Your Guide to Building a Home Bar: A Multi-Post Series

Weather is breaking and it seems spring has nearly sprung. This might just be the perfect time to finally build that home bar you’ve been wanting. Not sure where to start? Let us help. Over the coming days, we’ll delve into all of the different aspects of what goes into building a bar at home, from planning, to refrigeration, to look and feel and more. The best way to start is to figure out what you want out of a home bar, which brings us to our first section: Planning Your Home Bar: Exploring Your Options Ask yourself the following questions to figure out exactly what you want out of your home bar: Do you want…

This? Or This? Points to Consider
Moveable Bar Permanent Bar Do you want your space to be flexible?
Will this room be used for things other than entertaining?
DIY Project Professional Contractor’s Job

How handy are you? How handy are your friends? Are they willing to work for beer? In a post to come, check out Building Yourself vs Hiring Out for the nitty gritty on both options.

Wet Bar (Sink) Dry Bar (No Sink)

Will you be washing your glassware in your home bar area?
If you want a wet bar you’ll obviously need to run water lines and a drain system.

Full Back Bar Wall Shelving

What type of look do you want? Casual or professional?
How much room will you need for “bartending” and storage?

Draft System / Beer on Tap Refrigeration Units for Bottled/Canned Beer How much beer do you drink? What about your friends and family? Having draft beer at home can save you valuable time and money so it’s a wise option for any beer drinker to consider.
One “All-Purpose” Refrigeration Unit Different Fridges for Different Drinks

If you’re installing a draft system, you’ll certainly need a kegerator for your beer but you may also want a refrigerator for soda, mixers and bottled beverages. If you’re into the vino, a separate wine refrigerator could be a nice option for you as well.

Built-In Ice Machine Temporary Ice Accommodations How much entertaining will you be doing? How far is the closest ice source? How much money will you spend on bagged ice when you throw parties? If you’re using a fair amount of ice for your bar, a built-in ice machine can save you lots of time and hassle and over time, it’ll save you lots of money too!
Bathroom in the Bar Area Existing Restroom Usage If you’ve got the space and the resources, you might want to consider adding a half bath nearby. A restroom in the vicinity seriously cuts down on extra house traffic when entertaining.
Set Theme “Evolving” Décor Do you have a particular interest or theme that you want the bar to reflect?

Once you’ve figured out your basic bar desires, you’ll be ready for the next part in our series, Planning Your Home Bar: Layout and Design. Post coming soon! [techtags:HOME BAR, HOME BARS, BUILDING A HOME BAR, HOME BAR TIPS, BUILD A HOME BAR]


  • Greg Fortune May 21, 2010 @ 9:23pm

    I have a 15 foot run for the Beer line-What size do you reccomend?

  • Peter May 24, 2010 @ 9:38am

    Greg Fortune – 3/16″ inside diameter line if you are installing an at-home direct draw system. Find it here.

  • Tom Holmes June 21, 2010 @ 1:30pm

    Hi Hannah,
    You’ve touched on some very valid questions regarding installing your own home-bar…great article! As a former owner of a commercial bar, I’ve often overheard talk about the cost of putting in a home- bar. A realistic approach might be to start out with a “pre-built unit” and then develop it from there…
    Just a thought. Installing a bar can be a very exciting project. Half the fun is in the planning!

    Tom Holmes

  • Hannah June 21, 2010 @ 5:07pm

    Tom Holmes – this is very true – if you’re looking for a new home bar but don’t need a special shape or size, a pre-built unit can help a lot!

  • Renee June 27, 2016 @ 4:11am

    I’m wondering how many feet should the bar have between the wall and the bar area. Basically how much depth does the “bartender” need! Thank you – Renee

    • Caitlin Hartney June 28, 2016 @ 2:25pm

      Hi, Renee. It will depend on personal comfort, what you intend to do behind the bar, and how many people you want to accommodate at once. But bearing that in mind, we recommend at the very least 3 feet.

Leave a Reply

Your name is required.
Comment field is required.