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    Wet Bar vs. Dry Bar: Which One Is for You?

    Wet Bar vs. Dry Bar: Which One Is for You?

    A home bar makes it much easier to prepare drinks, entertain and add resale value to your home. You have options between a wet bar and a dry bar. Understand the key differences between the two bar options to help you determine which one makes sense for your space and style.


    Dry bars and wet bars both add functionality and style to your home. They create a counter space that provides plenty of room for you to prepare drinks and store things like liquor, mixers, and bar supplies. While both bar options simplify the process of entertaining guests and serving drinks, there are differences to consider before installing one in your residence. Simply put, a wet bar has a sink with running water. A dry bar is a preparation space with no sink.

    What Is a Wet Bar?

    A wet bar is a bar located inside or outside of a home with a sink, countertop and cabinetry. Wet bars are used for:

    • Accessing water from a sink for drinks and clean-up
    • Storing and displaying liquors and glassware
    • Mixing and serving drinks
    • Entertaining guests

    Typical wet bar locations include basements, dining areas, entertainment rooms and covered outdoor patios — anywhere individuals may gather to eat food, play games or relax.


    What Is a Dry Bar?

    A dry bar does not have the “wet” component of a sink or plumbing. Dry bars usually include cabinet storage for bottles, drinkware and tools in addition to a countertop area to prepare drinks.

    Because dry bars do not require plumbing, homeowners can easily set up a dry bar in most rooms. Some homeowners add a small fridge for wine, canned beverages, mixers and ice.

    Pros and Cons of Wet Bars

    A dry bar offers a practical solution for storing empty glasses and liquors but doesn’t offer the utility of a wet bar. Consider the top benefits and challenges of installing a wet bar to see whether it is the right home improvement choice for you.

    Pro: Entertain Guests Efficiently

    A well-designed wet bar means everything is available in one place, including the sink. High-quality bar cabinets maximize every inch so you can find specific glasses, spirits and tools in seconds. 

    Con: Expect More Complex Plumbing and Electric Requirements

    While a dry bar can be added just about anywhere, wet bars must have plumbing hookups for the sink. Installing a wet bar may also require permission from building authorities, permits, electrical lines, contractors and a longer construction time. For a full wet bar experience with professional-grade drink machines, bar taps and other bar appliances, you may need to run additional water lines.

    If you plan to DIY your wet bar, it’s easier to complete an installation near existing electrical and plumbing hookups. Otherwise, expect more complicated plumbing and electrical preparation, by yourself or a professional contractor, before placing the final cabinets, sink and countertops.

    Pro: Enjoy a Bigger, Better Drink Menu

    After a long work week, it’s nice to have the option of making your favorite drinks and unwinding in the comfort of your own home. Sink access to chilled water allows you to create a wide array of complex beverages quickly and easily. 

    Con: Prepare to Clean While You Have Guests 

    If you love to socialize, keep in mind that cleaning up as you entertain comes with the territory of wet bars. Having a wet bar also means you’ll likely spend quite a bit of time mixing drinks behind the counter when you have friends over for cocktails.

    As guests return their glasses to the bar and ask for new beverages, it’s best not to let glassware pile up in the sink. Plan to periodically wipe down the bar, wash pitchers and rinse glasses while friends mingle.

    For some, this may be a pro of wet bars. With a dry bar, you’d need to take everyone’s glasses away to the kitchen to clean up, taking you away from the party.

    Pro: Release Your Inner Bartender

    Even if you don’t intend to work professionally as a bartender, practicing recipes at home will increase your mixology knowledge so you can pour better drinks when entertaining.

    Con: Plan for a Higher Cost to Install and Maintain

    While a simple wet bar setup may not significantly affect maintenance costs, the more elaborate your bar, the more expensive upkeep can be. Commercial juicers, blending systems, margarita makers, beer dispensers and other wet bar appliances increase financial maintenance beyond the initial cost of installation. Regular upkeep also means purchasing new filters for water lines and replacing parts as needed. 

    Depending on how often you entertain, you can expect an increase in your water utility bill from sink usage and any additional water lines. If you have a keg refrigerator, fridge or special lighting, your electricity costs may also increase.

    Wet Bar vs. Dry Bar: Which One Should You Pick?

    Which type of bar is right for you all depends on how you’d like to use the space. Do you love to be the life of the party, mixing tropical drinks for the neighborhood on Friday nights? Or do you prefer pouring drinks for two to unwind by the fire with your partner? 

    Consider the following before you make your decision:

    • What is your budget?
    • Where do you want to place the bar?
    • How often do you plan to use the bar?
    • Do you plan to install it yourself or hire a contractor?
    • Who will regularly use the bar, only your household or guests too?
    • How important is having a sink to you for drink preparation and cleaning?
    • What appliances and specialty bar items do you want, and how will they fit in the space?
    • Are there water and electrical lines available for the bar, or would they need to be added?

    Wet bars are more convenient for preparing “messy” drinks, cleaning pitchers and entertaining large crowds, while dry bars are more suitable in smaller areas or when plumbing isn’t an option. There are still other options like breakfast bars you may want to keep in mind as well. 


    Build Your Ideal In-Home Bar With Bath Kitchen and Tile 

    Whichever you choose, Bath Kitchen and Tile is your factory-direct source for top-quality cabinets, countertops, hardware, appliances and sinks to complete your at-home wet or dry bar:

    • Cabinets: High-quality cabinetry from trusted cabinet suppliers banishes clutter, shows off your best glassware, displays bottles and organizes bar equipment.
    • Countertops: Top your bar with durable quartz, granitequartzite or marble for a dining room wine area or basement bar transformation.
    • Appliances: Install efficient wet bar appliances to refrigerate drinks, microwave movie night popcorn and clean post-party glassware in a dishwasher.
    • Sinks: From space-saving vessels to large, bartender-worthy sinks, we carry a wide range of wet-bar sinks and hardware to fit every style and budget.

    With our fit and competitive price guarantees, you can trust you’re getting the best products at the best prices with Bath Kitchen and Tile. With showrooms conveniently located across Maryland and Delaware, we’re here to help you bring your vision to life.

    Get started on your home improvement project today — contact us to receive a free quote and learn more about our products.

    Visit Our Showrooms

    Bath, Kitchen & Tile is a leading supplier of cabinets, appliances, tiles and other fixtures for your bathroom or kitchen remodel. With bathroom and kitchen showrooms across Delaware and Maryland, you can visit us throughout the week to move your project forward. We offer a competitive price guarantee, making us the preferred local supply source by homeowners and contractors. Contact us for more information!