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Oct 20, 2014

Shaken & Stirred: Avoiding The Anxieties Of Home Bar Shopping

Posted: Jan 07, 2013

Many homeowners that intend on assembling a home bar often overlook the size of the project they are undertaking.  A fully functional bar is a conglomeration of many working parts, and homeowners may or may not have the experience necessary to know exactly what to shop for.  Let’s take a look at each different part of the bar, and examine some of the items needed for the bar to function at full capacity.

The Bar & Stools:  The bar itself is obviously first and foremost.  Though there are a number of portable bars intended for catering or banquet operations, and they can be a perfect fit depending on placement inside the home, most homeowners will have a bar fashioned by a contractor.  Some homeowners will also opt to look for a refinished or antique bar to place in their home.  After a bar (or design) is chosen, stools should then be purchased.  It is important that the bar stools you purchase for your bar sit at the proper height for “patrons”.

Under / Back Bar Accessories:  There are a wide range of larger accessories that a bar (even a home bar) require to be functional.

  • Bar Sinks – Every functioning bar needs a sink.  Glasses pile up, some drinks don’t get finished, and occasionally things spill, so it is crucial to have a working bar sink behind your home bar.  Having water and a drain will making cleaning up significantly easier.
  • Ice Bins – No one will want to drink lukewarm cocktails, and should your home bar have a soda fountain, it will most likely have a cold plate in need of icing.  Ice bins have their place behind a home bar for these reasons.  They will insulate ice so your cocktails and your soda remain cold, and save you clean up time, as most ice bins have built-in drains to dispose of excess water.
  • Speed Rails & Liquor Racks – Bottle storage is key behind a bar because space is of utmost importance.  It is standard to have speed rails below the bar to store well liquor and mixers, while space is reserved for “top shelf” liquor above the bar as a way to entice customers.  Most home bars will usually have some sort of decorative wine rack at eye level as well for the same reason.
  • Refrigeration & Beer Dispensing – Refrigeration is necessary behind the bar.  Things like mixers, bar fruit, and bottled beer need a refrigerated place to be stored, so an undercounter / backbar cooler is a wise investment for your home bar.  Additionally, a beer dispensing cooler can add that can give your guests the luxury of drinking cold draft beer.

Smallwares:  Bars, even home bars, rely on a plethora of smallwares to accomplish standard tasks.  Here are some of the most important / common smallwares you will find at work in most home bars.

  • Cocktail Equipment – Shakers, jiggers, stirrers, cocktail strainers, and liquor pourers will all be needed for the home bartender mixing up cocktails.  Additional accessories such as zesters, muddlers, or even more common items like ice scoops may be perquisite for anyone intending on mixing drinks behind their home bar.
  • Wine Accessories – A full wine kit is standard behind the home bar.  A wine kit (which usually includes a felt ring, corkscrew, stopper, foil cutter, etc.) is often an elegant way to display your wine tools, however more than one wine stopper will most likely be necessary.
  • Bar Fruit Accessories – Items such as citrus fruit and olives are commonplace when making cocktails, so it is important to have the right accessories if you plan on having some at your home bar.  Paring knives, a small cutting board, a zester (optional), bar picks (for olives or cherries), and storage space for the fruit (such as a bar condiment dispenser) will be necessary to keep fruit fresh and fruit flies away.
  • Beer Accessories – Bottle openers are a must behind the home bar, but luckily beer service doesn’t require too many other smallwares.  For those that do opt for a beer dispensing cooler behind their home bar, some caps for the draft line should be purchased to help keep the lines clean and to catch and extra drops that might otherwise end up on your bar.
  • Glassware – What would a bar be without glasses to drink from?  It is best to have a small variety behind your home bar to meet the needs of your patrons.  Rocks glasses, wine glasses, hi-ball glasses, and beer glasses should have their place behind your home bar, and some folks even store their beer glasses in a chiller or refrigerator for frosty pours every time.


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