| Bars are for drinkin’ and drinks have to stay cold, which makes refrigeration one of the most important components of your project. There are several types of bar refrigeration units: Wine Refrigerators, Draft Beer Refrigerators, Kegerators, Beverage Centers, and Ice Makers.
You’ll want to decide which type(s) of refrigeration you’ll incorporate into your bar based on how much room you have, the amount of money you can spend and what you like to drink the most.
If you’re planning on serving canned or bottled beer, wine, malt beverages, soda and/or juice you’ll probably want to consider a single piece of refrigeration for your back bar. Compact refrigerators and beverage centers are always great alternatives to a full size fridge. These units come in various sizes and are often built into the cabinet system of your back bar.
If built-in refrigeration is what you’re after, you’ll have to make sure the compressor vents of the units that you select are on the front of the fridge. The hot air given off by the compressor needs a place to vent, in order to cool the machine down. If your unit can’t vent correctly, you’re looking at a burnt out compressor motor, wasted money and a dangerous fire hazard, so it is important to purchase wisely. To make it easy, most of the appropriate under counter units are labeled as being able to be built-in.
While they’re perfect for bottled beverages, these units are almost always too small to accommodate a keg and the necessary beer dispensing equipment. On the plus side, many of them have a glass door so you can proudly display your extensive selection.
Installing your own Draft Beer System or Kegerator isn’t as difficult as one might imagine! Remember, it’s much easier to install a draft beer system upfront rather than try to add one after you’ve built your home bar.
There are several ways to get draft beer at home, without breaking the bank. It is absolutely imperative that draft (keg) beer must be kept cold at all times. If it’s not kept cold, your beer will get foamy and eventually spoil. For this reason, you want to keep your beer and the beer lines enclosed in the refrigeration unit.
Here are your kegerator options:
Under Counter Kegerator
Under the counter keg refrigerators are easy to install and can also be used as stand alone units if the need arises. Most people build these units into their back bars, but they can be placed on the front bar as well.
Stand-Alone Draft Beer Refrigerator
Stand-alone draft beer fridges can be set to the side of the bar. These units work just like the built-ins and in most cases, they’ll save you some cash! Choose from one tap or multiple taps.
Using a refrigerator that you already have is also an option. Taking an old refrigerator, like the kind you have in your kitchen, and converting it into a kegerator is actually really simple with a Refrigerator Conversion Kit. You can position the fridge so it’s out of the way or decorate it and make it the focal point of the bar. Whichever way you choose to display it, you’ll want to make sure you have a drip tray to catch the excess foam so it doesn’t spill onto your floor.
If you’re a wine connoisseur or someone who does a lot of entertaining, you might want to consider including refrigeration, specifically for wine. There are different styles and sizes of wine chillers, so you’ll want to have an idea of how many bottles you’ll be chilling, as well as what kinds of wines you’re likely to have. Smaller wine chillers hold approximately 16 bottles and large wine refrigerators can hold over 100 bottles! The smaller models fit right on your back bar or counter top easily, so they’re often ideal for home bars.
Use this wine temperature chart to help you with your decision.
Wine Serving Temperature Chart
|Red Burgundy, Cabernet
|Pinot Noir, Rioja
|Tawny/NV Port, Maderia
|Ideal storage for all wines
|Standard Fridge Temperature
Most people don’t really think much about installing an ice maker, until their 16th trip up the stairs to refill an ice bucket. Small, portable, under-the-counter icemakers are available for home use and some of them don’t even require a drain line. If you buy a lot of bagged ice, one of these super convenient ice machines will pay for itself in no time.