Lots of us have become more interested in DIY over the last year or so, and with this comes the possibility of exciting new home projects. Here, David Cooper from the glassware experts Forever Crystal, takes us through how to create your very own home bar for those warm summer evenings or cosy winter’s night at home.
Making your own home bar might seem like a daunting task, but as more of us have become interested in DIY, particularly during the past year, constructing a home bar might be something you’re willing to have a go at.
Before you begin, there are a few things to consider, such as the style of the room in which you will build your bar, its décor, the theme of the bar and variety of drinks you will offer, and finally the glassware and accessories you will need. But with some tips and tricks, this can be a fun project rather than a daunting task.
1. Consider your budget
There are plenty of options for constructing a bar at home. The route you take may depend on your budget, DIY skills, time available and your imagination. If your budget will allow, you could find a builder to add a bar to your kitchen or living space, or there are plenty of drinks tables and cabinets available to buy which can be installed quickly. As this approach can be expensive, here we’ll consider how with very little DIY experience, you can create a home bar from scratch which will bring many years of enjoyment to you, your family and friends.
2. Upcycle to build your home bar
A great way to build your own bar is by upcycling. With a little imagination and patience, you may well find an old piece of furniture, worktop or other forgotten item lying around the home or shed which could be upcycled into a fantastic bespoke bar or drinks cabinet.
An old table, cabinet or cupboard can easily be repurposed to store drinks and glassware. Just fit a bar top and you have the basis of a fully functioning bar or cocktail-making station. There are also more imaginative options, such as turning an old piano into a drinks station by simply adding shelves above the keys.
If you want a more rustic look, a couple of old oak whisky barrels which can be bought at reasonable cost can provide the base for your bar top. With basic DIY skills, some of the staves of the barrel can be removed and shelves installed to create storage for glasses and bottles. Old pallets can also be repurposed to create an effective and low-cost structure to support your bar top, particularly for outdoor use. Ask your local kitchen supplier if they have any old worktops or offcuts which might be suitable for bar top. Finally, install some shelves and you will be serving drinks in no time at all.
3. Pick your drinks and storage method
After you’ve decided how you’re going to install the structure of your bar, you’ll of course want to think about what drinks to serve! Consider what you and your loved ones usually drink, and what your favourite beverages and ingredients are. Then, you can plan how you’ll store them between uses.
If you are thinking of serving beer, cider and ales, then you might wish to install a small undercabinet fridge to keep the drinks at the perfect temperature to serve. A fridge may also be useful for keeping those extra ingredients such as juices and fruit nice and fresh for cocktails. If you are mainly interested in wine, then you’ll need a storage space that’s cool, but not too cold. Find a cool, shady place for your wine rack, preferably somewhere without big swings in temperature throughout the year. Spirits need similar storage to wine — a place that’s dark and cool is best, but if your room temperature doesn’t fluctuate much then this should also be fine. Remember non alcoholic drinks too!
4. Finding glassware and accessories
The equipment and glassware that you choose for your home bar setup will really make the difference to elevate it into a luxurious feature of your home or garden. Think about what kinds of drinks you’ll be making and find glassware that will make them special.
No bar is complete without a set of fine crystal wine glasses which really enhance the enjoyment of any wine. If your favourite tipple is whisky or brandy, you can make a big impression by serving spirits from a crystal decanter. For gin lovers, you can really let your imagination go wild by using fruit and various garnishes to bring colour to the gin glass. An engraved whisky decanter and tumblers can bring a classy touch to your bar, whilst personalised gin and prosecco glasses are very popular additions to any bar and can bring great fun and humour to a party.
You should also think about other equipment you’ll need to make the drinks you enjoy. A good quality corkscrew is essential. We’ve probably all experienced the horror of trying to uncork a good bottle of wine, only to leave half the cork in the bottle. Use a drip ring to prevent those annoying leaks when pouring drinks, and you may need a stopper to recork an unfinished bottle, however unlikely that may seem.
5. Choose the décor and theme for your bar
One of the best things about making your own home bar, is that you get to personalise it however you like. This means you can choose a theme, style it to fit in with your kitchen or living space décor, or go for some unique features that will make it stand out.
If you enjoy tropical, fruity drinks, you might wish to style your bar with a beach theme using bright colours and decorative lighting, or you could recreate the feeling of the British seaside with a blue and white colour scheme using shells and seaside accessories such as an anchor and rope.
Thinking about the drinks you want to serve might be a good starting point to help you decide the theme for your bar. For wine tasting, you could take inspiration from the vineyards of France and Italy, incorporating shelves to display your wine selection and plates to serve cheese and fruit.
6. Finishing touches and accessories
Whichever theme you go for, it’s likely you will continue over time to discover and add accessories to personalise your bar.
If you are inspired by the style of a British pub, there are plenty of accessories to go with this theme, such as crisp bag holders and coasters. To create a holiday atmosphere, try colourful straws and cocktail parasols. Different lighting options, like lamps and neon signs saying ‘BAR’, can be another great addition, and you could even go for a blackboard where you can write up your wines, beers, or special cocktail recipes for friends and family to choose from.
These extra touches are things that you can keep adding to over the months and years, making your home bar into an exciting design project and a fun venue to invite friends and family to.
Making your own bar is an exciting way to bring a party atmosphere into your home, and create a hub for socialising. For drinks enthusiasts, it’s also a great way to build a space to store your favourite beverages, and to explore cocktail-making more. Whichever type of bar you go for, be sure to consider these tips on upcycling, décor, and drinks storage to create a home bar setup this summer.