Liquid sunshine from the comfort of your home: A guide to crafting the perfect home bar
James Joyce described the light music of whiskey falling into a glass as “an agreeable interlude”. A cold drink at the end of a long day is certainly one of life’s greatest small pleasures, even more so when it’s the perfect drink imbibed in the perfect setting.
For some, that may be a glass of ale in a stone-walled country pub on a dark winter’s night, the warmth of a crackling fire and the heavy wooden furnishings ensuring a homely feel not dissimilar from George Orwell’s concept of The Moon Under Water. For others, a lavish bar replete with modernist design touches and sublime cocktails made from the finest ingredients is the perfect respite from a hard day’s work.
Of course, some may seek a middle ground – a combination of homely familiarity and luxurious modernity. It is, however, likely that your home is far from the perfect setting for your perfect beverage. That is, of course, unless you have collaborated with a designer who understands your personal story to craft a delightful home bar.
Crafting a home bar
If you’re asking yourself if you should have a home bar, you probably don’t need one. However, for those who realise that there is no better feeling than turning your home into a place where you can indulge in every little pleasure, you’ll know that there’s nowhere better to enjoy a tipple than a home bar.
If you’d invest in a luxurious kitchen because you enjoy cooking, it only makes sense to invest in a luxurious bar if you can appreciate an alcoholic drink every now and then. Beyond that, a home bar will become the new focal point of any event. Too often the kitchen acts as the centre of the party, but what could be a better place to entertain guests at your next evening soirée than around your own beautiful bar.
So, now that you’re in the market for a home bar, you’ll need to know exactly what is required to make it perfect. First things first, it’s that personal touch. The main reason you should want to bring a bar into your home is to craft your dream drinking establishment within the comfort of your home. Remember, a home bar may help with entertaining guests, but the main customer to impress is you.
Once installed, you should want your home bar to give you an experience you would not otherwise be able to have. Ensure your bar is well-stocked to your taste, and organise it to ensure that all of your most used beverages are close at hand. It is worth remembering that an overloaded bar can often be as bad as an understocked bar – avoid confusion by starting small and stocking only those drinks that truly appeal to you.
The transitional bar
If space doesn’t permit you to have an entirely separate bar area, you could consider creating a kitchen design that incorporates a bar area. We are often tasked with designing kitchens that seamlessly transition from family kitchen by day, to boutique bar at night.
This Extreme kitchen was created for a busy family home and serves as a bright, welcoming and practical kitchen during the day. However, the deep tones, textures and patterns combined with the warm mood lighting scheme, transform this space into a sociable and elegant bar in the evening. What was a breakfast bar for the children to eat their cereal during the day, becomes a glamorous bar at night.
For many of us who enjoy a relaxing tipple or hosting a vivacious evening party, there can be no better setting than a traditional pub. Dark woods and old-fashioned blue, green or red tiling are cornerstones of traditional bar designs; it’s always important to look to comfort as the key to a successful traditional home bar.
Looking towards comfort doesn’t necessarily mean installing the softest bar stools for your guests. No, comfortable design should take the entire aesthetic of a room into account. Crafting a warm and welcoming home bar should be the priority of the traditionalist, incorporating soft lighting and offering familiar drinks to ensure that you have created a truly authentic feeling, as though you have brought your local into your home.
When it comes to furnishing your bar area, opt for classic pieces of furniture. Vintage and antique chairs and stools are certain to catch your guests’ eyes, while a heavy hardwood bar will cope with those inevitable spills for years to come. The same goes for hardwood flooring, not only does classic wooden flooring provide ample support underfoot for the revellers your traditional home bar is sure to entertain, but it also delivers on that familiar pub feel that you’re looking to attain.
Perhaps it’s not the warm atmosphere of a traditional pub that you wish to emulate with your home bar, instead, a more luxurious modern take on the traditional staples has taken your fancy. Sleek surfaces and bold colours and contrasts form the backbone of the modern home bar. Perhaps opt for plush black leather, utilise exposed metal accents or incorporate mirrors to really bring your home bar to life.
For a truly chic modern home bar, lighting can make a huge difference. Go dim for that look of mysterious cool, or make a statement with eye-catching pendant lights such as these from Tom Dixon. Statement or subtlety, whatever it is you choose, the lighting of your bar is essential to setting that relaxed, leisurely mood.
The pool bar
If, like some of our clients, you have the pleasure of having a poolside garden building, you may wish to use the space as a dedicated pool bar and lounging area. For inspiration, take a look at the below video to see a contemporary bar designed by Extreme for a beautiful home in Surrey built by property developers Park Lane Developments.
The bar is designed to capitalise on the views of the pool, as well as providing the perfect position to admire your beloved vehicles parked within the building. The subtle curve in the bar adds an elegance to soften what could otherwise be a linear design and a wall-mounted screen is ideally positioned to enjoy key sporting events whilst indulging in a sip of your favourite beverage; a perfect place to enjoy a summer’s day!
When it comes to the drinks you should stock in a modern bar, it’s time to think outside the box. While a traditionalist may be perfectly happy with a bar stocked with enough ingredients to make the classics – think martinis, old-fashioneds, Tom Collinses etc. – in the modern bar, pushing the boundary is key. Seek out less well-known spirits, perhaps some Hungarian palinka, a bottle of Bigallet China-China, maybe a particularly hard to find mezcal. With these unique drinks come unique stories, cocktails and nights all supported by your uniquely modern take on the sophisticated home bar.
Collaborate with an Extreme designer and you could find that the home bar of your dreams is closer than you may have thought. Visit one of our studios today.