9 Inspired Home Bars That Will Make You Shout "Skol!"

  • 01 of 10

    Home Cocktail and Wine Bars You Can Build (and Others For Dreaming Only)

    Awesome Modern Black Home Bar
    Awesome Modern Black Home Bar. Getty / Astronaut Images

    Once all of the ordinary home remodeling stuff is finished, you'll want to reward yourself by adding luxury features--home theaters, Olympic-sized bathtubs, natural stone.  If there's ever a highly desired feature with dubious functional qualities, it's the home bar.

    Don't drink?  No problem.  Child and non-imbibing adult alike, everyone loves a cozy bar area.  Home bars double as fun-zones to make popcorn, zap a microwave snack, or whip up ice cream floats.  

    Featured are 9...MORE inspiring home bars (plus one stinker) that range from dreamy and possibly unbuildable to feasible and entirely do-able.  Let's go!

    Style

    Black-On-Black Modern Home Bar

    Approximate Size

    250 sq. ft.

    What's So Amazing?

    The espresso color scheme.  Though espresso is often the "easy way out," a quick way to make furniture look cosmopolitan, it's a wise design move for any kind of home bar.

    Where It Fails

    Too much room for the "patrons" to sneak behind the bar. You're the trained mixologist, after all (or popcorn-ologist?).  Install pony walls on the sides with a saloon door, and keep the riff-raff out!

    Will You Build This?

    Perhaps.  Espresso cabinets are standard RTA--easily obtainable and inexpensive.

    Continue to 2 of 10 below.
  • 02 of 10

    Contemporary Home Bar - White and Chrome and Glass

    Contemporary Chrome Home Bar
    Contemporary Chrome Home Bar. Getty / Eric Hernandez

    Style

    White Contemporary Chrome

    Approximate Size

    60 sq. ft.

    What's So Amazing?

    Fenestration!  Windows are a rarity behind bars, whether commercial or residential.  It's a refreshing change to sip your Moscow Mule while watching the clouds go by.

    Where It Fails

    Far too much lighting.  Let's hope they've got it on a dimmer switch.  Bars are all about soft moods and sultriness.  They shouldn't look like aisle #17 of your local Target store.

    Will You Build This?

    Possibly. 

    Continue to 3 of 10 below.
  • 03 of 10

    Does a Shelf Mounted on a Wall Qualify as "Home Bar"?  Uh, No.

    Easy Home Bar Against Wall
    Easy Home Bar Against Wall. Getty / onfokus

    Style

    Lazy Cantilever Shelf Bar

    Approximate Size

    4 sq. ft.

    What's So Amazing?

    Very little.  This is the type of home bar someone builds when they don't have ideas.  Or, to be kinder about it, when that person just don't have enough room to build a better bar.

    Where It Fails

    Nobody likes to face a wall.

    Will You Build This?

    Hopefully not.

    Continue to 4 of 10 below.
  • 04 of 10

    Formal Home Bar Looks Like It Came From a Luxury Hotel

    Home Bar
    Home Bar in Basement. Getty / kevin miller

    Style

    Formal Grecian Style Marble and Wood Home Bar

    Approximate Size

    144 sq. ft.

    What's So Amazing?

    This bar does a superb job of maintaining style throughout the house.  Window frame wainscot trim continues into the bar area, as well as the marble bar top, columns and arches.  Also:  smart to have only 2 bar stools rather than packing in 4 stools, as found in many other home bars.

    Where It Fails

    Stark and oh-so-formal, this is one home bar that needs to toss back a stiff drink and loosen up a bit.

    W...MOREill You Build This?

    Likely not.  Many expensive elements, such as hardwood for the bar and thick marble, make this one out of reach for most homeowners.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Home Bar Takes Style Cues From 1950s Diners

    Swanky Style Private Cocktail Bar
    Swanky Style Private Cocktail Bar. Getty / iSci

    Style

    1950s Faux Diner

    Approximate Size

    120 sq. ft.

    What's So Amazing?

    The owners were courageous enough to break out of the typical home bar design schemes (Ye Olde English Pub, we're talkin' to you!) and construct a bar using metallic colors reminiscent of a 1953 Mercury Monterey Coupe.

    Where It Fails

    The designers may not have realized that no mid-century modern cocktail lounge ever looked like this.  Instead, it looks more like a roadside diner.  Wait, not even that.  More like those...MORE fake Fifties diners that populated the American landscape in the 1980s and 1990s.  

