Raise the Bar for Entertaining

It’s hot. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill summer heat, either. These are punishing, relentless firecracker temps that arrived far too early in Northern Colorado. We could spend these scorching days sprawled out, listless in a lounge chair daydreaming of being served a cold drink in a tall, frosty glass. Or we can get off the chair and do something about it.

Adding a wet bar makes it ridiculously easy and convenient to fix the perfect drink. Bars can enhance entertaining and they often add value to your home, too. If you entertain frequently, then install the bar where you entertain most of the time. That could be off the kitchen, in your basement where you watch the big game, or outside on your patio. Whichever location works best, be sure the bar complements the overall style of the space. Having fun and adding personality is great, but nothing screams split-personality in your split-level more than a tiki hut or number-one Broncos fan bar plopped conspicuously next to your colonial kitchen. And although you may want the bar to be fun, it’s even more important to focus on its function.

Include adequate space for drink and food storage, and for preparation. Install a refrigerator, beverage cooler, or even a kegerator, to keep beer, fruit and mixers cool. An icemaker is a must, as well as cutting boards and a block with knives and a sharpener. A microwave is handy for making popcorn or warm drinks.

Make clean-up easy with a dishwasher and a small sink that includes the often overlooked, yet indispensable, garbage disposal. Be sure countertops and floors are durable and can withstand spills. If the bar is outside, choose construction and finish materials that can withstand the elements.

Provide adequate and comfortable seating for your guests, and maybe a Television mounted over the bar so nobody misses a touchdown while you’re refreshing their drink. Include a dart board and game table to convert your bar from a pit stop into a destination. And pay special attention to lighting, which will help set the mood for your entire bar area.

Consider incorporating a mix of open shelving and some closed cabinetry. Open shelves make glasses, wine bottles and other spirits more accessible, and they make putting things away a snap. If you go with cabinet doors, think about installing glass fronts, including a glass door for your refrigerator or wine captain. Under-cabinet holders for stemware put wine glasses within easy reach and save space. To keep the temptation of alcohol out of the reach of minors, you might add locked liquor storage for safety. Customized drawer inserts are great for organizing bottle openers, swizzle sticks, wine charms, straws and all the bar gadgets you might accumulate.

So, if you find yourself with friends and family on a blistering Fourth of July, wishing you had cool relief at your fingertips, don’t sweat it. Install a wet bar and take the heat out of future entertaining.