How to Make Your Home Bar Inviting and Magical During Quarantine

With many of us still sheltering-in-place, it seems apropos that the home bar is even more relevant and useful than usual. So we thought we would celebrate the glory of the personal home bars of our Facebook community members! We see so many great posts of what people have been creating at home, from the simple (broom closet, anyone?) to the very elaborate. Come with us on a magical journey of inspiration from some very creative and resourceful bar enthusiasts. Bar creativity knows no bounds!

Countertop Bars

A countertop bar is a way to get started when your spirits collection is still growing. If you find an attractive container or lazy Susan to organize your bottles, you can make a beautiful display on your counter without taking up too much room. Of course, you could take up more room and display all of your bottles on your entire counter top! Not sure where you’d do your food prep, though…

Stephen Wicher 
“Just moved into a new house. This is what I have for now, planning on a remodel next year with a wet bar in the works.”

Bar Carts

An easy way to introduce a bar into your home is to pick up or build a cart! They don’t take up much room, and they’re also easy to move. Another bonus: You can find vintage carts with lots of character in antique shops or on resale sites.

Tiger Solis

Michael Smutny

“We have a lot of Art Deco pieces in our house so we chose that bar cart because it seemed vaguely deco. We got it because we’d outgrown our liquor cabinet. Now we’ve also outgrown the cart – haha.”

Quirky & Secret Bars (Check the Closet!)

You don’t have to have a lot of room for your own bar at home; you also don’t have to follow any conventional design standard. The wonderful thing about building your home bar is that it’s yours. Show some personality! Find a funky old piece of furniture or cool sign to use. And if the only place you have room for a bar is your hall closet… so be it!  

Chuck Cardoos

“Nothing fancy, just a converted entry closet. Designing a dining room bar against one wall soon.”

Ben Lawton

“The mischievous cats push off any bottles they can find. But this is the only space we have free right now!”

Brian Johnson

“This is built into a closet of an 1890 Victorian house. Only 24sq ft.”

Abra Johnson

“My husband and I like to have our liquor on display. Labels are art! Because my dad is a distiller and owns a big beautiful copper still, we knew that using copper piping was a perfect choice! It was the first thing we put up on the walk in the living room and we’ve designed everything else around it.”

Bar Cabinets & Shelving

Do you have an old bookshelf you’re looking to repurpose? Or maybe you’ve been excited to build new wall shelves? These are great options for bars! If you don’t have a lot of floor space, wall shelves or a combination of those and a small floor unit can help you build up. When your collection starts to overflow, this is a nice step up from a smaller cart!

Jake Bekiel

“I absolutely love my home bar! Between that and the Craft Cocktail Club, I have never made better drinks. With all the support and new ideas, my cocktail knowledge has grown so much, as well as my collection with all the new ingredients I’m using now. It’s so exciting to make a new cocktail and show everyone and see their take on it. Hands down the best group I have been a part of!”

Rob Novak and Veronica Cierzan  

“We stocked our home bar to ensure we have our ride-or-die bourbons but also varieties of bitters, liquors, and liqueurs for our Midwest classic tastes. Old Fashioneds are a must for us and our friends.”

Dillion Hansen

“We love our home bar because it allows us to try new combinations and make our favorite cocktails, all in the comfort of our own home.”

Cara Cardinal Lardy

“We opt to use our built-in hutch for our home bar vs. using our actual bar downstairs. It’s convenient & we love lighting it up each night at cocktail hour. Some of our vintage decanters are from an uncle’s bartending days back in the 60s.”

Ryan O’Hearn

Jake Howard

“I started curating my home bar a few years back when I accepted a job as a bar manager and really wanted to be able to do the job to the best of my ability. As I worked on creating our first drink menu, I found myself constantly at the liquor store buying supplies to test my cocktails. This is how my collection started. 

My spirit collection eventually grew so large that even between my girlfriend, myself, and hosting as often as we could, we still could not put a dent in it. I felt like it was a shame to have all of these beautiful spirits and not be sharing them, so I created an instagram page @cocktail_cabinet. It allowed me to share recipes and knowledge with as many people as possible, specifically the home bartenders. Having a stocked home bar has allowed me to have a creative outlet, host friends and family, and mix some quality cocktails at the end of a work day.”

Jessica Badeaux

“We designed our home bar to inspire us in creativity and experimentation. All ingredients and tools are easy to find for spur of the moment cocktail creations.”

Full Bars & Build-Outs 

The most elaborate (and, of course, more expensive) option for an at-home bar is to build a full one in your house! This is an impressive, beautiful option if you have the room and budget. Basements, casitas, and entry rooms are all great places to build your dream bar. Just imagine the parties you could host around some of these gorgeous examples…

Michelle Schwartz Kalina

“We were very strategic when building the house. We wanted the bar to be between the kitchen, living room and dining room so that when we held parties it was a focal point. At a formal party, guests could stand around the bar, collect their drinks and mingle. At a more casual party like Super Bowl, guests could sit at the bar and watch the TV.”

Holly Berry Millett

“Aviator-themed. My husband is a retired military pilot! Hence the helmet you see in upper right of pic hanging from glass rack.”

Bill Miller

“I love my home bar ‘cause good cheer is always found here.”

Jeff Girres

“The inspiration was bars in our favorite restaurants. Presentation of the bottles was always cool in the restaurants and bars we have visited. That is the most important aspect of our bar and our favorite thing. Booze storage and ease of making drinks make this our favorite part of our house.”

Joe Kassis

“We are truly enjoying our home bar even more now since we are home on lockdown. But really, we get to display our growing collection of whiskey. The bar fits our personalities and creates a great atmosphere with surround sound too.”

Mike Kaz 

“It all started with me asking myself: What kind of bar do I want to sit at, in my own home, and enjoy an afternoon libation solo or with company? 

Let your own character come through if you do decide to build a bar from scratch. BUT have a PLAN & BUDGET. I can’t stress that one enough. Also talk to your significant other about the amount of time it may take you away from giving them the attention they deserve.”

Jeff Campbell

“Originally, the space that is taken up by the wet bar was supposed to be part of the wine cellar. As we went through the remodeling process, it became clear that we couldn’t close up that corner of the structure; otherwise we’d ruin part of the view. I wanted a wet bar and we didn’t need an 800-1000 bottle wine cellar. It turned out perfect and we still maintained a 300 bottle cellar in the plan. It fits the space, is elegant and provides everything at my fingertips except a fridge, which is three steps away in the kitchen. I mix a cocktail nearly every day and I love being at the bar tinkering with a recipe or developing my own. When we have a dinner party, I post up at the bar and mix drinks and keep everyone entertained and out of the kitchen so my wife has room to make her culinary magic happen.”

Chris Kouri

These are just some of the amazing bars that caught our eye in our Facebook group. What does your home bar look like? Are you more of a countertop novice or a full built-out bar connoisseur? We would love to see what you’ve come up with in your own home, so make sure to join our group and share your personal bar style! After all, we’ll never say no to more inspiration!

Julia Tunstall

Julia Tunstall is the co-founder of A Bar Above and Chief Cocktail Taster. She's in charge of keeping things running smoothly around here, but you'll also find her stopping by on the Mixology Talk Podcast or hanging around the Craft Cocktail Club.