How To Set Up A Home Bar

How To Set Up A Home Bar

How to set up a home bar

So you my be wondering, “How do I set up a bar at home?” With these tips your home bar will not only be fully stocked, it will be functional and stylish too. First things first, you need to establish a setup. Home bars can range from rolling carts to built-in wet bars to a single tray of items.

Starting your collection small and keeping it simple is ideal. Your home bar should have a table top counter space, or place to mix drinks, and storage area for tools and liquor. Think a cabinet with drawers and shelves, or shelves on a cart. You may already have a designated area in your home, such as an unused built in, you can use for your home bar. For those of us that don’t, you may consider using a bar cart or cabinet.

As you begin to build your at home bar keep these rules in mind. Only essential bar ware is necessary to get you started. If you are new to mixing drinks a mixology a book is essential. Don’t forget to include cocktail napkins and Advil for the next day. Always use quality spirits. Never serve alcohol that you wouldn’t enjoy yourself. You will also need to keep a of variety of basic mixers on hand. If you have an upcoming event planned and know your at home bar will be seeing a lot of action, make sure you have plenty of fresh garnishes at the ready such as lemons, limes, and olives.

How to Style a Home Bar

Before you get everything that you need to create a home bar let’s talk about how to style it and give it your personal touch. Color, pattern, and texture all come into play when styling your home bar. Colorful straws, decorative napkins, and custom coasters add your signature style and are also functional. Arrange your bottles, bitters, decanters, and glasses on the top of your bar or bar cart. Store your essential bar tools in a nearby drawer or cabinet. If your storage area is open use decorative bins or vessels to organize your bar tools. Another way liven up your home bar and to add your personal style is to incorporate fresh flowers or greenery. Fresh seasonal flowers make any party or get together more festive and merry. You could also choose to make a permanent spot for a house plant.

Remember, creating a home bar should be fun. The first step in creating a home bar you can be proud of is to establish your set up. Where will your home bar be located and does it need to be able to move? Once you know where and how your home bar will function in your living space your ready to fill it with all the essentials. By investing in key equipment and stocking up on the essentials you will have a stylish and functional home bar you will love.

bar cart

What is a bar cart?

Let’s talk about bar carts. They’re popular, stylish, and versatile. Bar carts define the “bar” area of the room. They are the designated area for mixing drinks, and they’re inviting. They are  welcoming enough that guests feel comfortable walking up and making their own drinks, leaving you more time for hosting. Choose a rolling bar cart for even more versatility. If you choose an open bar cart keeping it organized is going to be important. You don’t want your fully stocked and functional home bar to look messy. More about styling your home bar later.


What bar tools do you need?

Basic tools are going to be essential to creating your home bar. You need tools that will help you get the measurements and ratios just right. There is nothing worse than making a drink that is too stout and undrinkable. You also need tools that will aide in making the right garnish, the perfect finish to the perfectly mixed drink. The following tools are going to elevate your drink mixing game and take your home bar to the next level.

A novice bartender can get by with a few essential bar tools. Sticking to the basics will make learning mixology easier as you develop your new skills. At this stage it’s only necessary to invest in specialty tools if you need them to make a specific cocktail.

One of the most basic tools your home bar needs is an ice bucket and a scoop. They’re essential to have on hand so guests can easily access ice top-offs. Ice is also needed when making a variety of mixed drinks. You don’t want to be running to the kitchen every time you need to mix a drink. Tongs are also useful when it comes to picking up ice or adding garnishes to cocktails. It’s a good idea to have separate glass handy for mixing drinks.

If you are an avid wine drinker a decanter is crucial. They are mainly used to store wine, but they also remove sediment and help with the oxidation process. You will also want to have a quality corkscrew and bottle opener on hand. They are both must-have bar tools used for opening a wide variety of containers. They can be purchased a combo unit or stand alone devices.

Bar Tools


When it comes to mixed drinks you will need a jigger. They are used to measure the amount of alcohol needed in a cocktail. Remember consistency is key when crafting your mixed drinks. A cocktail shaker is not something to dismiss as redundant. At it’s basic function a cocktail shaker mixes and strains, and their are other tools that can be used to do the same thing. However, a cocktail shaker will create a perfectly blended mixed drink that is already chilled by the time it’s poured. All the while straining out anything unnecessary leaving a beautifully crafted cocktail. It’s a good idea to have separate cocktail strainer on hand for cocktails that do not need to be shaken.

Another important but lesser known bar tool is a muddler. the are used for crushing herbs and extracting essential oils and flavors from the ingredients. It’s also a good idea to have a designated mixing spoon handy for mixing cocktails. You will be using this spoon on repeat so we recommend investing a quality one out the gate.

And of course we can’t forget the glassware. If you stock your home bar with martini glasses, wine glasses for both red and white wine, shot glasses, highball glasses, whiskey glasses, and beer mugs you should be fully set to mix and properly serve any cocktail under the sun.

Other times to keep stocked in your home bar include cocktail picks, coasters, napkins, and straws. They are sure to amp up your entertainment game. If you are new to mixing drinks or want to try something new having a mixology book in your home bar is a great idea.

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home bar shop the look scaled

1. Ice Bucket | 2. 8 Piece Bar Tool Set | 3. Scoop | 4. Whisky Glass | 5. Martini Glass | 6. Stemless Martini Glass | 7. Jigger |

8. 5 Piece Bar Tool Set| 9. Bottle Opener / Corkscrew | 10. Mixology Book | 11. Rabbit Corkscrew | 12. Granite Chilling Set |

13. Decanter | 14. Stemless Wine Glasses




What Spirits Should I Stock in My Home Bar?

Last but not least the main ingredients. When stocking a bar, keep in mind that everything does not have to be top-shelf as long as it is a good quality variety. Remember, if you won’t drink it, it should not be in your home bar. As you learn to mix a variety of cocktails you will learn what your favorites drinks are and discover your most used spirits. Consider going with top-shelf on your most used bottles. You will really notice the difference, and have a quality drink every time. At the very least make sure your home bar is stocked with white rum, Scotch, bourbon, brandy, tequila, rye, and gin. You will be able to make an endless variety of cocktails.

Top 7 spirits to stock in your home bar:

  1. White Rum
  2. Scotch
  3. Bourbon
  4. Brandy
  5. Tequila
  6. Rye
  7. Gin

What Mixers Should I Stock in My Home Bar?

Next you’ll want to make sure you have a nice selection of drink mixes.  Staples you can keep on hand that may have a longer shelf life include; club soda, cola, lemon-lime soda, ginger ale, bitters, coffee, grenadine, pineapple juice margarita mix, pina colada mix, tomato juice, hot sauce,sour mix, and bloody mary mix. Other mixers to consider having on hand if you are planning a party include; half and half and/or milk, cranberry juice, grapefruit juice, orange juice, lemon juice, and lime juice. Don’t forget the garnishes. These include; olives, fresh mint, cherries, lemon slices, and lime slices. It’s also not a bad idea to learn how to make a simple syrup just in case you need a backup option.

summer drinks

Top 10 mixers to stock in your home bar:

  1. Club Soda
  2. Cola
  3. Lemon-Lime Soda
  4. Ginger Ale
  5. Bitters
  6. Coffee
  7. Grenadine
  8. Pineapple Juice
  9. Tomato juice
  10. Sour Mix


I hope you learned a bit about setting up and styling your home bar. If you still want more check out this little article in Westchester Magazine!


How To Style a Bar
As seen in Westchester Magazine

Westchester Home Design Awards

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