Nothing helps us unwind after a day’s work like a good drink – and there’s no better time to be your own mixologist at home. Here’s what you need to know when building out your home bar.
Your home bar should be at a good height for both sitting at and preparing drinks.
“You want it to be slightly higher than your kitchen counter, but not too high, because it would make preparation like cutting and stirring very difficult,” says James Li, former bartender at Zouk with 12 years of experience. The ideal height is around 1.1m.
The length depends on how many people you’re planning to seat, and whether the bar is pulling double duty as a dining table. A bar that’s about 2.5m long can seat up to six or eight people comfortably, with enough room for a prep area.
When it comes to storage, think about the optimal workflow when you’re preparing the drinks. Glasses and bar tools should be kept within easy reach of the preparation area, either within built-in storage or in a separate sideboard nearby.
“You’ll need a drawer for things like bottle openers, coasters, straws – tools you’ll need at a moment’s notice,” says James.
As for liquor bottles, an overhead rack is a great way to make a visual statement and save space at the same time. Ensure that the rack is installed with enough headroom – James recommends a height of 1.8 to 1.85m.
“It should also be load-bearing, because each bottle of liquor weighs about 2kg on average when full,” he says. If you have a large collection, the overhead rack should be able to withstand about 500kg of weight.
Apart from the tools and bottles, your refrigerator should also be close at hand. This makes getting ice and chilled mixers much easier. A sink built into the bar itself would be ideal, but may involve major plumbing – check with your designer or contractor if this is feasible.
“You’ll also need a wet preparation area,” says James. This area, designated for chopping up fruits and pouring in the different liquids, should be waterproofed and ideally near the sink. After that, you can move the mixing glass or shaker to the dry prep area for mixing up and adding the garnishes.
Tip: Quartz is the recommended material for your bar top. Porous stone, like natural marble, may absorb wine stains and make them harder to clean.