Think back to the Holidays. Take a deep breath and clear your mind of terrifying images of shopping and in-laws. Think of the happy times instead. The best Christmas Party you ever had with your parents, or maybe the New Year’s Eve party where you met the lovely woman you now call your wife, where did everyone congregate? Chances are everyone gravitated towards the kitchen. You laughed with friends, reminisced with family, and flirted with the cute girl from the office over plates of food lining the kitchen counters.
One way you can turn your kitchen into a permanent party center is to add a bar. Adding a bar to your kitchen isn’t particularly difficult, but adding a bar to your kitchen does take some planning. A qualified kitchen remodeling contractor will know exactly how to add a bar to your kitchen. If you are doing your own kitchen remodel here are some things to keep in mind.
Do You Want a Wet Bar or Dry Bar?
First of all you are scratching your head and wondering, “What’s the difference between a dry bar and a wet bar? Is a dry bar a bar where you don’t serve liquor? Because that kind of defeats the purpose.”
No, you can totally serve alcohol at a dry bar. Your friends are going to be rather disappoints to belly up to your newly remodeled bar and discover that they can only get a Pepsi. The difference between a dry bar and a wet bar is the plumbing that goes into the bar.
A dry bar is just a counter with cabinet space. Dry bars are frequently found in pantries or in small spaces. Essentially, a dry bar is a piece of furniture, where you can store liquor, wine, beer and barware. It is essentially a drink prep area and a gather spot to chitchat.
A wet bar is a more serious affair. Every bar (or restaurant) you have ever been to has a wet bar. A wet bar is a bar that has a sink, or a set of sinks. A wet bar might also have a soda “gun” with lines hooked up to various mixes of juice, soda, and mixers. A professional restaurant bar may also have a glass washer.
Is all that stuff really necessary for a kitchen bar? Not really. Ultimately, the choice between wet and dry bar comes down to how you plan on using your kitchen bar. Are you the ultimate master mixologist? A wet bar may be more to your liking and fit your custom cocktail ambitions. Do you want a place to keep a modest wine collection and have a few glasses with your neighbors on the weekend? Then a dry bar will probably suit you just fine.
Once you’ve picked your bar there are a few things to consider.
Power! Do You Have Enough? Do You Need More?
The question of whether you have enough power for your bar largely depends on what you are putting in your bar. Do you just plan to have a basic bar blender? Then a 110 outlet will be just fine. Do you want a mini-refrigerator? Maybe a small stove? Hey maybe you even want to install a flat screen television so you can watch football with your buddies… In that case, you may need to boost up to a 220 volt outlet.
When assessing your electrical needs, always consult with either a qualified electrician or kitchen remodeling contractor.
Space: Do You Have Enough? Do You Need More?
The amount of space you need for either a wet or dry bar depends largely on whether you plan to add bar stools or a seating area. If you plan on adding seating you want to add allow two feet per stool, according to This Old House, so an 8 foot bar would accommodate about four bar stools.
Access to Water and Drainage
If you are installing a wet bar you want to make sure you have easy access to your water line and to your drain. If you are installing a bar in your kitchen this should not be a huge problem. Most kitchens will have easy access to both water lines and your drain system.
The Real Question – What Are We Drinking?
A favorite drink recipe to try in your new kitchen bar, the Buffalo Trace Manhattan:
Things you will need:
- 4 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon
- ½ oz Sweet Vermouth (any brand will do; Martini & Rossi is easiest to find)
- 1 Dash Angostura Bitters
- 1 Maraschino Cherries
- 1 Orange Peel
You will also need a martini glass, shaker, and strainer. Combine 4 oz of Buffalo Trace, 1 dash bitters and ½ oz of Sweet Vermouth in a shaker glass with some ice. NEVER SHAKE YOUR LIQUOR. Shaking bruises liquor and makes it cloud. Instead, swirl gently with the strainer lid on top to prevent spillage. A couple seconds should be fine.
Twist the orange peel and rub it across the rim of a martini glass. Toss the orange peel (objective is just to get the flavor of the oils). Empty the contents of the shaker in the glass, garnish with a cherry, and enjoy!