A home bar is an investment for socialising and relaxing. (Stock photo)

A bar in your home: When you want to say ‘cheers’ up, close, personal

Namrata Kohli | New Delhi

The house runs best on love, laughter and beer, says Vaibhav Kapoor, who is setting up a home bar in his new bungalow in South Delhi- “Creating a home bar in my own home is like a dream come true. It will be my retreat for relaxation and a sanctuary for sipping happy thoughts.” He is spending Rs 40 lakhs on a full room bar.

Home bar as a concept is very much in demand as far as luxury projects are concerned, since socialising with friends, family, relatives has become a very regular thing. Even people who don’t drink like to have bars at their home since many of their friends/relatives might drink and they want to entertain them, says Jitendra Singh, Director Wriver, a Gurugram-based luxury home furniture and décor store. He shares the top design preference of people wanting bars with “mixing of different materials such as metal with wood or PU finishes with addition of tinted/decorative glasses to lend a really nice and luxurious look and feel.”

Assess your space and the wide variety of storage options before you start building a home bar, says Gaurav Jain, founder Orange Tree, a home design and decor company. He enlists a few dos and don’ts before you start with building your home bar. Says Jain- “Select durable materials and use appropriate lighting. Opt for a sturdy structure which is solid and strong so that it doesn’t tip while opening and closing and while removing bottles. Ensure there is organised storage for glass and bottles to avoid clutter and look for stain free finishes to avoid and kind for stains. Avoid cheap materials.”

What design styles are trending in the world of home bars? Based on the current offerings from Orange Tree in their home bar unit collections, there are several design styles such as Industrial Chic with metals like iron, combined with solid wood, often in a distressed or matte finish. Then there is mid-century modern that comes with the use of refined wood types like teak or walnut with varnished finishes. Contemporary modern bar units come in dynamic, asymmetrical shapes. And the rustic farmhouse has a handcrafted appearance, often bulky with a focus on durability and simplicity and may even include barn-style doors.

What’s Trending

Sleek bar design with clean lines, minimalist aesthetics, streamlined silhouettes is popular among homeowners. Light-colored wood, glossy surfaces, and understated hardware contribute to completing a modern look. Eye-catching lighting fixtures are a hallmark of modern bar design. From pendant lights to LED strips, innovative lighting solutions can enhance the ambiance and highlight key features of the bar, such as a custom-built backlit shelving unit or a striking countertop. According to Dheeraj Bajaj, Founder & Principal Architect at Studio Dashline, an architectural firm based out of Bengaluru and Gurugram- “With the rise of home entertaining, multifunctional bar spaces are becoming increasingly popular. Bars that seamlessly integrate with kitchen islands, dining areas, or living rooms allow for effortless hosting and socializing. Customization is key when it comes to home bar design. Homeowners are increasingly seeking bespoke solutions tailored to their specific needs, whether it’s a built-in wine rack, a hidden kegerator, or a custom-designed cocktail station. In recent years, several trends have emerged in the realm of home bar design such as the growing appreciation for the warmth and character of natural wood in bar design. Reclaimed wood, in particular, is highly sought after for its unique textures and sustainability. Species like oak, walnut, and cherry are commonly used for their rich tones and durability. For those seeking a more upscale look, materials like marble, granite, and quartz are favoured for countertops and backsplashes. These luxurious finishes add a touch of elegance and sophistication to the bar area.”

By incorporating these trends and materials into their designs, homeowners can create a home bar that not only reflects their personal style but also serves as a functional and inviting space for entertaining and relaxation. Working with a skilled architect or designer can help bring these ideas to life and ensure that the home bar meets the homeowners’ vision and requirements.

Your Bar Starts with Space

What are the must-haves for a home bar? Says Neha Garg, Principal Designer Studio Jane, a design firm based out of Mumbai. “A countertop with low maintenance and no-stain materials for preparation and serving. An open display for a few bottles, glasses and mood lights with sufficient electrical outlet points. Sufficient storage for bottles, bar accessories, glasses, serveware, refrigerator and wine chiller. It’s essential to ensure that heights and circulation space are well-planned and have appropriate measurements. Drawers or organisers for bar accessories like shakers, stainers, bottle openers, measuring cups, ice buckets, juicers, peelers, and other necessary bar accessories. Electrical provisions for refrigerator, chiller, juicers, etc.”

