Over the past year, it’s likely you’ve spent plenty of time reimagining what happy hour looks like at home.
Maybe you’ve finally perfected making your favorite signature cocktail, or perhaps you’ve discovered your new go-to red wine after tuning in to a Zoom session with a sommelier. At this point, you might even be considering making new investments into your burgeoning mixology hobby—and not the kind that involves a trip to the liquor store. Instead, you may be considering rearranging your space to open up a spot for those Zalto glasses you recently splurged on or finding new ways to keep your favorite craft liquors in easy reach once 5 o’clock rolls around.
Sure, a simple bar cart can solve the problem of how to organize and display your most beloved happy hour supplies—but there are plenty more home bar ideas that can make entertaining way more exciting (even if it’s just for two). Floating shelves, cabinets, and clever wine fridge placements can make a once-utilitarian area suddenly seem a lot more festive.
Ready to revive cocktail hour? Consider implementing some of these home bar ideas into your space—and once you’re done, you’ll have plenty to cheers to.
The Top Shelf
Photography: Sarah Elliott; Design: Jennifer Chused
If you’ve amassed a considerable collection of liqueurs and vermouths in your cocktail-mixing journey, this clever design by Jennifer Chused is likely up your alley. Not only does this narrow bar maximize what would otherwise be an awkward space, but it also makes the room itself look bigger, thanks to a mirror placed behind the glass shelving unit.
The Entertainment System
Courtesy of: El Rancho
There’s no rule dictating that your home bar has to be in your kitchen or pantry. El Rancho’s living room is a compelling case for adding a wine fridge and countertop bar right where you tune in for movie night. In lieu of a media console, IKEA cabinetry with Semihandmade Supermatte black Shaker fronts makes for an elegant, custom entertainment hub.
The Kitchen Cocktail
Design: Mary Wyar
Open shelving can be both functional and decorative—as shown in Mary Wyar’s mid-century-inspired kitchen. The key is to not overload the shelves and to space them out with a few plants and small accent pieces. It also helps to amass a pretty liquor collection, which in this case, lends a retro, tropical vibe to the room.
The Easy Reach
Photography: Reagan Taylor; Design: Celine Ord
Like the idea of open shelving but not sure you want to fill your walls? Follow Celine Ord’s lead and align a narrow shelf right at the top edge of your backsplash for a seamless look. Here, it provides the perfect place to stash a few happy hour essentials, with plenty of counter space below for slicing garnishes.
The Host’s Choice
Photography: Margaret Wright; Design: Renovate108
When you love to entertain, it’s only natural that you’ll start to accumulate an impressive collection of servingware, which you can display and keep in easy reach with glass cabinets. The ones in this space by Tyler and Jessica Marés of Renovate108 are painted in Benjamin Moore’s Narragansett Green, a vivid yet historic hue. The details, like incorporated panels on the wine fridge and beadboard cabinet backs, make this home bar look especially refined.
The Simple Set-Up
Photographer: Mike Radford; Design: LL Design Co
If you prefer a more minimal style, blank spaces are your friend. A wine fridge and lower cabinets (with Semihandmade’s DIY slab fronts, painted in Benjamin Moore’s Soot) do all the heavy lifting in terms of organization and storage in this kitchen designed by LL Design Co so that the open shelves can be filled sparingly and deliberately: A few decorative items, a few liquor bottles, and a neat row of wine glasses make for a serenely modern bar.