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How to make a home bar: Tips from interiors experts

Raise a glass: The Andrea bar with Carrera marble top, £1,695, from Soho Home

Maybe it’s the idea of ​​enjoying the pub experience or the perfect cocktail without having to leave the house. Or maybe you just need a place to showcase a burgeoning gin collection.

Whatever the reason, there is no doubt that the growing popularity of the home bar is undeniable. So much so that research from business website Rated People has found that home bars are now a higher priority than a new kitchen, after one in 13 UK-based homeowners in the survey revealed that he planned to start a home bar in 2022.

True, they have their advantages – with homemade alcohol, you probably won’t have to wait in line at the bar. And since you’re in charge of the punters, you won’t have to endure the boredom of the pub.

Raise a glass: The Andrea bar with Carrera marble top, £1,695, from Soho Home

Raise a glass: The Andrea bar with Carrera marble top, £1,695, from Soho Home

“Home bars are not a new demand for us,” says Rachel Hall, interiors manager at luxury home builders Octagon Developments.

“But as we see continued demand for entertainment spaces in homes, more and more customers are putting a home bar at the top of their wish lists.”

It could also be an investment, increasing the value of your home by up to £5,000.

The concept of a home bar took root in postwar America, where neighbors rushing for a casual martini became a cultural norm.

The trend continued into the 1950s and 1960s, although by the mid-1970s the house bar was considered old-fashioned and the stuff of leg-pulling sitcoms.

The advent of the pandemic, however, reframed Del Boy’s profile with 2.7 million home bars created during the shutdowns.

But if you decide to recreate one at home, what’s the best way to go about it?

A lot, of course, depends on the space available and whether you want a permanent structure or something that requires less commitment – maybe just a tiered cart or even a hidden cabinet.

One option is to hire a bespoke company to design a home bar to your specifications, such as Luxury Home Bars.

Alternatively, buy a simple pre-built freestanding unit (you can find a range, for example, at Liberty Games).

Mix well: Shaker, £15, from dunelm.com

Mix well: Shaker, £15, from dunelm.com

“For those with less space, the most efficient way to create a wet bar at home is to build one into cabinets that are part of the kitchen or pantry,” adds Rachel Hall.

“It doesn’t have to be a stand-alone feature. You can make the most of the space you already have by adding floating shelves on top of an existing kitchen cabinet.

“When not in use as a bar, the space can act as an additional design element, creating a stylish section of the room with backlit bottles, barware and accessories.”

If you don’t want to commit space or don’t have a place indoors to house your bar, then an outdoor garden or bar could be the answer – perhaps converting a shed or installing a specially designed bar.

However, having decided on the type of bar you want is only part of the project. As Head of Brands at Portmeirion Group Ltd, Andrea Waters, says the equipment in your home watering hole is as important as the bar itself.

‘Do this with eye-catching glassware because the decorative flourish will impress your guests and show that you care about entertaining. If you’re looking for a polished look, bring in a touch of 1950s glamor through classic styling with antique-designed crystal glassware.

“And to enhance the sparkle and shimmer of your chosen glassware, consider incorporating shiny, reflective surfaces into your bar – clear glass shelves not only look good, but also offer great functionality, being easy to clean and polish.”

She also suggests opting for open shelving to showcase your favorite cocktail and wine glasses.

These can be lined up next to any fancy liquor bottles you might have in stock. This way your home bar is a design feature even when you don’t fancy anything stronger than a cup of tea.

Of course, an essential part of recreating the bar experience is creating atmosphere. And you can achieve this with your home bar by choosing the right type of lighting.

Julian Page, Head of Design at BHS, says: “A good lighting scheme for a home bar is essential. Recessed spotlights are ideal for the bar as they provide bright lighting, perfect for making cocktails.

“A spotlight bar is ideal for this type of space because individual lights can be directed to where tasks are being performed.

‘Or opt for a colorful pendant to add a splash of colour.

“Try a contour LED light strip that will highlight the underside of the bar and add an extra minimalist touch.”

As for the finishing touch, well, it’s about stocking, and then restocking, the bar with the drinks of your choice. After that, the opening time is up to you. Cheers!

Savings of the week! dutch ovens

Reduced: ProCook's 28cm model comes in blue, red, dark grey, pale grey) and is now £89

Reduced: ProCook’s 28cm model comes in blue, red, dark grey, pale grey) and is now £89

The Dutch oven, a substantial cast-iron casserole with a lid, has a history as rich as the stews you can make in it.

The Chinese began making these pots around 2,500 years ago and these techniques were refined in the Netherlands in the late 1600s. In 1707, British industrialist Abraham Darby upgraded his Dutch oven.

Today, the Dutch oven (often referred to as a casserole dish) is experiencing a resurgence in popularity as it allows for economical meal preparation and serving: there are colors to suit any decor.

The French firm Le Creuset manufactures the best-known Dutch oven; various sizes and colors are available from Philip Morris Direct, with the 31cm model reduced from £330 to £199.

ProCook’s 28cm model (in blue, red, dark grey, pale grey) was £199 and is now £89. Denby Pottery’s 28cm pavilion in pale blue is 40% off at £108.

At Ocado there’s the lighter 23cm aluminum M&S design in charcoal grey, for £31.60 instead of £40.

Here’s to warming up suppers.

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