Undercounter bar fridges are in almost all of our home bars; sometimes more than one. We are often asked what is the proper bar fridge to get. We don't have any recommendations for manufacturers, however, there are two types that are critical; Built-in and Freestanding.
Built-in or Freestanding?
There are a few main differences between the two types; size, price and layout.
The image above best describes the differences. Basically built-ins have a grill at the bottom front for venting. This will allow for no gaps around the fridge for a better appearance. Freestanding bar fridges vent out through the back so there are gaps required at the sides and top for air flow. If these are not provided, your fridge will run warm and burn out prematurely.
If a bar fridge is in the front of the bar, where it is less noticeable, then it is not a big deal which unit to go with. However, if the bar fridge is in the bar unit or walk-up bar then it is more noticeable and a built-in is suggested.
Also to consider is the size in cubic feet, built-ins can be around 6 cubic feet and freestanding fridges around 4 cubic feet. So the built-in will maximize your storage.
We build our openings to suit either fridge style and the majority of the fridges fit in this standard space, however, as the rest of our bar, everything is customizable.