Popular in the 1970s, wet bars have made a resounding comeback. A well-designed wet bar is great if you love entertaining at home. At a minimum, with a wet bar, you can keep the conversations going while rinsing glasses and mixing drinks – just like a genuine bartender.
A wet bar (as the name suggests) is a countertop bar with a sink. Usually, a wet bar holds liquor bottles, glassware, and various bar tools for mixing drinks. Having a built-in sink means you don’t have to go back and forth between the living room and kitchen for clean-ups or if you need a splash of water – hence the name.
While a wet bar can greatly enhance your home and your ability to entertain, there are some pros and cons to be aware of. Here’s everything you need to know before adding one to your home.
1. What Should a Wet Bar Include?
Wet bars differ greatly in size, shape, and design. They do not need to be elaborate to be a welcome feature in your home, but they all have a few things in common.
A great home wet bar should include the following:
Of course, you need a sink. It wouldn’t be a wet bar without a sink and running water. This means you need to think about plumbing. Naturally, the bar should go where plumbing is easily accessible.
b. Small Appliances
You may also consider adding appliances to your wet bar, such as a mini-fridge or a microwave. A mini-fridge (or even a big, built-in fridge) is a must for storing chilled liquor bottles and ice. With a mini-fridge within reach, you don’t have to run back and forth to the kitchen for supplies while entertaining guests.
While a microwave tends to be more of an option, it can make a great addition to your wet bar, turning it into more of a kitchenette. With a microwave you can warm up food or reheat it, eliminating frequent trips to the kitchen and interruptions to your conversations.
c. Storage Space (Cabinets)
A functional wet bar needs adequate storage space. The wet bar should be big enough to hold all of your barware, wine glasses, tumblers, cutlery, and even wine bottles. Most homeowners prefer under-the-counter storage with custom cabinets and drawers.
However, wall-mounted cabinets and shelves are popular, too, and they can offer added functionality. The number, size, and design of cabinets and shelves for your wet bar will depend on the space. Whether that’s a tiny nook in your basement, currently unused space in the living room, or someplace else, you are well advised to hire a custom cabinet maker to design the storage according to your needs and the available space.
2. Wet Bars vs. Dry Bars
Both wet and dry bars help you entertain in comfort and style. However, a dry bar comes without a sink. That is the technical difference between the two.
Although a dry bar still has all the other accessories and features of a bar. You can store, mix, and serve drinks at a dry bar even though it has no sink or running water. It also features storage space and a place to showcase your wine or liquor collection.
A dry bar is also somewhat portable as there is no need for plumbing. You can use a cart or simply convert a few shelves into a dry bar. Since no sink is required, it also could be smaller than a wet bar, which might be a consideration if you have limited space or don’t entertain frequently.
However, if you entertain regularly and have enough space for it, you’ll probably be happier with a wet bar. With its sink and running water, you can entertain your guests without leaving the counter, rinse barware, and even put drinks of more complexity on the menu.
3. Pros of Wet Bars
Creating a home wet bar is an exciting project – one that comes with many benefits. Here are a few pros you can look forward to when setting up a wet bar in your home.
a. Uninterrupted Fun
Equipped with a sink, mini-fridge, and microwave, the wet bar allows you to entertain with food and drinks. But most importantly, you don’t have to feel cut off from your guests as you clean the dishes, rinse the glasses, or prepare a platter of hors d’oeuvres in the kitchen.
b. Keep Your Drinks Cold
Warm drinks are big party killers. With a wet bar, you don’t have to worry about serving warm beverages. You can keep wines, sodas, and other mixers fresh and cold in your mini-fridge. This means you don’t need to store the liquor or mixers in your main refrigerator.
c. Extend Your Menu
Another benefit of having a wet bar is that it allows you to extend your drinks menu. You can go for more complex drinks, taking the entertainment to a whole new level with garnish and fruits. You also won’t have to run back to your kitchen to get supplies, and you can clean up spills and dishes in general with relative ease.
d. Say Goodbye to an Overcrowded Kitchen
When you invite friends over for drinks, they tend to gather around the kitchen. Without a wet bar, that’s the best place to serve fresh drinks. But it’s not a place to hold a party, especially if you have a small kitchen.
On the other hand, imagine entertaining guests with food and drinks at your wet bar. They won’t have to gravitate towards the kitchen. With no overcrowding in the kitchen area, it remains clean and doesn’t suffer so much wear and tear.
4. Cons of Wet Bars
Although a wet bar can be a great entertainment focal point, it does have downsides. Here are a few drawbacks that you shouldn’t ignore.
One of the most obvious drawbacks of a wet bar is the cost. Setting up plumbing can add to your budget. Depending on existing plumbing, you may need to extend the line, which increases your costs further. Also, wet bars are often larger than dry bars, increasing the overall costs.
If you don’t have the convenience of existing plumbing, setting up a wet bar is going to be a challenge. You will need to find a competent plumber and get permits for the additional plumbing work, which can be time-consuming.
5. Things to Consider Before Investing in a Wet Bar
Given these pros and cons, you should consider a few things before investing in a wet bar:
First and foremost, you must consider your home interior. You will need to design the bar in a way that adds to your interior, not detract from it. This is especially true if you want the bar to be the focal point in your room. Think custom cabinet doors, vertical storage space, and chic colors.
You will need a convenient location for your wet bar. You will need to check existing plumbing to find the area where you can set up the sink. In other words, you wouldn’t want to set up a wet bar in a room that has no nearby plumbing.
c. Available Space
A well-designed wet bar doesn’t have to be spacious. You won’t use it every day like a kitchen or bedroom, so, fitting it in a corner can work. However, you still need adequate space to accommodate the sink, refrigerator, microwave, and your storage needs.
Consider your budget before investing in a wet bar. A bar cart or a dry bar is a really good option if you are operating on a shoestring budget. That said, wet bars don’t have to be wildly expensive. Be aware, though, that they don’t add significant resale value to homes, either – something to think about before investing in one!
The Bottom Line
A wet bar is an excellent way to entertain guests. It can help free up your kitchen and keep the entertainment going without interruptions. What’s more, wet bars are now making a resounding comeback. Hopefully, this article helps you understand what goes into a wet bar, its benefits and drawbacks, and things you should consider before setting one up.
If you need design ideas and storage space for your new wet bar, call in the experts. Holland’s Custom Cabinets designs and builds cabinets, drawers, shelves, and seating systems for all residential projects. Reach out to us today to learn more.