A home bar makes it much easier to prepare drinks and entertain. 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. While both bar options simplify the process of entertaining guests and serving drinks, there are differences to consider before installing one in your residence.
A wet bar is a bar located inside or outside of a home with a sink, countertop and cabinetry. Wet bars are used for:
Typical wet bar locations include basements, dining areas, recreational rooms and covered outdoor patios — anywhere individuals may gather to eat food, play games or relax.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Wet bars are more convenient for preparing “messy” drinks, cleaning pitchers and entertaining larger crowds, while dry bars are more suitable in smaller areas or when plumbing isn’t an option.
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:
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 at-home bar project today — contact us to receive a free quote and learn more about our products.