    Will You Build This?

    No.  

    Continue to 6 of 10 below.
  • 06 of 10

    Our Home Cocktail Bar Ancestor:  The Rec Room Special

    Vintage Home Rec Room Bar
    Vintage Home Rec Room Bar. Getty / H. Armstrong Roberts

    Style

    Authentic Rec Room Home Bar, Sixties-Style

    Approximate Size

    50 sq. ft.

    What's So Amazing?

    After World War II, men across America hung up their uniforms in the attic and proceeded down to the basement, where they built things called Rec Rooms.  Short for "recreation rooms," these all-purpose predecessors of today's man-cave included ping-pong tables, billiards, bookcases, hobby work-benches, and bars.

    What's so great?  This home bar is not just retro-style, this is truly a...MORE vintage item.  

    Where It Fails

    Fluorescent lights, linoleum floors, 4' x 8' wood paneling from Sears.

    Will You Build This?

    No, because you can improve on the past.

     

    Continue to 7 of 10 below.
  • 07 of 10

    No-Nonsense Home Bar With Ample Room For Bartender

    Classic Home Bar
    Classic Home Bar with Wood. Getty / kevin miller

    Style

    Classic Three-Patron Wood Home Bar

    Approximate Size

    250 sq. ft.

    What's So Amazing?

    Plenty of commercial bar "real" touches, like the brass foot rail, recessed lights over the bar, and generously spaced liquor shelf.

    Where It Fails

    Low failure rate here.  This home bar is very middle of the road, providing ample space for the three patrons, as well as lots of work area for the bartender.

    Will You Build This?

    Maybe.

    Continue to 8 of 10 below.
  • 08 of 10

    Fine Quarter-Circle Bar Makes Good Use of Corner Space

    Quarter Circle Home Bar
    Quarter Circle Home Bar. Getty / kevin miller

    Style

    Large Quarter-Circle Wood Home Bar

    Approximate Size

    180 sq. ft.

    What's So Amazing?

    Curves promote sociability.  Remember that.  And aren't bars social places?  This bar makes a full quarter-circle sweep, fitting nicely into this below-stairs space (that might otherwise have been wasted) but more importantly ensures that all patrons can see each other.

    Where It Fails

    It's hard to find fault with this one.  If anything, the designer could shave off some working space for the bartender...MORE to give even more room for patrons.  Plus, where is the foot rest?

    Will You Build This?

    Perhaps on a limited scale.  Be aware that curved countertops are not just sitting out there, waiting for you.  This is special order stuff.

     

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Smaller Quarter-Circle Bar: All You Need In One Tiny Package

    Small Quarter Circle Home Bar
    Small Quarter Circle Home Bar. Getty / Astronaut Images

    Style

    Quarter-Circle Home Bar For Real People

    Approximate Size

    150 sq. ft.

    What's So Amazing?

    Maybe you won't build the other quarter-circle home bar featured here, but you might do this one.  Wisely using a corner space in a basement, this tight little bar is one that might actually get used.  Enough--but not too much--room is given to bartending activities.

    Where It Fails

    Ponderous aesthetics out of scale for this small space.

    The main problem is the bar base constructed of huge bricks....MORE  It's a weighty, thick, dark look that has no basis in reality and is far too much for a bar of this tiny size.  Also, the lattice look wine storage (32 bottles) adds to that busy look.  Display a few of your favorite bottles and store the rest.

    Will You Build This?

    Yes, but with modifications.

    Continue to 10 of 10 below.
  • 10 of 10

    Time Capsule?  1990s Style Home Bar...

    Huge Uninspired Home Bar
    Huge Uninspired Home Bar. Getty / James Brey

    Style

    1993 Is Calling and It Wants Its Home Bar Back

    Approximate Size

    550 sq. ft.

    What's So Amazing?

    The amazing thing is that this one picture demonstrates all of the things that can go wrong with bar design.

    Where It Fails

    This massive home bar is stuck in the past, with its oak kitchen cabinets, oak stools, oak bar, and oak column wrapping.  The 12" beige ceramic flooring, likely found on Home Depot's bargain racks, is about as boring as it gets.

    And:  the stuffed owl behind the bar.

    Will...MORE You Build This?

    Please don't.