The first step is to remember that a home bar is largely about entertaining, not just the aspect of drinking. Many of our clients don’t even drink but enjoy the good times they can spend entertaining around the bar with family and friends. Remember it’s about Building Good Times. Your bar can also function as a complete kitchen if need be, so if you are thinking of a second kitchen why not build a bar and introduce a whole new entertainment area.
We only build custom bars but there are premade bars out there usually at billiard stores. These can be a great option if you are looking for a standalone bar usually with no sink. If you are looking for a certain size with sink, fridge, etc. then custom is the way to go.
The bar location in your area is critical. Some nooks or awkward areas can be the perfect use of space for a bar while others as the focal point of the room can be best. Sizing can be a challenge to determine at the beginning so here are a few rough measurements to consider:
Front Bar: 3’ deep
Back Bar: 1’ to 2’ deep
Interior Walking Area: 2.5’ min. width. 3’ to 3.5’ is ideal
Length of Bar: 2’ min. per bar stool
Feel free to have a look at our Online Bar Designer: thebarstore.ca/bardesigner/. This tool is meant to give some initial ideas on sizing, layout and pricing. Everything is completely customizable but this helps with some of the initial layout questions. Always feel free to contact us as well for a hand with the general layout.
Once you have a space in mind, if it is an existing area, take a few pictures. Your bar designer will require these to help with the initial design. From a simple picture we can typically tell the general bar layout, ceiling heights, window conflicts, bulkheads, construction type, state of construction, electrical, plumbing, etc. So pictures are fantastic even if it is just a corner of a room. A few rough measurements within an inch or two helps an awful lot as well.
If this is new construction, a plan from the contractor or a simple sketch is all we need. Again, a few rough measurements go a long way.
Next to consider for your bar is any specific wants or needs. We go through all the options with you but if there is anything right from the start you want to be sure to let us know ie. Sink, fridge, keg fridge, wine storage, canopy, liquor display, built-in television, etc. If you have any pictures of existing bars you like the layout or style of, feel free to forward that to us for consideration.
One concern I often get is when to contact your bar designer, when is early too early. I would say it is never too early. If you are renovating or building new, the sooner we can give our suggestions on locations and sizing the better. We will also provide drawings for plumbing, electrical, flooring and lighting.
Wet Bar vs. Dry Bar. Sink vs. No Sink. We always recommend having a sink; it makes for a much more functional bar. This is not always possible as running plumbing can be a challenge in certain locations. Some things to consider for plumbing is if there is a drain stack close by or can the plumbing be run through the floor. A unique option is if the drain is too far away you can get a drain pump that sits underneath the sink and pumps the drain water up to the ceiling and then can flow to another drain from there. These are relatively inexpensive and a good option to get a sink in your bar. It can also save you from breaking up a concrete floor to run a drain.
Budget is always a big factor. Pricing can vary drastically depending on the size, style and options. If you are unsure of your budget we recommend having a quick look at our Online Bar Designer: thebarstore.ca/bardesigner/ for some options. Or feel free to contact us for some general pricing.
I hope this has helped answer some questions and concerns. For more detailed information please feel free to give us a call, fill out our request a quote form or come on out to our showroom in Fergus, Ontario.
The Bar Store Canada Inc.