The available space is crucial when building a home bar, as it determines the type of bar one can create. “There are three main types of home bars -full-size bars, compact bars, and foldable bars,” says Garg. A full-size bar is ideal for a dedicated entertainment room or terrace with ample space. It features a full-fledged set-up, including a serving counter, bar stools, and a prep counter with all the required essentials, such as a fridge, wine chiller, ice maker, sink, etc. A compact bar, on the other hand, is suitable for smaller spaces and generally features a 5-6 feet long counter with either a serving counter, only a preparation counter, or both. The provisions are limited according to the space available or user requirements. Lastly, a foldable bar is perfect for those who want a bar but have limited space. It can be expanded to a straight bar and folded into a regular cabinet when unused. However, space for essentials is almost unavailable.

If you have a small compact apartment, then go for a readymade unit. Gaurav Dewan, Founding Partner of Hivemind, a Gurgaon-based multidisciplinary design studio shares a few considerations when purchasing a ready-made home bar. Factors such as materials, finishes, and design details should be considered to create a visually stunning centerpiece that mirrors the homeowner’s personality and elevates home’s overall aesthetic. In some cases, a corner or alcove can indeed be sufficient to accommodate a functional and stylish bar setup. This setup allows for the integration of essential features such as a countertop, storage cabinets, shelving for bottles and glassware, and possibly seating options like bar stools or built-in seating along a wall.

On the other hand, if homeowners desire a more expansive and elaborate bar experience, they may opt for dedicating an entire room to the bar. This approach offers greater flexibility in design and layout, allowing for additional features such as a dedicated area for mixing drinks, a wine cellar, a tasting area, or even entertainment amenities like a media center or gaming area.

If space is not a problem, a build to suit the bar is the best option. According to Studio Dashline’s Dheeraj Bajaj, “Certainly, a built-to-suit bar offers a myriad of advantages over a readymade one. Firstly, it provides a tailored solution perfectly aligned with the homeowners’ specific needs and preferences. Whether it’s about hosting gatherings, showcasing a collection, or catering to particular tastes in beverages, a custom-built bar can be designed to fulfil these requirements seamlessly.” However, the specific dimensions needed will vary based on the homeowners’ preferences and the available space.

The next step is to plan your storage. You’ll also need a place to keep bar tools, equipment and your favorite spirits and mixers. Having them within easy reach means you don’t have to walk to the kitchen for supplies. Evaluate your space to determine what works best for your home’s layout—cabinets with closed shelves, open shelving or a combination of the two.

Next is to select your spirits and to pick proper glassware and get the right gadgets, keep things cool and add your liqueurs and mixers. “Start with essential spirits – vodka, gin, rum, tequila, whiskey,” says Jonax Ax, Advocacy Lead at Bacardi India- “The Dewar’s 12-Year-Old Scotch Whisky is a great starting point! You can then expand based on your preferences and the cocktails you enjoy. It is also worthwhile to invest in basic bar tools such as a shaker, jigger, strainer, muddler, and a bar spoon. Have a variety of glassware (e.g., rocks, highball, coupe) for different types of drinks. I also recommend using good quality ice for cocktails. Consider investing in ice molds or an ice maker for clear, large ice cubes. Keep a cocktail recipe book or app handy for inspiration and guidance on making classic and new cocktails.”

What is the right way of stocking bottles in a home bar? Says Jonax Ax- “When storing spirits at home, it is advisable to keep the bottles upright to minimize air contact and reduce oxidation. Direct sunlight should be avoided to prevent degradation of the flavor and color of the spirits.”

Maintain a stable, cool temperature to preserve the quality of the spirits, as temperature fluctuations and high temperatures can have a negative impact. While a humid environment does not affect the spirits themselves (assuming proper sealing), it can affect the bottle and label. Keeping them dry will help maintain their appearance. For wines, vermouths, and other wine-based spirits, it is best to store them in the fridge once opened to prevent rapid degradation.

There are also outdoor bars and it’s very popular to have bars in spaces such as decks, balconies, or terraces. However, the materials used must be able to withstand the weather while offering a welcoming environment for gatherings and relaxation.

Price Chart

What does it cost to have a bar at home. The table below will give you an idea but prices vary based on factors like customization, material used, dimensions and additional features.

Brand Options Price Range
Nivasa Tall cabinets and Full counters Rs 3,00,000 – Rs. 20,00,000
Orange Tree Homes Bar Units Rs. 46,000 – Rs. 68,000
Pepperfry Bar Cabinets Rs. 20,000 – Rs. 1,06,999
Urban Ladder Bar Cabinets Rs. 11,500 – Rs. 55,000
Saraf Furniture Bar racks, trolley and cabinets Rs. 7,500 – Rs. 70,000
Wriver Bar Cabinets Varies from Rs 4-5 lakh for a small compact cabinet bar to Rs 20-25 lakh for a big luxury bar

Source: Business Standard https://mybs.in/2dV7ZbN

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