The pleasures of visiting a cocktail bar extend well beyond the libations. It’s just as much about the company, the atmosphere, all the accouterments. At home, a thoughtfully designed bar can create a similar feeling and serve as a special place for after-work drinks and celebrations with family and friends.
“A home bar is just really festive, collective and inviting,” said Andrew Suvalsky, an interior designer based in New York. “When you set up a bar, it shows that you care about entertaining and helping people have an experience.”
And because a home bar is often tucked away in an inconspicuous spot, it offers a chance to take design risks, said Leslie Martin, a founder of M & M Interior Design, a firm with studios in Chicago and San Diego: “It’s sort of a powder-room situation, where you have this opportunity to make it a bit of a jewel box. They’re often behind closed doors, so you might as well go big.”
Studio DB frequently goes even smaller. In an apartment on Park Avenue, the designers built a bar into a closet so small and shallow that others might have simply drywalled over the space. “We were able to find this little nook in the living room that was an unexpected space, on the backside of a linen closet,” said Britt Zunino, a partner at Studio DB.
In the absence of an extra closet, a cabinet — or two — can work well. When designing a sunroom in Bronxville, N.Y., the New York-based interior design firm Carrier and Company added bar functions, including a sink, faucet and refrigerator drawers, to a pair of custom-made free-standing cabinets that resemble antiques.
Lucas Studio, an interior design firm in Los Angeles. For a home bar in Agoura Hills, Calif., Mr. Lucas installed terra-cotta tile from Waterworks adorned with graphic hand-painted stripes and triangles.