphons for making soda water and ginger beer and vacuum sealers for making oleo-saccharum to use in punch.



Experts stress that you do not need to go on a shopping spree to arrange your home bar. First and foremost, you need a few high and low glasses and flutes. If you know that you will be making the Daiquiri, buy some coupe glasses.


Essential Beverages and Garnishes

Speaking of beverages, bitters are a must in every bar. These can be rhubarb bitter or coffee bitter. These high-proof alcohols contain herbs, roots, and spices and are used as a botanical additive to balance out the cocktail's taste and to nuance it. Among the best-known bitters are Aperol, Campari, Becherovka, Jagermeister, and Riga Black Balsam.

As for garnishes, herbs like basil, mint, sage, and thyme are essential in many cocktails. Sugar cubes, lemons, and limes are a must for making a drink, too. Additionally, you might also want to have olives, salt and pepper, and other garnishes.


Essentials Drinks and Mixers

The following alcoholic beverages and mixers should always be at hand in your home bar:

  • gin;
  • Bourbon whiskey;
  • Scotch whisky;
  • tequila;
  • white rum;
  • dark rum;
  • soda water;
  • ginger beer;
  • fresh juice.



Having a stylish and well-stocked home bar is great, especially nowadays when visiting a bar in the city center may be problematic. Little stops you, however, from entertaining your friends and enjoying a few lovely cocktails in the comfort of your home. So, browse the web for a modern sideboard or bar cart, study the recipes, and plan your upcoming home party!







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