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August 19, 2020 by Chelsea Allard

The Home Bar: Revealing Wet and Dry Bar Ideas and 5 Reasons Why These Bars are on Charlotte Wish Lists

In evaluating the ebb and flow of ongoing trends the other day, we were discussing the evolution of today’s home bar. Home bars are still popular; usually part of a kitchen remodel, but they are far from what they once were. From simple, compact dry bars to complete entertaining spaces in their own right, home bars still feature prominently on our clients’ wish lists. Here are some wet bar ideas and dry bar ideas to consider:

Say Goodbye: Tiny Wet Home Bar

Well, first — let’s chat about what differentiates a wet bar from a dry bar and it’s pretty obvious. A wet bar includes running water, often in the form of a sink, while a dry bar doesn’t. Home bars of the late ’90s and early 2000s were often “wet bars” and featured a tiny, impractical sink smack in the middle of the countertop, rendering the remaining counters unusable. Designers and homeowners often hid home bars in an alcove near the kitchen or off the living room in an awkward hallway. The bowl-sized sinks were deal breakers for most of our clients, and they wanted them gone in favor of more flexible counter space. And although tiny, dysfunctional wet bar ideas may be few and far between in this day and age, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t ample functional, wet bar ideas.  All of the below dry bar ideas could also double as wet bar ideas.

wet_dry_bar_ideas

BEFORE: This wet bar was added during a previous remodel, but the tiny sink only served as a dust collector.

charlotte nc home dry bar ideas

AFTER: Electing for a home dry bar with a beverage center gave this couple more flexibility, extra counter space, and improved cabinet storage with a wide drawer for home bar accessories.

 

Multi-Functional Dry Dining Room Bar Ideas

Fast forward to today, and families still request home bars in at least half of the kitchen remodels we design. Nowadays, we take a multi-functional approach to the design to best utilize the space available. Most home bars err on the simpler side, and most do not feature sinks unless they have a significant amount of extra space.

Dry bar with kegerator and beverage center

This multi-functional space in the hallway between the kitchen and formal dining room acts as a home dry bar and drop zone for the kids’ activity schedules. The left side features a built-in kegerator, a beverage center, and extra wine and stemware storage. The right side features open shelving for books and family photos, a pinboard for schedules and Panthers tickets, and wide drawers for the kids’ craft supplies.

Some dry bar ideas (or wet bar ideas, if you choose to go that route) include an appliance for wine, beer, or other beverages and act as a landing zone for entertaining. Whether you have friends over for a casual dinner or you celebrate your child’s birthday, a dry bar gives you space separate from the kitchen to stage beverages, appetizers, or dessert.

Where to Place Your Home Bar

As for some more dry and wet bar ideas, location is key. Ideally your home bar would be located in close proximity to the kitchen, between it and another space like a formal dining room or living room. Finding the bar in the transition space between two rooms creates a natural flow for traffic and conversation, and allows guests to help themselves without entering the kitchen while you’re cooking.

Dry bar in hallway between kitchen and dining room

This home dry bar serves as a morning station for coffee most days. It quickly converts to the beverage station for holiday gatherings, located in a nook off the hallway between the kitchen and the formal dining room.

Home Bars Aren’t Just for Cocktails

While most home bars do feature stemware and bottle storage of some sort, they aren’t limited to alcohol. Many of the families we work with prefer beverage centers—small built-in refrigerators with multiple zones that can adequately store a few bottles of wine and a case or two of La Croix or Kombucha. (These are the types of dry and wet bar ideas that we can totally get behind because they benefit the whole family.)

Beverages tend to take over the main refrigerator if left unchecked, so having a smaller space just for your daily drink of choice leaves room for more fresh produce and leftovers. 

Having a flexible space to store the special occasion china that acts as a snack station for the kids is still a worthy feature of any modern kitchen design. Thoughts on any other wet or dry bar ideas? We are all ears.

Home bar with open shelves, wine storage and white cabinets

This dry bar features a beverage center and drawer for snacks. The towers on the left and right are perfect for housing small appliances, vases, and stemware.

 

Take Your Home Bar Up a Notch

When it comes to wet and dry bar ideas, this one is going to knock your socks off. Let us explain. If regular movie nights and football parties are your jam, you may want to consider a more elaborate casual entertaining space. With enough room and the right design, a dry bar can quickly become a full-fledged kitchenette, preventing repeated trips to the actual kitchen.

In this case, a beverage center and a small (but usable) sink are must-haves. Ice makers and refrigerator drawers for mixers and snacks are also excellent additions. An 18” dishwasher wouldn’t be a bad idea either, especially if your hang-out zone is in the basement or a detached garage.

Modern wet bar with black cabinets and ice maker

Located right inside the back door and conveniently separating the kitchen and the living room, this wet bar features a wine chiller, an ice maker, and a prep sink. It’s right off the back door, making it easy to run inside and grab a cold beverage before heading back to the lake.

Whether you’d like to incorporate a multi-functional dry bar as part of your kitchen remodel, looking for more wet bar ideas, or you’re interested in creating an entirely separate entertaining space, we’d be happy to help you design the space that’s perfect for your needs. We are ready for any dry bar ideas or wet bar ideas if you feel so inclined. Schedule a consultation with us today!

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